At least five people have been killed and three others injured in an airstrike carried out by a US assassination drone in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan.
Despite the Pakistani government’s repeated calls on Washington to end the drone attacks, the US government continues its strikes on the tribal regions of the country.
Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures clearly indicate that Pakistani civilians are the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Conn Hallinan, columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus, to hear his opinion on this issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
We have the United Nations condemning these targeted killings but what we see is constant violation by the US. How can one interpret Washington’s actions? How can they be justified?
I really do not think they can be. I think the Obama administration has basically said that Pakistan sovereignty or for that matter Yemen’s or Somalia’s or wherever the drones are deployed, that the sovereignty is not really initiative, that in the opinion of the administration if they think there is potential terrorist activities that the US will reserve the right to strike with these drones and I do not think they really particularly justify except to say that they have the right to protect themselves under international law.
Of course many say this is becoming the trend of the day. I mean prepares the troops on the ground to be reduced and more drones to be launched. I mean somehow a stimulus transition between these two strategies?
I do not think there is any question about that. I think that the thing about the drones is that you do not take any risks with your own people. You do not take the possibility of losing a pilot, you know something like that. These are sort of out of sight, we do not give out any information about them, nobody knows what the basis for targeting is? Is this all covered under national security?
People really do not know anything about it and so therefore it is kind of a shadow war and it allows United States to take part in series of wars. I say there is at least three to four drone wars going on right now without really ever referring to the Congress or bringing the issue before the American people. It is a stealth way of engaging in warfare.
Let us talk about the legality of these drones. I mean many like in these drone attacks to summary executions. Just how legal are these operations?
I do not think they are legal under international law. Now the US argues that they do have the right to defend themselves under international law but the problem with it is that we do not know who they are killing, everyone tells us who they are killing.
What they say is everybody that dies is an enemy and that then obviously includes women and children.
There really is no legal basis for carrying out extrajudicial executions and that is what these are ...