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Drones in Pakistan: Peace . . . And Quiet

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You probably didn't hear the news. In fact, I'm almost certain that you didn't hear the news, because the subject of drone warfare isn't on the approved list of what passes for news these days. But the news is that there were no U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan last month. For the first time in over two years.

I'm sure that the military-industrial complex will claim that this is a stunning victory in the war on terrorism, and that their steadfastness, dedication and fortitude have brought peace to the region. Whatever. I'm just pleased that there were no more dead children, killed by our hand. At least for one month. One whole month.

I'm happy that, conceivably, we may finally be seeing that secret war come to a quiet end.

During the last several years, there has been a fatal drone attack in Pakistan every two weeks. The longest respite coincided with a national election in Pakistan. Our military-industrial complex, recognizing how profoundly unpopular drone attacks are among the Pakistani people, temporarily stood down. Undoubtedly, the local apologists claimed that the attacks were over. They weren't.

The most recent month of peace in Pakistan was December 2011. Why that month? Because in November 2011, a U.S. airstrike accidently killed 24 Pakistan border guards - something else that you probably didn't hear about in the news. Given that gruesome embarrassment, the drones stood down during the month of December 2011. But the attacks resumed in January 2012, following calls from Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Pakistani leaders.

There was another pause during November 2012, after a drone strike killed a 67-year-old grandmother as she was tending her garden. Another gruesome embarrassment, another brief pause. But 36 days later, the drones were on the prowl again.

This time, no one is quite sure why there was no drone attack in Pakistan last month. A fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute suggests that it might be because the Pakistani military has asked for more restraint. But he's not sure why they would do so.

I'm not sure, either. But maybe, just maybe, the two hearings that I attended on Capitol Hill listening to innocent victims of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen have something to do with it. Maybe my statement at one of those hearings that "the drone strikes could end tomorrow" if the Pakistani Government wanted it that way - a statement that was front-page news in Pakistan - has something to do with it.

The military-industrial complex wishes that it could continue to kill children and grandmothers in secret. But over time, Robert Greenwald at Brave New Films, and Code Pink, and Reprieve, and many other good people, are making that more and more difficult. (If you haven't yet seen the Brave New Films movie about innocent drone victims, you can click here to see it now.)

The more we know, the worse it is for the joystick killers. The truth will set us free - and also save innocent lives.

Peace.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson