Remembering the innocent
March 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Today is International Women’s Day, so it’s fitting that a particular woman is on my mind. A lot has been written and said about the CIA drone program in FATA, and about the extremely high civilian casualties as a result. Perhaps no person typifies the tragedy of the drone attacks like the second wife of Baitullah Mehsud. Mehsud’s wife was killed when a drone targeted him in his in-laws’ house in South Waziristan in August 2009. From all accounts, Mehsud was resting on the roof of the house – probably to escape the oppressive heat of summer – and was apparently being treated to a leg massage to ease the pain that his diabetes used to cause. The person giving him the leg massage was none other than his second wife, who became an innocent victim of the drone attack but also indirectly of Baitullah Mehsud’s own actions. CIA personnel could clearly see her visible in the satellite images when they ordered the strike. But she must not have given anyone pause, because she was utterly dispensable in the eyes of Uncle Sam. She was just a woman, after all – a second wife at that. Notably, one can find Mehsud’s wife’s name nowhere. She is the nameless and faceless victim of the violence that has seized Pakistan, the result of political gamesmanship and strategic depth-ing and what-have-you. Along with the millions of other women of Pakistan, including the millions of women who have been displaced in the war in FATA, they persevere mightily, never giving in. We stand against the war for many reasons, but not least because of these women, who do so much with so little, and who deserve far, far better.