By Ray Kauffman

The Oct. 25 issue of U. S. News and World Report has an article titled “Books on the Ground, Not Unmanned Robots in the Sky,”  written by Michael Shank, director of foreign policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and adjunct faculty at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.  (Due to an editorial error, this article was originally published with the title “Boots on the Ground, not Unmanned Robots in the Sky.”)

Among other points, Shank says:  “Amnesty International’s newest report on the unlawful American drone killings in Pakistan — that kill more civilians than the White House admits and could amount to war crimes — is a well-timed attack on the Obama administration’s modus operandi for dealing with dangerous adversaries.”

Shank quotes former State Department official Nabeel Khoury:   “Every American drone strike creates 40-60 new enemies (of the U.S.).”

The author worked in Pakistan from 2002 to 2005, when the country was more pro-American in public opinion.  “… the White House has singlehandedly turned Pakistan and its people against the U. S. in under a decade.”  He then references other Middle East countries:  “These were full-scale wars that left Iraq and Afghanistan with little to show for it and the U.S. with a tab of $4-6 trillion.  …”

“Going forward, if America  really wants to reduce extremism and violence in Pakistan, it will stop killing and maiming innocent Pakistanis caught up in the crossfire.”

Shank goes on to suggest what the U.S. should be doing to meet  the country’s water crisis and electricity shortage, and deal with poverty and lack of adequate educational opportunities.   “…  And it requires books on the ground, not unmanned killer robots in the sky.” Pakistan needs schools, not more dead civilians.

Ray Kauffman, Albany