While White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan was delivering his presentation on United States strategy of eliminating militants and their network with the help of drone strikes, little did he realize that someone was not ready to bear more of him. A woman protestor from the audience interrupted in the middle of the conference to deliver her minute long speech.
Her only question was on the behalf of the innocent people that have lost their lives because of the drone strikes that have been launched in countries like Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
While Mr. Brennan was busy advocating the drone program as it had resulted in the deaths of some major Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, he preferred to remain silent on the outrageous behavior of the female protestor. "What about the hundreds of innocent people we are killing with our drone strikes in Pakistan and in Yemen and Somalia?” She asked saying that she speaks on behalf of the constitution of the country. The woman as can be seen in the video was bodily carried out by a security official outside Woodrow Wilson International Centre.
According to recent estimates US has launched up to 229 drone attacks on Pakistan alone since 2005. These attacks have resulted in more than 2000 deaths in the northern areas of the country. It is also important to mention here that drone has also proved helpful in the killing of Taliban and Al-Qaeda kingpins such as Anwar al Awlaki in Yemen and Illyas Kashmiri and Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan, but concomitantly the collateral damage these strikes have caused is simply irrevocable.
Furthermore, drone strikes have become a crucial factor in fueling the anti-American sentiment that prevails in the countries where such attacks have become a routine exercise. The US needs to understand that the increasing frequency of drone strikes and the damage they cause would only pave way for radical forces like Al-Qaeda and Taliban to flourish in the name of public sympathy and retaliation.