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Letter: What about our own bombs, in Pakistan?

We have all been transfixed by the events in Boston. We were shocked and horrified that at a much loved sporting event someone could plant two bombs that killed completely innocent spectators, including a child. We have seen far more suffering and injury than we ever wanted to see. We were stunned by inexplicable cruelty.

By coincidence, during the same time period, I was looking at an online record of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism with a video produced by Pitchinteractive (

Since 2004 we have sent 368 known drone attacks into Pakistan, killing an estimated 3,115 people. I didn’t like thinking about it, but having just seen in bloody detail what two homemade bombs could do, I was overwhelmed imagining what 368 attacks with bombs far more powerful and sophisticated could do to people’s bodies and the psyches of the survivors.

With huge unease, I was picturing the 585 civilians, including women who were killed by these bombs. But more than that, I was remembering the wonderful pictures of 8-year-old Martin Richard who was killed in Boston while at the same time thinking about the 175 children killed in the Pakistani attacks. I imagined these children to be much like Martin.

As I was living with these two parallel experiences, probably the most difficult part was that for the deaths in Boston, at least there was someone to blame. On the other hand, in Pakistan, it was my tax money setting off the explosions that killed those people. I’m having a lot of trouble with that.



Legacy Comments9

More News you will never ever read here: EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia warned the United States IN WRITING about Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012 and rejected his application for an entry visa to visit Mecca in 2011

fight them here in the USA or fight them where they live

Thanks for the thought-provoking letter. To what extent does our foreign policy, including now our open-ended "War on Terror", produce and perpetuate 'blow-back', perhaps including acts like the Marathon bombing? That doesn't diminish the heinous nature of the marathon bombing, but as NHdriver's fine post implies, lots of innocent people can also be hurt or killed in a single drone strike. Are their lives any less valuable for the accident of their birth/location? Our often callous disregard for the terror we ourselves inflict in the name of fighting terror brings to mind this quote, from a source I've forgotten, and which I'm paraphrasing: "Power always thinks it has a great soul, and vast views beyond the comprehension of ordinary men, and that it is doing God's work when it is violating all His laws."

what comes first - the chicken or the egg?

Time to bring the troops home folks. We have brought the war to us so its time to defend our own soil.

A little clarification on this statement "We have brought the war to us so its time to defend our own soil." Explain please.

Yeah...its the same thing right? 2 terrorists placing bombs at the feet of civilians and setting them off and killing terrorists who plan that sort of thing.

Most of the people killed by a "hellfire" missile are not the intended target. Two idiots with tin pans and firecrackers are no comparison to the AGM-114 Hellfire carried by the Predator using the Metal augmented charge (MAC); 18 lb (8 kg) shaped-charge Blast Fragmentation. with its 100 yard kill radius. We need to stop this and bring our troops home.

Bring our troops home???? so they can fight the terrorists on our soil?

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