Letter: What about our own bombs, in Pakistan?

Last modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013
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 (drones.pitchinteractive.com).

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.