A pair of US drone strikes in the North and South Waziristan tribal agencies of Pakistan killed 22 people today. Many of them appear to have been militants, but at least four of them were also children. The attacks, the first of President Obama’s fledgling administration, and the responses in their aftermath suggest that, in the end, very little has changed.
Pakistan has complained, as they always do. Major General Athar Abbas, the spokesman for Pakistan’s military, complained that the Pakistani Army was trying to take action against militants in the tribal area, but the US drone strikes were hindering both the potential offensives and undermining efforts to drive a wedge between the Taliban and the various tribes in the area.
And, as they always did during the Bush Administration, the Obama White House has declined to comment in any way on the attacks. At the swearing in ceremony, the new president complained that there has been too much secrecy in recent days. Yet when the chips are down and US missiles have killed four innocent children, he has become a quick study at the idea of “no comment.”