The new Director of the CIA Leon Panetta declared yesterday that the controversial drone attacks against sites in Pakistan would continue, in spite of the growing criticism. Panetta declared that the attacks, which began under the Bush Administration, “have been successful.”
But perhaps more ominous than being the latest in a myriad of officials who have said the attacks would continue, Panetta declared that “nothing has changed our efforts to go after terrorists, and nothing will change those efforts.” After a presidential campaign that centered on the promise of change, the Obama Administration’s appointees seem to be going to great lengths to assure the public that “nothing has changed” and that “nothing will change.”
But not everything remains constant. If anything, Obama has escalated the attacks inside Pakistan. The Pakistani government’s faux-outrage is becoming less and less plausible amid a flurry of reports of their “private” support, and the government’s stability is increasingly in doubt, not only from its failing wars and the unpopular US strikes, but a failing economy and political turmoil. Insisting that nothing will change ignores the decidedly changeable reality on the ground in Pakistan.