Dark Lands, the Taleban, Stupidity

Monday, 24 June 2013

Albert Einstein is reputed to have stated that ‘Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.’

I’m regularly reminded of that statement – John Kerry, US Secretary of State, reminded me of that today with his comments on Edward Snowden. After all Edward Snowden was a whistle blower, and governments, even the US government, don’t like to be reminded that they do bad things.

Dark Lands 271But today’s news of the latest Taleban outrage in Pakistan also reminded me how accurately Einstein had summed up human stupidity. Last year I travelled up the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan and passed close by the world’s 9th highest mountain, Nanga Parbat. Where a Taleban group have just massacred 10 mountain climbers and their Pakistani guide. In my new book Dark Lands, released next month, I comment how drone attacks are making Americans extremely unpopular in Pakistan while the Chinese are concentrating on much more popular activities like road building and trade. To my mind drone attacks are incredibly stupid, a useful means of shooting yourself in the foot. Repeatedly.

So the Taleban kill foreigners as a protest about American drone attacks … and the foreigners are three Ukrainians, two Slovakians, two Chinese, one Lithuanian and one Nepalese. The 10th foreigner may have been a Chinese-American. Please explain to me how those other nationalities are responsible for American drone attacks?