The Low Quality Information Environment of Pakistan’s Tribal Areas
Much of the critique of the US drone program in Pakistan relies upon heroic assumptions about the program, who it targets and with what outcomes, and the degree to which the Pakistani government has been complicit in the program. In this chapter, I first provide important contextual information that should foreground any study of RPV usage in Pakistan. Next, I discuss some of the problems with popular notions of “Pakistani sovereignty” that undergird commentary about the RPV program there. I then evaluate Pakistan’s willingness and ability to do more to protect the international community from the terrorist groups ensconced in its territory. Following this, I critique recent advocacy-driven reports, highlighting the methodological, and even ethical, problems that undermine them. I conclude with a number of thoughts on how scholars can improve the quality and thus reliability of their work to understand the impact of the RPV program in Pakistan and perhaps other low information environments.
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