Cultural Arts Review: The Thistle and the Drone

Posted on April 23, 2013 by


The war on terror in many Americans eyes is a war between the terrorists and the United States.  The Thistle and the Drone tells the story from firsthand experience with different studies and observation of what has gone on in the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks.  

The title of the book can be broken down between two groups:  The Thistle which is the symbol for the Muslim Tribal groups that live in the outlying lands of cities that are associated with Al Qaeda operations.  The second part the Drone:  which symbolizes the thousands of Drone attacks which the U.S has launched throughout the last twelve years in hopes of getting recon of what these outlying Muslim tribes are doing on a day to day basis.  The book argues that the U.S depicts these as communities of radical Muslim tribes with certain individuals that are a threat to the U.S and may be associated with Al Qaeda and need to surveyed and even eliminated.  It is argued in the book that by doing these surveys with the drones and then pursuing these individuals in counterproductive and is only making the situation worse for the western powers and need to be stopped.  When an attack is made on an outlying tribal town it more than likely hits the target, but when it eliminates the one or few targets in kills ten other people that are uninvolved which creates more American enemies that will join radical Muslim groups that are trying to plan attacks against Americans.  This book is one of few that do look at both sides of the war and Americans see this issue as a way of keeping soldiers of the ground and a efficient way of eliminating America’s enemies.

The book then talks about how all these issues can be avoided and how the War on Terror can turn around and these Muslim tribal groups and the western powers can work towards a more positive direction of Global Peace.  The U.S has many allies which are Muslim dominated like Pakistan.  These countries can help in the movement towards using less drones and ultimately less violence and killing.  Many of the Muslim tribes stick to a code of their form of Islam, which includes a non negotiable part of revenge.  This also contributes to the theory of the Americans eliminating a small number of militants but in the process creating more than originally respectively making it a negative action.

The depiction of Islam as a religion to some Americans is the image of the enemies of the war on terror.  This book also tries to outline how it is not the Muslim religion as a whole but it is rather the small groups of people living within a Muslim Tribe which make a bad image for all.  Yes, 18 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 were Muslim tribal members but this is not the roots of the war.  The war is against Al Qaeda and any other individuals or groups that are trying to perform an act of terror against the U.S or any allied country.  But the U.S  has not been moving in the right direction with the use of drones, but has time and can move in the right direction to make Global Peace a more realistic reality.

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