Over the past decade or so, the people of Pakistan have had to contend with many an evil doer and their malfeasant disciples. Such as Louie, leader of the dengue mosquitos. That ruthless terrorist, claimed many lives before his reign of terror was ended heroically by the First Servant of the Punjabi Peoples, who sacrificed his nasal cavities and laid down the shelf-life of his toupee when he detonated a Mortein Bomb on Nullah Leh, killing exactly 9,058,342 mosquitos, 29 houseflies and taking out a Phillips 60-watt light bulb in the process.

But as collateral damage goes, no one does it better than the Americans. Or should I say, worse? Instead of bombing everything back to the Stone Age, the megalomaniacs in the White House have begun to prioritize precision, those bastards. No longer are Taliban leaders safe in the comfort of their own fortified compounds. Big Brother is always watching and Predators are always circling overhead, ready to pick at carcasses and fire Hellfire missiles at innocent civilians carrying RPG-launchers and hapless rubble. After the NSA blowout, only the best intel is allowed inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the CIA has even changed the passwords on the free USAID Wifi Hotspots installed in various parts of FATA (to facilitate informants who don’t have satellite phones with intelligence gathering). The CIA used to issue satellite phones to informants, but they kept going missing. Both phones and informants. A few years later, it was discovered that the Taliban had obtained Thuraya technology and were attempting to weaponize it. It took all of SEAL Teams a total of three and a half movies to bring down this Nexus, only to discover that the ruthless terrorist organization that has threatened to take over Bannu (and later, the world) was running on Apple iOS. That’s almost like IBM selling punch-card machines to the Nazis in World War 2. Almost.

As per tradition, though, the government of Pakistan is doing its best impression of an ostrich that has contracted a particularly nasty case of syphilis by running helter skelter like a headless chicken, crying fowl and demanding a DRS review of the latest airborne attack against the sovereign state of the Taliban. The case of Hakimullah Mehsud, the latest victim of American disregard for human life, is being handled by only the best human rights activists, political spin doctors and pharmacists. Everyone from Hakimullah’s third wife to his latest mistress has been put in protective custard. This is not unlike protective custody, except it is delicious and nearly always fatal. Death by custard asphyxiation comes swiftly and has been deemed to be “completely humane” by the Pakistani Association of Custard Manufacturers, or Rafhan.

Firing a missile at a Talib is no small feat. But killing him in the first go is nearly impossible. The Taliban may be hiding in caves, but their capabilities for 4G warfare (not the successor to Sprite 3G, a devilish product patented by the Coca Cola company to wage war on non-believers’ kidneys) are state-of-the-art. You cannot simply kill a TTP chief: you have to confirm, reconfirm, wait for the government to first issue a denial, then wait for an independent source – such as the US State Department – to reconfirm the news. The Foreign Office will, of course, issue a statement condemning India and Afghanistan for their hand in the notorious leader’s exploits. The Interior Ministry, alongside patting itself on the back, can be expected to keep up the ruse and vociferously denounce the attack as “a blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a brutal act of war against an otherwise peaceful terrorist”. Sometimes, I find it hard to distinguish between Interior Ministry officials and exponents of British slapstick comedy, particularly Sir Rowan Atkinson. Only, this smacks more of Blackwater than Blackadder.

The political spectrum can expected to be polarized. The hawks and liberals will (hopefully) band together to praise the Great Shaitan’s efforts in bringing peace to the troubled badlands of Waziristan. NGO workers will arrive by the lorry load to help local victims cope with the aftermath of the traumatizing attack. PTI and its bedfellows will, obviously, attempt to create a mountain out of a hardly-sovereign molehill and sermonize from a moral ground higher than the Everest. The people of Balochistan cannot be expected to care much, because they already have a lot going on. But it is the moralizing urban classes that will have the most to say about this. They will denounce it as unilateral American hegemonism, state-sponsored terrorism and a war crime. Twitter will be awash with journalistic narcissism and egotistical moralizing. “Ground realities” will be flung around like so much dirt and nuance will be sacrificed at the altar of “First-To-Break-The-Story”.

Unlike a Charlie Chaplain film or a Marlowe-esque morality play, there are no blacks or whites in this tale. Good and evil are overlapping concepts in this twisted Victorian romance. The US is no Mr Darcy, and Hakimullah Mehsud is no Heathcliff. There will be no heroes bursting out of posters, no Sultan Rahi wrestling with lions and certainly no Shaan spewing profanities at the enemy’s honey pots. Drone attacks are an evil, and so is the Tehreek-e-Taliban. Drone attacks that target innocent civilians cannot and should not be compared to strikes that don’t miss their mark. If the first person to have adverse side effects from taking penicillin, antibiotics would not exist and chickenpox may still have been a fatal disease.

The question is not a new one: Are we not capable of taking out our own trash? Do we really need General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Boeing to do our dirty work for us? Does US foreign policy have to be so closely tied to our internal affairs? The answers are simple, but they are not for me to say.

The writer is a former journalist currently working in the development sector.