Murder by drone


Drones have become the weapon of choice that the Obama administration uses to kill people. Under his administration, their use has expanded far beyond what was done before.

In the space of three years, the administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries… But no president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals.

But while the administration tries to persuade us that all the people killed are ‘suspected terrorists’, the whole program is shrouded in secrecy and they refuse to divulge what standards are used to order the summary deaths of people in other countries. But while the publicized deaths of civilians or Pakistani troops are shrugged off as rare mistakes, there are reports that in a large number of cases, there are suspicions that they don’t even know whom they have killed. And of course, everything is shrouded in secrecy, so no one can question them.

What Obama has created is an unaccountable global assassination program that murders anyone that he decides deserves to die. But at the same time, it also murders people who are not targets, people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, including US citizens. As the Washington Post report above states, “CIA and military strikes this fall killed three U.S. citizens, two of whom were suspected al-Qaeda operatives.” So two were merely ‘suspected’ of terrorism, which is the new standard that justifies summary execution. But what about that third person who wasn’t even suspected? As long as such people are poor and powerless, who cares if they die?

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