Yesterday Earth Informer reported about the New York TIMES story on President Obama and how he has a secret kill list. Today, we offer this food for thought on the ever changing definitions of 'combatants' and 'civilians' in the new drone wars taking place across the world: Yet another report describes an upcoming book written by Daniel Klaidman, KILL OR CAPTURE, and reveals how the President dealt with civilians casualties from his earliest days in office.
President Obama wanted to dissuade detractors and critics, plus limit the impact that drone strikes could have on his Administration. Early in his term, a drone strike killed woman and children in Pakistan. Even though it appeared he aggressively asked what the procedures were for defining targets, all reports indicate that he not only continued the practice of drone strikes but also broadened how the U.S. would define 'civilian.'
MSNBC reports on Klaidman's book on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, someone who was taken off the President's kill list and rubbed out:
According to Klaidman, Obama let it be known that he would consider allowing civilian deaths if it meant killing the U.S.-Yemeni cleric. "Bring it to me and let me decide in the reality of the moment rather than in the abstract," an aide recalls him saying.
Drone strikes are set to continue. And KILL OR CAPTURE may be one of the biggest political books of the summer.
The story yesterday on the kill list and now this today on how civilians are defined have major moral and political implications. It is how we, as a people, now fight our wars and define our enemies. It showcases what we are able to 'live with' in order to get the bad guy of the day. It also has implications on the homefront. If you haven't noticed recently, news organizations en masse have finally been reporting on how drones are going to be used by police in the skies above you, and me, and all of us, here in the United States.
If the term of civilian could be broadened by a chief executive, could civilian also eventually be broadened by a police chief? By an FBI head.. by a CIA diretor...?
The drones will be watching. Cameras on and glaring down below.. if you have a fence that protects you from your neighbor because you like to sunbath nude, the drone will enjoy the view.
The future of the drones may be that they are armed. And if they are armed they can strike just as they do in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And if a few civilians die to get a target... will a future generation care?
The type that no one is comfortable asking.