Die in a drone strike.

Being classified in the press as a “suspected militant” admittedly has nothing to do with actually being a militant, let alone a terrorist, let alone an international terrorist.

Jason Ditz at AntiWar News notes the media focus on 50 “militants” killed during a NATO airstrike on Pakistan—and the becoming-ridiculous Pakistani government posturing as if it doesn’t consent—is ignorant to this:

In fact, a series of attacks over the past three days has killed at least 15 people, none of whom has been conclusively identified but all of whom officials felt comfortable labeling “suspected militants” simply by virtue that they got hit with a C.I.A. missile.

Though the drone strikes in Pakistan began under President Bush, since taking office President Obama has dramatically increased the number of attacks and well over 1,000 have been killed. Of those, only a handful were ever conclusively linked to any militant group and well over 700 civilians were killed. Hundreds of others in more recent attacks remain unidentified, and as the Pakistani government does not generally allow media into the region, their identities will likely remain shrouded in mystery.

Officially the Pakistani government has criticized the drone strikes and the military incursions, though U.S. officials maintain that privately agreements exist allowing both. The Zardari government has been quite deceptive about the drone program, loudly taking credit on the rare occasions the drones actually kill somebody notable and feigning ignorance on the many, many occasions when they kill random tribesmen.

Remember when every brown person who died in Iraq or Afghanistan was “Al Qaeda”.

Then, they were all “terrorists”.

Then, they were all “insurgents”.

Then, they were all “militants”.

Now, they’re “suspected militants”.

Why? Because before a burden of proof is met, the classification is all suspect and the label used to justify such acts like kidnapping and killing are little more than authoritative assertion. (See Anwar al-Awlaki.)

The defense for targeting Mr. al-Awlaki is that he’s a suspect. Consent for the strikes on Afghans and Pakis coincides with manufacturing consent for the arbitrary extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens.

The War on Terror is a war of the few in the state apparatus against every human being on Earth with consent to remove from it.

Yes, when the C.I.A. and NATO drop 500-lb. bombs on villages in Pakistan and tell everyone that the burden of proof is on everyone else to show the dead weren’t militants, the war is against you.

When they get away with assassinating “suspected militants” after designating everyone as a suspect, you’re in the middle of the bulls-eye.

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Comments
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