US to expand Pakistan drone strikes in time for June weddings.

(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Federal lawyers backed the measures on grounds of self-defence …

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The US announced on Wednesday that targets will now include low-level combatants, even if their identities are not known.

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Barack Obama, the US president, had previously said drone strikes were necessary to “take out high-level terrorist targets”.

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“Targets are chosen with extreme care, factoring in concepts like necessity, proportionality, and an absolute obligation to minimise loss of innocent life and property damage,” a US counterterrorism official said.

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But the numbers show that more than 90 per cent of the 500 people killed by drones since mid-2008 are lower-level fighters, raising questions about how much the CIA knows about the targets, experts said.

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Only 14 of those killed are considered by experts to have been high ranking members of al-Qaeda, the Taliban or other groups.

“Just because they are not big names it does not mean they do not kill. They do,” the counterterrorism official said.

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The US tally of combatant and non-combatant casualties is sharply lower than some Pakistani press accounts, which have estimated civilian deaths alone at more than 600.

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Analysts have said that accurately estimating the number of civilian deaths was difficult, if not impossible.

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“It is unclear how you define who is a militant and who is a militant leader,” Daniel Byman, a counterterrorism expert at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, said.

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Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “It is impossible to assess the accuracy of government figures, unattributed to a named official, without information about what kind of information they are based on, how the government defines ‘militants’ and how it distinguishes them from civilians.”

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18 comments

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  1. at Some Assembly Required.

    • Edger on May 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Nobody is buying the war of terror bullshit anymore and they’re running out of terrists and they need more overseas contingency operations to make more terrists real quick or the whole scam will collapse around their ears and they might have to have war crimes trials while the defense industry collapses?

    What? Oh, sorry, I must have dozed off. I had such a weird dream.

  2. …can hide lots of bombs.  Never trust a wedding gown.

    A great guzzling SUV with a “Semper Fi” decal was spotted parked in Berkeley during the early assault on Afghanistan just after one of the first attacks on a wedding party.

    It had a bumper sticker:

    When in doubt, empty your magazine!

    Ya!  Sure cowboy!

  3. My new hero.

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  4. After the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last when Obama made a joke about Predator Drone striking boys that go near his 9 year old daughters, I said to myself that Bush’s joke about where the weapons of mass destruction were hidden seemed tasteful.

  5. Has to be.

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