Finally, the Obama administration admits US drone strikes kill civilians – yet demands we trust its say-so on who is a terrorist
In remarks on Monday, US counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan admitted for the first time that US drones have killed civilians. “It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened,” he said.
With his sources in the intelligence community, Brennan no doubt has more information about the number and identity of individuals killed than do journalists and lawyers who, in the last year, have documented hundreds of what they call “civilian deaths”. But the discrepancy between Brennan’s view and theirs is not about the facts; it is about definitions. Brennan would call “terrorists” many of the people whom the journalists and lawyers would say are civilians.
“Terrorists”, whom the Obama administration may go after with lethal force, are not just people linked to the 11 September 2001 attacks, or active members of al-Qaida.