Violating international borders, stalking an individual and blowing him up without the benefit of accusation or trial – most people would call that premeditated murder. If the person being murdered is an important public figure, we think of it as an assassination. But “murder” and “assassination” are problematic, because both are illegal under U.S and international law. Only under strict circumstances of imminent threat does U.S. law give the president authorization to actively pursue and kill an “enemy”.
The Obama administration, taking a page straight out of the Cheney/Bush playbook, is claiming a blanket authorization cloaked in the vagaries of their war on terror even though they no longer call it the war on terror. We are supposed to trust that they will only righteously strike the truly bad.
Under the tutelage of the national security state, the press and the American public have been trained to make some crucial substitutions in their utterances. Murder and assassination have been changed to “strikes”, preferably surgical ones. Young boys become “militants”, which dehumanizes and militarizes them at the same time.
The president, meanwhile, is not a murderer, or even a noble assassin. No, he is our protector, our guardian, our kick-ass-we're-number-one-in-chief. The aforementioned “collateral damage” has neatly bundled the killing field-scape of dead and dismembered people into something more palatable to assuage the public, which might otherwise become concerned.
Our adversaries of the moment, whether they are fanatic religious terrorists, uniformed troops from the wrong country, or simply people taking up arms against a foreign occupation or a corrupt domestic regime, have all been lumped together as “bad guys.”
It makes everything so simple, like a John Wayne western.
In print and on line, editors will change “drone murder” to “drone strike.” Why does death by arbitrary government fiat get a pass on being called murder?
~ from The US and the M Word by Dan DeWalt ~
DeWalt has capsulized my revulsion to the US drone program. Though our leaders, the mainstream media and many of my fellow citizens utilize all sorts of Orwellian euphemisms to discuss it, few people will call it what it really is -- murder.
As I have pointed out numerous times before, if someone described the drone program and indicated it was being utilized by North Korea, Argentina, Libya or Iran, almost every American would castigate it. The American public overwhelmingly would support sanctions or worse against such a country. Media pundits would talk incessantly about such a program's immoral basis and use it to show how the US is morally superior.
If arbitrarily murdering people is wrong in North Korea or Iran, why is it okay in the United States of America?
We know the answer, don't we? Americans are exceptional; we have "God's ear."