Targeted Hype

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

We are so kind to ourselves. John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, repeats the Obama narrative that touts the “surgical” precision and minimization of collateral damage of “targeted killing” using drones. Minimal collateral damage would be zero, however, a study by NYU School of Law and Stanford Law School puts the number of civilians killed between 474 and 881, including 176 children.

The study calls Obama’s narrative “false.”

The NYU/Stanford study also reports on Obama’s despicable use of the “double tap”:

The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur and Professor of Human Rights Law, has said that if first responders “are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.”

Reaper drones carry the Hellfire II laser guided missile with a 20 pound warhead of high explosive, and two 500-pound GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. The GBU-12 has a blast radius of 200 meters, hardly surgical. These are the same weapons that are dropped from other platforms such as manned aircraft. Their precision is not enhanced when launched from drones.

The Hellfire missile has a Circular Error Probability (CEP), the distance from the aiming point that the missile will land 50% of the time, from 9 to 24 feet. he NYU/Stanford study cites a claim that the “double tap” may be a second strike required because the first one missed the target, although that is hardly a mitigating circumstance.

The NYU/Stanford study also notes that “the vast majority of the ‘militants’ targeted have been low-level insurgents.” The number of “high-level” targets is estimated at only 2%.

The Obama administration is using Bush-style tactics to cover up the killing of women and children. This includes over-hyping the accuracy of the weapons and redefining the term “militant” to include anyone who’s killed.

While drones can play an effective role as intelligence gathers and fire support on the battlefield, their inaccuracy makes them unsuitable for “targeted killing.” The probability of a drone strike killing women and children is so high that the drone can be reasonably considered a terror weapon and its use an act of terrorism. The media’s collusion on the Obama narrative enables the terrorism.

H/T: Glenn Greenwald, Kevin Drum, Daniel L. Byman (Brookings), TBIJ, Aviation International News, openDemocracy.

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