Since 2002, America has been killing people — terrorists, or, at least, people that American intelligence believes are terrorists — with missiles shot out of Predator drones, mostly in Pakistan, but also in Yemen and Somalia. They're precise, but only up to a point; anyone nearby is likely to die as well. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism places the number of civilian deaths between 500 and 1000.
The White House disagrees. The correct number of civilian deaths, a senior administration official told the New York Times on Tuesday, is in "single digits." The administration has arrived at this figure through "a disputed method for counting civilian casualties," one that "in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants." For the White House, this is "simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good."
This might sound familiar. In February, 7,000 miles away from Yemen and 8,000 from Pakistan, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman called 911. There'd been some break-ins nearby, and Zimmerman had seen a black male in his late teens wandering around. "This guy looks like he's up to no good," he told the dispatcher.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment