Analysis: How Obama embraced redefinition of ‘civilian’ in secret drone wars

May 29th, 2012 | by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

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Obama at the Pentagon January 2012 (Flikr/ An Honorable German)

President Obama with his Defense Secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Two US reports published today provide significant insights into President Obama’s personal and controversial role in the escalating covert US drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In a major extract from Daniel Klaidman’s forthcoming book Kill Or Capture, the author reveals extensive details of how secret US drone strikes have evolved under Obama – and how the president knew of civilian casualties from his earliest days in office.

The New York Times has also published a key investigation exploring how the Obama Administration runs its secret ‘Kill List’ – the names of those chosen for execution by CIA and Pentagon drones outside the conventional battlefield.

The Times’ report also reveals that President Obama personally endorsed a redefining of the term ‘civilian’, which has helped to limit any public controversy over ‘non-combatant’ deaths.

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