Assassination Nation:Fifty Years of US Targeted ‘Kill Lists’: From the Phoenix Program to Predator Drones

by DOUG NOBLE, Counterpunch, July 19, 2012

 A broad-gauged program of targeted assassination has now displaced counterinsurgency as the prevailing expression of the American way of war.”

–Andrew Bacevich [1]

This spring the US drone killing program has come out of the closet. Attorney General Eric Holder publicly defended the drone killing of an American citizen [2], while Obama’s counter terrorism czar John Brennan publicly explained and justified the target killing program [3]. And a New York Times article by Jo Becker and Scott Shane chronicled Obama’s personal role in vetting a secret “Kill List.” [4]

This striking new transparency, the official acknowledgment for the first time of a broad-based US assassination and targeted killing program, has resulted from the unprecedented and controversial visibility of drone warfare. Drones now make news every day, and those of us who have been protesting their use for years have heightened their visibility in the public eye, forcing official acknowledgment and fostering worldwide scrutiny.  This new scrutiny focuses not only on drone use but also, and perhaps more importantly, on the targeted killing itself – and the “kill lists” that make them possible.

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