“Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent. …
“’It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all bemilitants,’ the official said. ’They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.’”—New York Times, 5/29/2012
That was written 5 days ago, and yet this morning, even knowing that the term ‘militant’ is being used a bit generously, in headlines on a drone strike(s) in Pakistan we see the following (all sourced to anonymous US or Pakistani “officials”):
Pakistan: US drone kills 10 suspected militants
Fox News - 3 hours ago
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – An American drone strike in the frontier tribal areas of Pakistan killed 10 suspected militants Sunday, Pakistani officials said.
Drone attack on militant compound kills five in Pakistan
gulfnews.com - 3 hours ago
Peshawar, Pakistan: US drone strikes targeting a militant compound in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal area…
U.S. drone strike kills 10 suspected militants in Pakistan
Daily Mail - 4 hours ago
By Craig Mackenzie A US drone strike today killed 10 suspected militants in Pakistan as they ‘offered condolences’ to the family of a commander who died in an attack 24 hours earlier…
Drone kills 10 suspected Pakistan militants
StandardNet - 37 minutes ago
By Rebecca Santana AP staff ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An American drone strike in the frontier tribal areas of Pakistankilled 10 suspected militants Sunday, Pakistani officialssaid…
US Drone Strike Kills 10 militants in Pakistan
Voice of America (blog) - 6 hours ago
Security officials in Pakistan say a US drone strike has killed at least 10 militants in the country’s northwestern tribal district…
9 militants in Pakistan killed in suspected US drone strike, official says
CNN - 6 hours ago
(CNN) — A suspected US drone strike killed nine militants in Pakistan’s tribal region on Sunday, the second such attack in 24 hours in the region, a local government official said…
US drones kill 6 militants, injure 2 in South Waziristan
The Express Tribune - 5 hours ago
Sunday’s attack in South Waziristan was the second in as many days and comes amid an upsurge in drone strikes in Pakistan since a Nato conference on Afghanistan in Chicago last month…
US Drone Strike Kills 5 militants in Pakistan Voice of America (blog) - 10 hours ago
Security officials in Pakistan say a US drone strike has killed at least five militants in the country’s northwestern tribal district.
US drone strike kills three militants in Pakistan: officials
AFP - Jun 1, 2012
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A US drone strike targeting a vehicle in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt killed at least three militants on Saturday, security officials said…
US drone strike kills 10 suspected militants in Pakistan
The National - 1 hour ago
AP ISLAMABAD // A US drone strike in the frontier tribal areas of Pakistan killed 10 suspected militants yesterday…
2 militants in Pakistan killed in drone strike
CNN - Jun 2, 2012
(CNN) — A suspected US drone strike in Pakistan killed two militants in Pakistan’s tribal region on Saturday, a local government official said. The drone fired two missiles at a motorcycle the militants were riding…
Glenn Greenwald adds this nugget in his piece, Deliberate media propaganda:
There is, as usual, no indication that these media outlets have any idea whatsoever about who was killed in these strikes. All they know is that “officials” (whether American or Pakistani) told them that they were “militants,” so they blindly repeat that as fact.They “report” this not only without having the slightest idea whether it’s true, but worse, with the full knowledge that the word “militant” is being aggressively distorted by deceitful U.S. government propaganda that defines the term to mean: any “military-age males” whom we kill (the use of the phrase “suspected militants” in the body of the article suffers the same infirmity).
How is it possible to have any informed democratic debate over a policy about which the U.S. media relentlessly propagandizes this way? If drone strikes kill nobody other than “militants,” then very few people will even think about opposing them (and that’s independent of the fact that the word “militant” is a wildly ambiguous term — militant about what? — though it is clearly designed (when combined with “Pakistan”) to evoke images of those who attacked the World Trade Center). Debate-suppression is not just the effect but the intent of this propaganda: like all propaganda, it is designed to deceive the citizenry in order to compel acquiescence to government conduct.
Yep, the American mainstream media. Always working for the 1%.