That US President Barack Obama - the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner - currently operates a "kill list" for terrorist suspects will strike many as contradictory in the extreme.
That this list, discussed in "Terror Tuesday" meetings, reportedly included "a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years" is downright shocking.
This is just one of the shameful facts contained in an extensive and most likely consciously leaked New York Times report on President Obama's escalating use of drones to target "militants" who threaten the United States.
Since his inauguration, the US president has targeted six nations with these armed unmanned aerial vehicles - Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
He has launched 278 drone attacks on Pakistan alone - one of the reasons Aaron David Miller, a former adviser to six US secretaries of state, argues that "Barack Obama has become George W Bush on steroids."
For supporters of this remote-controlled warfare, drones are a precision weapon that take out "the bad guys" with, as Obama said recently, not a "huge number" of civilian deaths. This highly dubious assertion is only possible because, as the New York Times notes, Obama has "embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties" that "in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants."
Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is based on simple logic - that "people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top al-Qaida operative, are probably up to no good."
In contrast to Obama's Orwellian mathematics the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that US drone attacks in Pakistan alone have killed up to 830 civilians, including 175 children.
Taking its cue from the White House's framing of the issue, the mainstream media's primary concern has been the "effectiveness" of the strikes.
Liberal pundits have claimed that the strikes "have remained one of the United States's most effective tools in combating militancy."
High-level al-Qaida operatives have certainly been killed by drones.
But many experts argue that the strikes are increasing hatred of the US and therefore fuelling rather than reducing the terrorist threat.
"We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from he battlefield," Robert Grenier, the head of the CIA counterterrorism centre from 2004 to 2006, recently told a British newspaper. "We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan."
He could also add Yemen to this list, with the Washington Post reporting recently that the ongoing drone strikes are breeding anger and sympathy for al-Qaida.
"Every time the American attacks increase, they increase the rage of the Yemeni people, especially in al-Qaida-controlled areas," local human rights group leader Mohammed al-Ahmadi told the newspaper.
In Pakistan the US continues its undeclared drone war despite the fact the Pakistani parliament unanimously voted in April for an end all drone attacks.
Earlier this month the Pakistani foreign ministry told the deputy US ambassador that the strikes were "unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty." The Pakistani public is strongly opposed to the US attacks, with a 2009 al-Jazeera/Gallup Pakistan poll finding 67 per cent of respondents opposed drone attacks by the United States against Taliban and al-Qaida targets in Pakistan.
The US nearly reaped this whirlwind in May 2010 when Faisal Shahzad, a 31-year old Pakistani-American, tried to plant a bomb in Times Square. At his trial he said: "When the drones hit, they don't see children, they don't see anybody. They kill everybody. I am part of the answer. I am avenging the attack."
But as the number of drone attacks have increased, so has the resistance to them.
Just last week the UN human rights chief said: "Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law."
Even those once close to Obama are now speaking out, with Michael Boyle, a counter-terrorism adviser to the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, warning last week that "the president has routinised and normalised extrajudicial killing from the Oval Office."
For Drone Wars UK, a grassroots activist group doing impressive critical work on drones, the problem is deeper than Obama's expansion of targeted killing.
Instead it argues that "armed unmanned technology and the concept of 'remote war' alters the balance of options available to our political and military leaders in favour of a military response."
How so? Because drone warfare is low-risk (for servicemen of the country using them) and lower cost than conventional air raids the political cost of military intervention is much lower.
Seduced by Obama's unparalleled PR machine, we are sleepwalking into a new era of technological warfare, with little or no democratic oversight, transparency or criticism. The question is whether we will wake up in time to raise our voices in opposition.
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