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Questioning method for counting deaths

August 31, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:

Want to hear something funny? Well, it's funny if, through constant exposure to governmental deceit and violence, you've lost the capacity for outrage. The Obama administration wanted to avoid the bad press that comes with killing innocent civilians in Middle Eastern drone strikes. So they simply decided all adult males would no longer be classified as civilians.

According to the New York Times, "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."

Using this counting method, administration officials have boasted of few civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes.

You have to admire this shameless "logic." Imagine if a vegetarian asked a chef whether there was any meat on a pizza, and he said there wasn't, so long as you don't count the pepperoni, ham and anchovies. Or imagine if a woman asked a potential partner if he had any sexually transmitted diseases, and he said he didn't, so long as you don't count herpes, gonorrhea or syphilis. Or imagine if the police asked a suspect whether he'd ever murdered someone, and he said he hadn't, so long as you don't count the three people buried in his backyard. It's the same "logic" at work.

Jon Hochschartner

Dedham, Mass.



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