The Not-War in Pakistan

[Trigger warning for state-sponsored killing.]

Karen DeYoung in the Washington Post: Secrecy defines Obama's drone war.
Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory.

The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified.

The administration has said that its covert, targeted killings with remote-controlled aircraft in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and potentially beyond are proper under both domestic and international law. It has said that the targets are chosen under strict criteria, with rigorous internal oversight.

It has parried reports of collateral damage and the alleged killing of innocents by saying that drones, with their surveillance capabilities and precision missiles, result in far fewer mistakes than less sophisticated weapons.

Yet in carrying out hundreds of strikes over three years — resulting in an estimated 1,350 to 2,250 deaths in Pakistan — it has provided virtually no details to support those assertions.

In outlining its legal reasoning, the administration has cited broad congressional authorizations and presidential approvals, the international laws of war and the right to self-defense. But it has not offered the American public, uneasy allies or international authorities any specifics that would make it possible to judge how it is applying those laws.
Emphasis mine.

Over the course of three years, in a not-war for which there is no direct authorization by Congress as required by the US Constitution, and no oversight, and thus no accountability, we have killed an estimated ~2,000 people in Pakistan.

There were things I expected about Barack Obama when I cast my vote for him. Some of them were low expectations—I expected fuck-all on women's issues, and he has managed to limbo right underneath even my rock bottom garbage expectations—but some of them were great expectations, among which were high hopes that his foreign policy would be a radical departure from the warmongering, secretive, accountability-free nightmare of the preceding administration.

This has not been the case, and it is a grave disappointment.

[H/T to Atrios.]

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