U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, revealed to a North Carolina Rotary Club last Thursday that CIA drones had achieved 4700 targeted assassinations (to use the Israeli term), mostly in the last few years. His office was not answering inquiries, perhaps because the figures are considered a secret. However, this reporter was able to reach one committee member that agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, to whom I shall refer as Sen. Flimsy Grime for this report.
RIGHT: Sen. Lindsey Graham gives the heads up. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Barb Weir: Sen. Grime, why did you agree to this interview?
F. Grime: Ms. Weir, the press reports portray our brave and loyal drones in a negative light, and I have to correct the bad impression people may have. A lot of folks don’t realize how many lives drones have saved.
Barb Weir: I guess saving lives is not the first thing that comes to mind for most people. Please explain.
F. Grime: I’m not just talking about the American lives that are potentially saved by killing people that hate us for our freedom. All of the killing that we have ever done, from the dawn of our nation through Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the present, has saved American lives. However, drones save lives in several other ways, as well.
Barb Weir: How so?
F. Grime: First – or second, if you like – there is no pilot on board; the drone takes all the risk. American casualties have always been the obstacle to waging war, which is of course what you have to do if you want to save lives. However, the American people will allow only so many combat deaths for the sake of saving American lives. Drones eliminate American casualties as a obstacle to waging war.
Barb Weir: And what would the third benefit be?
F. Grime: Civilian casualties, Ms. Weir. I know that most Americans don’t really care that much about civilians in other countries or even other states, for that matter, but the CIA does – even more than the military. And drones cause a lot fewer civilian casualties than carpet bombing or artillery barrages, for example.
Barb Weir: How much less?
F. Grime: Hard to say. It depends to some extent on your definition of civilian. Terrorists don’t have our clear distinction between government soldiers and civilian contractors. But definitely fewer than with most other methods, and this is important to the CIA. We’re hoping to get it down to five civilians for every target.
Barb Weir: Why is that?
F. Grime: Because the CIA does a lot of its killing in countries with which we’re not at war, and those countries care a lot about casualties amongst their own civilians, not just Americans. You can’t just go carpet bombing a country unless you’re willing to go to war, but you can get away with individual assassinations. In the past, this had to be accomplished by sending in an assassination team, but now you can just use a drone. In most cases, the country is not willing to go to war over such killings unless we target the folks that own the whole place. After all, who really wants to take us on?
Barb Weir: But isn’t 4700 assassinations a lot – especially if they are in friendly or neutral countries?
F. Grime: Not really, Ms. Weir. As drones keep reducing the casualty rate, it opens up new possibilities for killing terrorists.
Barb Weir: Does this mean that you might run out of terrorists to kill?
F. Grime: Not a chance, Ms. Weir. The death of an enemy combatant always results in the creation of more enemy combatants. It’s just that now we’re very fortunate to possess the drone technology to kill them at will while keeping the casualty rate to a minimum.