Shadowproof

The “Disposition Matrix”: The Institutionalization of Targeted Killing

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Photo by reway2007

Greg Miller will shine a lighton the new American way of war for the next three days, with a multi-part series in the Washington Post on the kill list, the way in which terrorist suspects are selected for death from above by Predator drones. The goal here appears to be to codify the techniques into executive branch practice, for turnkey use by any current or future Administration.

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

The truly ironic piece of this comes when the ubiquitous senior Administration official explains that “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” as a justification for making permanent a program that efforts to kill everyone who wants to harm us.

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