This post’s title contains two lies. The small lie comes from labeling all casualties as “militants,” which they most assuredly are not. And most of the commentators I’ve read have busted that lie.
But the big lie goes unmentioned. Since when is it okay to kill “militants”? Martin Luther King was a militant. Most Tea Party members are militant. So are most oocupiers. Had Barack Obama lived up to his campaign promise to agitate for change in Washington, he’d be a militant. Per the Wikipedia:
The word militant is both an adjective and a noun, and is usually used to mean vigorously active, combative and aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in ‘militant reformers’.
Militant can mean “vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause” as in ‘militant reformers’. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, defines militant as “Having a combative character; aggressive, especially in the service of a cause”. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines militant as “aggressively active (as in a cause)”. It says that the word militant might be typically be used in phrases such as ‘militant conservationists’ or ‘a militant attitude’.
An example of the adjective usages is demonstrated when The New York Times ran an article titled Militant Environmentalists Planning Summer Protests to Save Redwoods describing a group that believes in “confrontational demonstrations” and “nonviolent tactics” to get across their message of preserving the environment. Another usage example includes ‘a militant political activist’, drawing attention to behaviours typical of those engaged in intensive political activism. The political protests headed by the Reverend Al Sharpton have been described as militant in nature in The Washington Post.
But, now militants are fair game for assassination-by-drone because of some post-9/11 Orwellian shift in the connotations of the word “militant.”
The Wikipedia continues directly:
The word “militant” is sometimes used to describe groups that do not name or describe themselves as militants, but that advocate extreme violence; for example in the early twenty first century members of groups involved in Islamic terrorism such as Al-Qaeda are usually described as militants.
The mass media sometimes uses the term “militant” in the context of terrorism. Journalists sometimes apply the term militant to movements using terrorism as a tactic. The mass media also has used the term militant groups or radical militants for terrorist organizations. In this usage, “militant” is virtually a euphemism for “terrorist”.
Visibly, all terrorists are militants, but not all militants are terrorists. Similarly, all terrorists are mammals, but not all mammals are terrorists nor are they fair game.
Already, two unindicted Americans “militants,” Anwar Awlaki and (separately) his son, have suffered death-by-drone on direct orders from President Obama. (Anonymous sources have alleged that Anwar “gave instructions to the underwear bomber.”)
So far, it appears that “militance while muslim” is the capital offense and that other forms of militance are not yet subject to droning. But, given the recently disclosed involvement of the Obama administration in the suppression of the Occupy Movement and the fact that American skies have been cleared for use by drones, I consider this Orwellian wordplay to be a very dangerous game.
The 1% fear the rest of us and are assembling apparatus to suppress whatever might threaten their status. Blurring the distinction between “militant” and “terrorist” can, unfortunately, serve to facilitate such suppression.