Monday, October 29, 2012

Disposition Matrix?

In a story published in the Washington Post last week, Greg Miller discusses how US counterterrorism policies have changed over the course of the Obama administration with a specific focus on US assassination policies. Of particular interest for my purposes are the opening paragraphs of the story in which Miller writes:
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.
It is this Euphemism "disposition matrix" that I wanted to draw attention to. As the article notes, this is just the fancy term that the US has come up with for the list of people that it plans to assassinate. Like all good euphemisms, "disposition matrix" was designed to hide and obscure what is really going on. The US Government is vaguely uncomfortable with broadcasting the fact that the president is randomly killing people with no oversight and no due process, so rather than actually engage in a policy that is legal and is actually consistent with the expressed values of the US, the Government instead hides behind a euphemism that completely obscures what is really occurring.

h/t to Glenn Greenwald

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