Assassination, Euphemism for Terrorism

In the latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was killed along with his driver when a bomb was stuck to his car on Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The London-based daily Guardian has published an article saying that killing of US enemies abroad is not simple assassination, but a brazen form of state-sponsored terrorism.

Referring to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists in the past two years, the article said the word “assassination” used by Western politicians is just euphemism to reduce the moral burden of premeditated, lawless killing of “scientists in Tehran, civilians in [Pakistan’s] Waziristan, [and] politicians in Gaza.”

“Their purpose is to inure us to such state-sponsored violence against foreigners,” the paper added.

The report quoted a retired US army officer Dave Grossman as writing in his book, On Killing, that Western politicians use three common mechanisms to justify unwarranted murder of US enemies abroad.

“[They include] cultural distance (such as racial and ethnic differences that permit the killer to dehumanize the victim); moral distance (the kind of intense belief in moral superiority); and mechanical distance (the sterile, Nintendo-game unreality of killing through a TV screen, a thermal sight, a sniper sight or some other kind of mechanical buffer that permits the killer to deny the humanity of his victim),” the article added.

It said an investigation by Reuters in last October showed how President Barack Obama has allowed for placing US citizens accused of involvement in terrorism “on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions.”

According to the paper, there is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

“Should ‘secret panels’ and ‘kill lists’ be tolerated in a liberal democracy, governed by the rule of law? Did the founders of the United States intend for its president to be judge, jury and executioner? Whatever happened to checks and balances? Or due process?”

The article then quotes Clive Stafford Smith, a human-rights lawyer and anti-drone activist, as arguing that “targeted killing is just the death penalty without due process.”

“Thus Western liberals who fall over one another to condemn the death penalty for murderers…as state-sponsored murder, fall quiet as their states kill, with impunity, nuclear scientists, terror suspects and alleged militants in faraway lands,” the paper added.

The article says the West is brazenly applying double standards when it comes to state-sponsored killings.

“[Just] imagine the response of our politicians and pundits to a campaign of assassinations against Western scientists conducted by, say, Iran or North Korea,” it concluded.


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