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The Age of Hell


The Washington Post has just laid out, in horrifying, soul-slaughtering detail, the Obama Administration’s ongoing effort to expand, entrench and “codify” the practice of murder and terrorism by the United States government. The avowed, deliberate intent of these sinister machinations is to embed the use of death squads and drone terror attacks into the policy apparatus of future administrations, so that the killing of human beings outside all pretense of legal process will go on, year after year after year, even when the Nobel Peace Laureate has left office.

They have even come up with a new euphemism for state murder: “disposition.” The new “counterterrorism matrix” is “designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones,” the Post reports.

In other words, it involves expanding and varying the menu of arbitrary murder, mixing the blunderbuss of drone blasts and night raids with more selective “bullet-in-the-brain,” “bomb-in-the-car-engine,” “polonium-in-the-pea-soup,” and “doping-and-defenestration” approaches. Arbitrary murder by unaccountable elites and their spies, paid for by money taken from ordinary citizens who have no say in and no knowledge of what is being done in their names (and who will be the victims of the inevitable blowback from the state terror and murder campaign): this is now being “codified,” officially, formally, as the American way.

To be fair — and by all means, let us be fair with these butchers — the term ‘disposition’ is also stretched to cover a multitude of sins: kidnapping, rendition, indefinite detention, turning captives over to proxy torturers. But it is worth remembering that all of these dispositions — including the murders, wholesale and retail — involve “alleged” terrorists, terrorist “suspects,” people who have found themselves, for whatever reason (or no reason at all) on one of the innumerable “lists” gathered by whatever method (or no method at all) by the many fatly-funded agencies now involved in “counter-terrorism.”

But that’s not all, not by a long shot. These codified murders are also being inflicted on people who are not on any list whatsoever: their names, affiliations, beliefs, intentions — indeed, their dispositions — are completely unknown to those who kill them. They are the faceless targets of “signature strikes,” which allow American death squads to kill people based on “patterns of activity” which may — or may not — signal some possible malign intent — or none — toward someone — or no one — somewhere — or nowhere. This rigorous process rests entirely on in the magical mind-reading abilities of drone jockeys ogling a computer screen. If the armchair warrior doesn’t like the cut of someone’s jib, then he squeezes his joystick and turns the stranger into “bug splatter,” to use the term favored by our bold defenders of civilization.

Like last year’s NY Times piece that first detailed the murder racket being run directly out of the White House, the new Washington Post story is replete with quotes from “senior Administration officials” who have obviously been authorized to speak. Once again, this is a story that Obama and his team WANT to tell. They want you to know about the murder program and their strenuous exertions to make it permanent; they are proud of this, they think it makes them look good. They want it to be part of their legacy, something they can pass on to future generations: arbitrary, lawless, systematic murder.

Perhaps this fact should be borne in mind by all those anguished progressives out there who keep telling themselves that Obama will “be different, that he will “turn to the left,” if we can only get him a second term. No; the legacy of arbitrary, lawless, systematic murder is the legacy he wants. It is the legacy he has been building, with remarkable energy and meticulous attention to detail, day after day, week after week, for the past four years. This is what he cares about. And it is this — not jobs, not peace, not the environment, not equal rights for women and ethnic and sexual minorities, not the poor, not the middle class, not education, not infrastructure, not science, not diplomacy — that he will apply himself to in a second term. (Along with his only other political passion: forging a “grand bargain” with Big Money to gut the remaining shreds of the New Deal.)

There is little point in going through the Post story and offering detailed comment. The sickening nature of this perpetual-motion death-machine — and the husk-like inhumanity of those who operate it and the sycophants who applaud it — are all too plain. Just read the whole thing, and see for yourself. See how these butchers — our bipartisan elites, our whole respectable, self-righteous establishment — have trapped us all in an Age of Hell.

Chris Floyd is an American writer and frequent contributor to CounterPunch. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at

Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at

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