Micah Zenko on the burgeoning US assassination programme. Here's the halfway point:
However, in mid-2008, President Bush authorized a vast expansion in the scope and intensity of the use of drones in Pakistan. Since then, there have been an additional 250 strikes. As David Sanger reported, Bush lowered the threshold for an attack to what one anonymous U.S. official described as the "reasonable man" standard: "If it seemed reasonable, you could hit it."
I'm not returning to the good old days of Bush bashing here. We've now reached the stage where people whose names are not known can be assassinated on the grounds that their "life patterns" as interpreted by targeters provide "operational support" to organisations that the US has decided are terrorist, and on the grounds that their deaths will "minimize threats to allies and partner states." Widely interpreted – and the trend is clearly towards wide interpretation – those parameters could end up including a lot of reasonable men.