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CIA drone killers a predictable irony.

In an article noting a gradual but measurable increase in CIA’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assassinate terrorists I was struck by how ironic, predictable and asinine was the criticism by human rights groups.

[Wa. Post] About 20 percent of CIA analysts are now “targeters” scanning data for individuals to recruit, arrest or place in the cross­hairs of a drone. The skill is in such demand that the CIA made targeting a designated career track five years ago, meaning analysts can collect raises and promotions without having to leave the targeting field.

Critics, including some in the U.S. intelligence community, contend that the CIA’s embrace of “kinetic” operations, as they are known, has diverted the agency from its traditional espionage mission and undermined its ability to make sense of global developments such as the Arab Spring.

Human rights groups go further, saying the CIA now functions as a military force beyond the accountability that the United States has historically demanded of its armed services. The CIA doesn’t officially acknowledge the drone program, let alone provide public explanation about who shoots and who dies, and by what rules.

“We’re seeing the CIA turn into more of a paramilitary organization without the oversight and accountability that we traditionally expect of the military,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Now, these are the same human rights groups that have criticized all non-lethal avenues of action that the CIA could possibly take. Human rights groups like the ACLU were against enhanced interrogation, against interning terrorists as POWs at Guantanamo and other military facilities (another irony considering they had for so long lobbied that Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists be treated as standard prisoners of war, such as German and Japanese POWs kept in military camps until the end of the Second World War), against rendition, against solitary confinement (seriously), against military tribunals, even against the same kind of wiretapping and hidden surveillance that has been employed against organized crime for decades. Having used friendly court districts packed with bleeding-heart liberal judges to sue all possible non-lethal actions that the federal government could potentially take against enemies who disguise themselves as civilians, hijack aircraft and slam them into buildings, it is only natural that this government decided that the best way to deal with terrorists was to kill them rather than capture them.

What else did they expect would happen?