The United States must defend themselves from those who attack them, says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, rejecting the protests against the increase in U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan.

According to Panetta, Pakistanis must understand that the Predators are also there for their own good: They fly overhead, remote-controlled from the U.S. at a distance of more than 10,000 kilometers, to strike with their Hellfire missiles dangerous terrorists nestled inside Pakistan.

Opposite conclusion by Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, after a visit to Pakistan: The drone attacks, which occur on average every four days, "cause indiscriminate killings and injuries of civilians, which violate human rights." Moreover, they also raise serious issues of international law, in that they are conducted "outside of any control mechanism, civil or military." Pillay has therefore called for the opening of a formal investigation. A charge that was curtly rejected by President Obama, who affirmed that drone attacks - which are also carried out in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and other countries - "had not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." They are in fact "under very tight control."

No one can doubt it. As reported by the New York Times [1], it is the president himself who makes ​​the "top secret nominations" of the alleged terrorists to be killed, for the most part with drone attacks. The "kill list" - made up of people from all over the world, deemed harmful to U.S. interests and secretly sentenced to death on terrorism charges - is updated every week through "the weirdest of bureaucratic rituals": more than one hundred "national security" officials, gathered via a teleconference managed by the Pentagon, remove the cards of those killed and add new ones in a sort of macabre game that an official likened to baseball star figurines. The list is then submitted to the President for approval. Especially in cases where "at the same time as the terrorist to be targeted, his family will also be present," the "final moral assessment" lies with the President. Once his authorization is given, the operator - comfortably seated at his UAV command console in the United States - launches the missiles against the house in Pakistan marked as a terrorist haven. In any case, children will not be seen in the explosion.

This is the "unconventional warfare" waged by the Obama administration. More and more sophisticated drones are being developed for it: such as the nuclear-powered drones capable of flying for months at a time, and a miniature "Kamikaze drone" which nose-dives into the target and detonates on impact. A booming business for manufacturers (General Atomics, Northrop Grumman and others): the Pentagon has decided to increase by 30% its current fleet of 7500 drones, spending $ 32 billion. Italy will take part in the expenses with up to $ 4 billion for five UAVs manufactured in the United States, deployed by NATO in Sigonella (Sicily), and will buy missiles and precision bombs for its own drones, also made in the USA. This, underlines the Pentagon, will serve to "protect" not only Italy but also the United States.

Will an Italian "kill list" be next?

Il Manifesto (Italy)

[1"Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will", by Jo Becker and Scott Shane, New York Times, 29 May 2012.