The revelation helps explain why American counts of civilians killed are so much lower than what's reported by other countries.
After interviewing dozens of current and former White House advisers, the New York Times breaks a lot of news in its story on President Obama's secret kill list, perhaps none of it more jaw-dropping than new details describing how the U.S. now calculates the number of innocents killed by our drones. What innovative method did our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president implement?
"It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent," the newspaper reports. "Counter-terrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good."
For those tracing Obama's career arc, we've gone from his insistence, as a U.S. senator, that it would be unjust to try accused terrorists in a military tribunal with an attorney, to his judgment, as president, that if one member of Al Qaeda is someplace, every guy in vague physical proximity automatically meets the convenient "innocent until 'probably up to no good'" standard.