We are entering a new era in which targeted killing will be the preferred method of fighting enemies in a great many contexts. In terms of geographical reach, targeting precision, the manageability of the intervention, and the minimization of the cost and casualties, the practice is hugely attractive to militaries and politicians alike. But it also comes with potentially grave costs in terms of respect for basic moral principles, as well as established human rights and international humanitarian law. This book provides the best possible panorama of diverse and competing perspectives on emerging practices and will be an invaluable guide to those shaping future policies in this area. ( Philip Alston John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, New York University)
The debate over targeted killings has become the most contentious in the contemporary law and morality of war. Is it a legitimate tactic that saves lives compared with old-fashioned bombing campaigns? Or is it ruthless execution by non-uniformed spies piloting science-fiction drones from the safety of a distant control room? May states kill if capture is possible? May they kill their own citizens? What rights do the targets have? Is there a moral difference between killing anonymous enemies and killing men and women whose names you know? The law is ambiguous, and the moral issues cloudy. This volume is the most useful and thought-provoking discussion available, with a stellar group of authors who delve deep. ( David Luban University Professor in Law and Philosophy Georgetown University)
The war on terror is remaking conventional warfare. The protracted battle against a non-state organization, the demise of the confinement of hostilities to an identifiable battlefield, the extensive involvement of civilian combatants, and the development of new and more precise military technologies have all conspired to require a rethinking of the law and morality of war. Just war theory, as traditionally articulated, seems ill-suited to justify many of the practices of the war on terror. The raid against Osama Bin Laden's Pakistani compound was the highest profile example of this strategy, but the issues raised by this technique cast a far broader net: every week the U.S. military and CIA launch remotely piloted drones to track suspected terrorists in hopes of launching a missile strike against them.
In addition to the public condemnation that these attacks have generated in some countries, the legal and moral basis for the use of this technique is problematic. Is the U.S. government correct that nations attacked by terrorists have the right to respond in self-defense by targeting specific terrorists for summary killing? Is there a limit to who can legitimately be placed on the list? There is also widespread disagreement about whether suspected terrorists should be considered combatants subject to the risk of lawful killing under the laws of war or civilians protected by international humanitarian law. Complicating the moral and legal calculus is the fact that innocent bystanders are often killed or injured in these attacks. This book addresses these issues. Featuring chapters by an unrivalled set of experts, it discusses all aspects of targeted killing, making it unmissable reading for anyone interested in the implications of this practice.
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