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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Claire Finkelstein is the Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and a co-Director of Penn's Institute for Law and Philosophy. She writes in the areas of criminal law theory, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of law, international law, and rational choice theory. A particular focus of her work is bringing philosophical rational choice theory to bear on legal theory, and she is particularly interested in tracing the implications of Hobbes' political theory for substantive legal questions. Recently she has also been writing on the moral and legal aspects of government-sponsored torture as part of the U.S. national security program. In 2008 Finkelstein was a Siemens Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, during which time she presented papers in Berlin, Leipzig, and Heidelberg. She is currently working on her book, Contractarian Legal Theory, and is the editor of Hobbes on Law (Ashgate, 2005).
Jens Ohlin's research and teaching interests are focused on criminal law theory, public international law, and international criminal law. He is the author, with George Fletcher, of Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why (Oxford University Press, 2008), which offers a new account of international self-defense through a comparative analysis of the rules of self-defense in criminal law. His scholarly work has appeared in top law reviews and journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Harvard International Law Journal, American Journal of International Law, and several OUP edited volumes. His current research focuses on the normative application of criminal law concepts in international criminal law, especially with regard to genocide, torture, joint criminal enterprise and co-perpetration, as well as the philosophical foundations of collective criminal action.
Andrew Altman is Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University and Director of Research of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics.
"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
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