Is Targeted Killing Justified?

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Definition of Targeted Killing: In a report from May 2010, the United Nations General Assembly defined targeted killing as “premeditated acts of lethal force employed by states in times of peace or during armed conflict to eliminate specific individuals outside their custody.” The concept of targeted killing is not a new term; however, it has only recently entered the forefront of international relations in the post-9/11 world. Per the Council of Foreign Relations, the policy of targeted killing first gained worldwide recognition when the Israeli government admitted to targeting alleged Palestinian terrorists. Beginning in October 2001, the United States government under the George W. Bush administration began conducting targeted killings of suspected members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. The actual method of targeted killing can range from special operations missions with boots on the ground to cruise missiles to drone strikes. In the United States, the primary method of targeted killing has been with drone strikes and has been focused on attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan. The Legality of Targeted Killing: Types of Targeted Killing: Targeted attacks are predominantly done by either a drone strike or with a kill/capture mission. In a drone strike, a missile is launched from an unmanned aerial vehicle on a target in a foreign country. According to a study by the New American Foundation, President Obama has authorized four times as many drone strikes in his first four years in office as President Bush did in eight years. Given that a drone can be launched without the risk of American loss of life, it is easy to see why it is such a popular form of warfare and foreig... ... middle of paper ... (accessed May 10, 2014). Naylor, Sean. "Chinook crash highlights rise in spec ops raids." Army Times. (accessed May 12, 2014). Walsh, Nick. "U.S., Afghanistan sign key 'night raids' deal." CNN. (accessed May 10, 2014). Mazzetti, Mark, and Helene Cooper. "Detective Work on Courier Led to Breakthrough on Bin Laden." The New York Times. (accessed May 10, 2014). Rafferty, Andrew. "American drone deaths highlight controversy." NBC News. (accessed May 13, 2014).
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