Targeted killing has been heralded as one of the most effective methods for reducing the terrorist threat in the Middle East, yet its legality remains a point of controversy. At issue is the question of whether the United States is, or even can be, at war with al-Qaeda, as a state's recourse to violence is severely restricted under international law in the absence of such a war. This paper analyzes the three main frameworks under which America's lethal actions have been evaluated: law enforcement, armed conflict, and self-defense. It concludes that while the United States has a legitimate claim to self-defense against these terrorist networks, targeted killing as currently practiced by the Obama administration cannot be justified under international law.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Journal of Public and International Affairs|
|State||Published - 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations