“Justified, legitimate and proportionate.” These are the words that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley at an emergency United Nations Security Council session and the director of the Joint Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, in a Pentagon briefing used to describe the U.S.
Laurie R. Blank is a clinical professor of law and director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law, where she teaches international humanitarian law and works directly with students to provide assistance to international tribunals, non-governmental organizations, and law firms around the world on cutting-edge issues in humanitarian law and human rights.
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On first impression, beating the Islamic State fighters to death with shovels sounds like a clear-cut case of stooping to the enemy’s level of barbarity. And yet that is exactly what the senior enlisted adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested in a rallying cry to U.S. forces on Jan. 9: