Targeted Killing

Capt. John Farmer, U.S. Army

Although targeted killings are hardly a novel military tactic, they have gained significant attention in recent years as the US government has increasingly employed the method in its overseas counterterrorism operations. Many critics have attacked the government’s targeted killing programs on grounds of excessive civilian casualties, an matter that remains sharply contested. The targeted killing programs also raise legal questions under both domestic law and international law, as well as thorny legal and moral issues regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and other autonomous systems in the carrying out of targeted killings.

Latest in Targeted Killing

Targeted Killing

The DC Circuit Refuses to Adjudicate TVPA Claim Regarding the Lawfulness of Extrajudicial Killings

The D.C. Circuit's recent ruling that the political question doctrine bars the adjudication of claims regarding a 2012 U.S. drone strike in Yemen improperly refuses to adjudicate a claim duly enacted by Congress under the Torture Victim Protection Act. 

targeted killing

The French War on Terrorism: Targeting French Islamic State Fighters through Iraqi Forces

A recent Wall Street Journal article alleges that the French have given Iraqi forces a list of some thirty French nationals who have risen to prominence in the ranks of the Islamic States, and have asked the Iraqis to locate and kill those men.

Presidential Policy Guidance

"Areas of Active Hostilities" and Authority to Authorize Attacks Without White House Involvement

A recent U.S. News article on “‘Areas of Active Hostilities’: Trump’s Troubling Increases to Obama’s Wars"  correctly identifies what could be a very important policy problem, but confuses the issue by focusing on the legal dimension.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Has the U.S. Quietly Ramped Up the Air Campaign Against AQAP in Yemen?

CENTCOM has just released a summary of publicly-acknowledged airstrikes conducted against AQAP targets in Yemen over the first five months of 2016.  The list includes three strikes from February and March that were not previously acknowledged, interestingly, and there is no guarantee that there are not others of that kind still awaiting public disclosure.

2001 AUMF

Mullah Mansour as a "Continuous" Threat: Was the AUMF Strictly Necessary?

The DOD airstrike that may have killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour is interesting, from a legal perspective, at many levels.  From an international law perspective, as Marty Lederman explains here, it looks to be another example of action under color of the much-discussed unwilling/unable principle (unless of course there was conse

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