Targeted Killing

U.S. Forces in Libya Use Piloted Planes, Receive “Imminent Danger Pay”

By Jack Goldsmith
Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 6:37 AM

Charlie Savage reports this morning:  “Since the United States handed control of the air war in Libya to NATO in early April, American warplanes have struck at Libyan air defenses about 60 times, and remotely operated drones have fired missiles at Libyan forces about 30 times, according to military officials.”  This confirms the speculations of Richard Klingler and Peter Shane that the United States has been using more than drones in Libya.  Relatedly, the Washington Post reports:

The Defense Department decided in April to pay an extra $225 a month in ‘imminent danger pay’ to service members who fly planes over Libya or serve on ships within 110 nautical miles of its shores.  That means the Pentagon has decided that troops in those places are “subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger because of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions.”

These new details make somewhat harder the Administration’s claim that it is not in “hostilities” under the WPR because, under its view of the statute, the level of risk to U.S. Forces informs the definition of “hostilities.”  (For reasons stated here, I don’t think the distance from Libya from which troops pull the trigger should matter to WPR “hostilities.”  But the Administration does.)

Update: Charlie Savage has more, and more interesting, details.