Ethics, Law and Justifying Targeted Killings: The Obama Administration at War

Abstract

This book examines the normative debates around the American use of targeted killings. It questions whether the Obama administration’s defence of its use of targeted killings is cohesive or hypocritical. In doing so, the book departs from the disciplinary purpose of international law, constitutional law and the just war tradition and instead examines discipline-specific defences of targeted killings to identify their requisite normative principles in order to compare these norms across disciplines. The methodology used in this book means that it argues that targeted killings are only defensible as acts of war, but it also highlights the normative role of accountability and responsibility in this defence. In doing so, it offers an argument that the use of ‘pattern of life’ killings by the CIA falls outside the defence offered by the Obama administration, but that this same type of targeting could be used by the military due to differing standards/mechanisms of responsibility assignment in these organisations. The book thus provides a way of investigating contemporary wars where the conduct of war lacks the traditional hallmarks of conventional warfare. Furthermore, by drawing attention to differing normative concepts that underpin competing interpretations of law and morality, it provides a way of analysing contemporary political violence in an interdisciplinary fashion without seeking to displace single disciplinary study.

Type
Publication
Routledge
Date

Table of Contents

Preface

  1. Justifying Targeted Killings

  2. American Targeted Killings

  3. War and Law Enforcement

  4. International Law

  5. Constitutional Protections

  6. Normative Principles of War

  7. Conclusion