Ultimately, then, a targeted killing will comport with human rights norms only if the authorities harbour a reasonable belief, in the circumstances holding at the time, that they are acting in the last possible window of opportunity to prevent a terrorist attack that is almost certainly going to be perpetrated by the target(s). Absent such conditions, the action will comprise an unlawful extrajudicial killing.
The threat of mutually assured destruction worked for the United States during the Cold War because it had proved its willingness to drop nuclear bombs on enemy cities at the end of World War II. It might work less well for Israel, because the Israeli Air Force has never deliberately targeted a large civilian population center, and its leaders have said its morality would not permit it do so.alan dershowitz
Seated each afternoon in the darkened screening room, Halliday came to recognize the targeted numerals of the Academy leader as sigils preceding the dream state of a film.william ford gibson
The targeted assassination policy is a correct one. It is inconceivable that terrorists could operate freely without the ground quaking under their feet.amir peretz
... there are no universally accepted laws governing the use of targeted killing. Each nation is responsible for applying its own domestic laws and concepts of self-defence when considering this option.
Strategic results that undermine established terrorist campaigns demand broader scope and planning. In our case studies, popular support was more effectively reduced by the arrests of leaders than by their demise, and this is why efforts at targeted killing often backfire in the long run.
The preparation of a targeted killing operation often takes a long duration (weeks to months), especially when targeting senior terror operatives.
targeted killings are analagous to the use of marksmen on the battlefield – designed to eliminate specific enemy combatants who have already initiated violence against the United States. Moreover, targeted killing is congruent with just war thinking in the context of twenty-first century conflict.
Assassination, whether in peacetime or in wartime, constitutes an illegal killing, while targeted killing is the intentional slaying of a specific individual or group of individuals with explicit governmental approval.
The real issue – one emphasized in informal conversations – seems to be that unless the target is a duly designated "combatant," the targeted killing would become an "assassination."
Targets of a targeted killing include the potential suicide bomber as well as other individuals. A legitimate target is an individual significantly involved in the suicide bomber infrastructure; that is, "doers" and "senders" alike.
There also must be no reasonable alternative to the targeted killing: meaning that the international law requirement of seeking another reasonable means of incapacitating the terrorist prior to a future attack has proved fruitless.
If "terrorist" is really just a catch-all phrase for describing enemies of the state, then restricting targeted killing to terrorists is really no restriction at all – ore, more accurately, it only imposes the onerous restriction of limiting killing to one's enemies.
In wartime, however, the prohibition against targeted killing is more elusive because the law stipulates that combatants, regardless of their rank or official role, are potential targets. Since war is a contest between states, not persons, the killing in war is not murder.
Detention (preferably after a full-blown criminal trial) is the tactic of choice against suspected terrorists, but it is not always feasible to capture suspected or even self-proclaimed, terrorists or others who pose an immediate and serious danger to a state. Many states have opted, under these circumstances, for a more drastic form of preventative incapacitation, namely, targeted killing.
Even if the targeted killing is deemed to fall within the laws of armed conflict, the rules relating thereto protect non-combatants. While civilians cannot be targeted, if they are killed or injured during an attack on a military target, then as long as the means employed were discriminate and proportionate, there is no violation of the laws of armed conflict.
The moral legitimacy of targeted killing becomes even clearer when compared to the alternative means of fighting terror – that is, the massive invasion of the community that shelters and supports the terrorists in an attempt to catch or kill the terrorists and destory their infrastructure.
Well-targeted killing, however, is not evidently more decent than random killing, unless the targeted victims are thought to be more deserving of their fate.
targeted killing further reduces moderates ability to control the extremists (or self police) since they lose credibility among the larger audience and undermine them overall.
"targeted killings" ought to be an effective deterrent. Death is a severe enough punishment to give most people pause, and members of terror organizations other than those being groomed to carry out suicide attacks are not known for being suicidal themselves.
"To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war."Michael Ignatieff