Resolved Punchline: Targeted Killing is a Morally Permissible Foreign Policy Tool

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I affirm the resolution, “Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool.” Affirming achieves the value of morality defined by the Random House For clarity I offer the following definitions

Targeted Killing-Targeted killing is the intentional killing, by a government or its agents, of a civilian or "unlawful combatant" targeted by the government, who is not in the government's custody.  Morally Permissible- means to meet some baseline requirement of morality. In other words, for something to be morally permissible, it does not necessarily have to be the best course of action or a moral duty, but rather must only be not immoral. Foreign Policy- a line of argument rationalizing the course of action of a government Before I begin, I would like to state the difference between assassination and targeted killing. Abraham D. Sofaer states “When people call a targeted killing an "assassination," they are attempting to preclude debate on the merits of the action. Assassination is widely defined as murder, and is for that reason prohibited in the United States. U.S. officials may not kill people merely because their policies are seen as detrimental to our interests.But killings in self-defense are no more "assassinations" in international affairs than they are murders when undertaken by our police forces against domestic killers. Targeted killings in self-defense have been authoritatively determined by the federal government to fall outside the assassination prohibition”.Abraham D. Sofaer Friday, March 26, 2004 That said, because it is the implied standard of the resolution, my value for this round will be Morality. In order to achieve morality, I offer the criterion of self defense I will go into further depth about the justification of this criterion later on in my case Contention 1- Targeted killing can be used to stop a pending terror attack. Gabriella Blum and Philip Heymann, “Law & Policy of Targeted Killing,” Harvard National Security Journal, June 27, 2010

Imagine that the U.S. intelligence services obtain reliable information that a known individual is plotting a terrorist attack against the United States. The individual is outside the United States, in a country where law and order are weak and unreliable. U.S. officials can request that country to arrest the individual, but they fear that by the time the individual is located, arrested, and extradited the terror plot would be too advanced, or would already have taken place. It is also doubtful that the host government is either able or willing to perform the arrest. Moreover, even if it did arrest the suspected terrorist, it might decide to release him shortly thereafter, exposing the U.S. to a renewed risk. Should the United States be allowed to kill the suspected terrorist in the foreign territory, without first capturing, arresting, and trying him? This means targeted killing can help ensure victory by thwarting pending terror attacks which will deter future attacks as terrorists need to have hope of success or they are unlikely to continue planning attacks. Contention 2- Targeted killing can create a power vacuum and reduce terror attacks. According to some reports, the killing of leaders of Palestinian armed groups weakened the will and ability of these groups to execute suicide attacks against Israelis. By deterring the leaders of terrorist organizations and creating in some cases a structural vacuum, waves of targeted killing operations were followed by a lull in subsequent terrorist attacks, and in some instances, brought the leaders of Palestinian factions to call for a ceasefire. The Obama administration embraced the targeted killing tactic, holding it to be the most effective way to get at Al- Qaeda and Taliban members in the ungoverned and ungovernable tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border or in third countries. This means that targeted killing can help ensure victory by ensuring the enemy is...
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