Targeted Killings

Topics: Non-state actor, Terrorism, International relations Pages: 4 (1491 words) Published: December 13, 2012
Because targeted killing is a critical tool in the fight against terrorism, I affirm: Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool. For clarity, I offer the following definitions:

According to the report “Hellfire and Grey Drones: An Empirical Examination of the Effectiveness of Targeted Killing”, targeted killings, though lacking a concrete definition under international law, are characterized by 6 key features: 1. The act is carried out by a state actor.

2. The target of the act is an individual actor {or, a small group of specific individuals}. 3. The targeted individual actor is a member of a group which is a non-state actor. This differentiation is necessary in order to separate targeted killings from assassinations. If the individual were a political official, then the strike would automatically be categorized as a political assassination.21 4. The non-state actor in questions has an armed wing. If the group is not armed, then the protections of the Hague Conventions, the Geneva Convention (and its various Additional Protocols), etcetera would apply to the members of the group. 5. If the group has an affiliated political party, the individual targeted is an elected official in a government. An attack on a political actor automatically qualifies as a political assassination. Whether or not hostilities are currently underway when the strike occurs matters not. Since a full, official declaration of war does not necessarily exist between the state and non-state actors in question. Morehouse, Matthew. "HELLFIRE AND GREY DRONES: AN EMPIRICAL EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TARGETED KILLINGS." University of Nebraska. (2011)

Thus, a targeted killing is a lethal strike carried out by a state against an individual non state actor of an armed wing. Morally permissible: 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...
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