Drones and Targeted Killings

Facing the Challenges of Unlimited Executive Power

Authored by: Amos Guiora , Jason Shelton

Routledge Handbook of Military Ethics

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415743686
eBook ISBN: 9781315813516
Adobe ISBN: 9781317801771


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Unlimited executive power, in the face of threats to the nation-state, raises deep concerns and important questions regarding morality of state power. Effective counterterrorism requires the state to apply self-imposed restraint. Targeted killing decisions rest on the specific identification of individuals, who pose an imminent threat to the state’s national security, and are therefore legitimate targets within the framework of lawful self-defense. The discussion regarding the legality and effectiveness of targeted killing must address the morality of the nation-state’s decision to specifically target an individual, identified as a legitimate target.

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