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Targeted KillingsLaw and Morality in an Asymmetrical World$
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Claire Finkelstein, Jens David Ohlin, and Andrew Altman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.001.0001

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EFFICIENCY IN BELLO AND AD BELLUM: MAKING THE USE OF FORCE TOO EASY?

EFFICIENCY IN BELLO AND AD BELLUM: MAKING THE USE OF FORCE TOO EASY?

Chapter:
(p.374) 14 EFFICIENCY IN BELLO AND AD BELLUM: MAKING THE USE OF FORCE TOO EASY?
Source:
Targeted Killings
Author(s):

Kenneth Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.003.0015

This chapter focuses on an argument over targeted killing using drones. The bare-bones argument is the following: Targeted killing using drone warfare is immoral because, by removing the personal risk to those carrying out these operations, the drone-wielding actor has no, or much reduced, disincentives against using force. Using force when your own people are not at risk in the operation makes using force ‘too easy’ an option. The chapter is organized as follows. First, it sets out several key factual assumptions about drone warfare, precision targeting, and civilian collateral damage. These assumptions are set against a background discussion of the nature of the drone campaign and targeted killing as currently conducted by the United States. Second, it sets out the form of the argument that will be critiqued in its most plausible but also most sophisticated and interesting conceptual form. Third, the chapter critiques the web of conceptual assumptions that underlie the very idea that there is a coherent way to talk about drones making war ‘too easy’ — which is to say, some notion of an ‘efficient’ level of war that could make sense of saying that it is either ‘too easy’ or ‘too hard’. Fourth, assuming that the critique offered of the notion of an ‘efficient’ level of the resort to force — war — is good, it offers a speculative and incomplete account of why that would be so. It is argued that war turns on the nature of ‘sides’ that do not share commensurable grounds that would allow the commonality required to find an ‘efficient’ point in a universal welfare sense.

Keywords:   targeted killing, drones, drone warfare, precision targeting, civilian collateral damage, war

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