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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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TARGETED KILLING IN WAR AND PEACE: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS

TARGETED KILLING IN WAR AND PEACE: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS

Chapter:
(p.403) 15 TARGETED KILLING IN WAR AND PEACE: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS
Source:
Targeted Killings
Author(s):

Fernando R. Tesón

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.003.0016

On May 2, 2011, a special unit of the U.S. Navy killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Many rejoiced at this development and felt that justice had been served. However, emotion is no substitute for dispassionate moral analysis. This chapter examines the morality of targeted killings in general. It addresses the killing of bin Laden, but the discussion goes beyond that: it probes the morality of all targeted killings by liberal governments. It applies to targeted killings by the United States as well as other liberal regimes, and it explores the justification of the practice in wartime and in peacetime. Given that the United States and Israel have announced that they will continue to kill named targets, and given that not all contemplated targets are as villainous or dangerous as bin Laden, a moral evaluation of the practice is especially required.

Keywords:   targeted killing, Osama bin Laden, morality, liberal governments, United States, Israel

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