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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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JUSTIFYING TARGETED KILLING WITH A NEUTRAL PRINCIPLE?

JUSTIFYING TARGETED KILLING WITH A NEUTRAL PRINCIPLE?

Chapter:
(p.112) 4 JUSTIFYING TARGETED KILLING WITH A NEUTRAL PRINCIPLE?
Source:
Targeted Killings
Author(s):

Jeremy Waldron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.003.0005

This chapter examines a proposed legal norm that would license targeted killing: N1: Named civilians may be targeted with deadly force if they are presently involved in planning terrorist atrocities or are likely to be involved in carrying them out in the future. It explores not only the issue of likely abuses of norms like N1 but also the way in which those abuses disclose inherent difficulties with the norm. The last part of the chapter (Sections VIII to X) makes the case that the liability to abuse of norms like N1 is not just an instance of the general liability of any legal norm to abuse. It is connected also with its content, for N1 represents a relaxation of one of the most important norms we have — the norm against murder — and the justifications adduced for N1 or for similar principles represent a significant modification of our usual way of arguing about murder — a modification in the direction of moral opportunism and unreliable analogy.

Keywords:   legal norm, targeted killing, liability, murder

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