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Targeted Killing of Terrorists

By Nicholas Rostow | Strategic Forum 286 | March 01, 2014

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Key Points


  • The battle against terrorism raises important legal and policy concerns for the United States. Efforts to prevent terrorist attacks include the controversial practice of targeted killing, for example— the identification and killing of individuals involved in terrorist operations and organizations. 
  • Authority for targeted killing exists in domestic and international law. 
  • As a matter of policy even if it is not legally required, the United States should use the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to guide its confrontations with terrorists.
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