Greg McNeal on Collateral Damage and Targeted Killing

by Roger Alford

My colleague Greg McNeal has just posted on SSRN an article on collateral damage and targeted killing. It is getting rave reviews, with Ben Wittes calling it an “extraordinary article” that “should be required reading for anyone participating in the many debates surrounding targeted killing” and our own Ken Anderson calling it “essential reading … in the law of armed conflict.”

Here is McNeal’s own description of what he is trying to achieve with the empirical piece:

Irrespective of your opinion about the merits of targeted killing, I’m hopeful my paper provides the foundation necessary for scholars and commentators to build upon, and I hope it serves as a helpful corrective to the descriptions of state practice currently circulating in public commentary.

http://opiniojuris.org/2011/11/30/greg-mcneal-on-collateral-damage-and-targeted-killing/

3 Responses

  1. Just a new example of red herrings and question begging. The question the jurists should answer is why the victims of U.S. attacks cannot sue U.S. in international courts? Why are they not able to challenge whatever legal argument U.S. produces? Why does U.S. has always the last word on it?

  2. Did you read the article before you wrote this comment?  The article is about the U.S. efforts to minimize civilian casualties when it engages legitimate military targets.  Why is that less important than providing legal recourse to victims of unlawful military action?  How is preventing someone from ever becoming a victim a red herring?

  3. When the police in U.S. kills someone, who decides that it was legitimate killing? The police itself?

    When someone kills in self-defence in U.S. who decides whether it was self-defence? The killer?

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