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“On Target”: Precision & Balance in the Contemporary Law of Targeting

“On Target”: Precision & Balance in the Contemporary Law of Targeting

Schmitt and Widmar explore the law of targeting within international humanitarian law (IHL) and its application to international and non-international armed conflict. The article examines the “five elements” of a target operation, including the target, the weapon used, the execution of the attack, possible collateral damage and incidental injury, and location of the strike. The […]

Legitimacy Versus Legality Redux: Arming the Syrian Rebels

Legitimacy Versus Legality Redux: Arming the Syrian Rebels

The provision of lethal aid to the Syrian rebels appears questionable from a purely legal perspective. It would arguably amount to a use of force. Neither of the traditional legal justi?cations for the use of force—self-defense and authorization by the Security Council—applies in this case. While humanitarian intervention arguably offers a (weak) basis for the […]

Can the President and Congress Establish a Legislative Veto Mechanism for Jointly Drawing Down a Long and Controversial War?

Can the President and Congress Establish a Legislative Veto Mechanism for Jointly Drawing Down a Long and Controversial War?

To find a joint way to draw down the American troops in the war zone, Congress and the President may seek congressional mechanisms to resolve their differences with interactive processes. Then, constitutional issues arise as to whether a congressional mechanism may use a legislative veto – authorization for a drawdown with a reservation of power for a vote by the two Houses of Congress – so as to let the President draw down troop levels while reserving congressional power to stop that draw down. These issues illuminate war powers in the abstract; the issues also apply concretely to the main war of the 2010s, namely, the long war in Afghanistan.

Dead Contractors: The Un-Examined Effect of Surrogates on the Public’s Casualty Sensitivity

Dead Contractors: The Un-Examined Effect of Surrogates on the Public’s Casualty Sensitivity

When a nation deploys ground forces, an inverse relationship exists between the number of military deaths and public support. This stark and monolithic metric, which economists call the “casualty sensitivity” effect, requires close examination today.  On the modern battlefield, contractor personnel die at rates similar to — or indeed often in excess of — soldiers, […]

Law Enforcement as a Counterterrorism Tool

Law Enforcement as a Counterterrorism Tool

In January 2011, Congress enacted legislation prohibiting the use offederal funds to transfer to the United States any individuals currentlydetained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Among the purposes of thisprovision, observers commented, was to prevent the prosecution of thesedetainees in federal court in the United States.

The Laws of War as a Constitutional Limit on Military Jurisdiction

The Laws of War as a Constitutional Limit on Military Jurisdiction

It is impossible to have a meaningful debate over whether a civilian court or a military commission is a more appropriate forum for trying terrorism suspects so long as serious questions remain over whether the commissions may constitutionally exercise jurisdiction over particular offenses and/or offenders.