Analyzing the Legality and Effectiveness of US Targeted Killing

A drone targeted as seen through a camera

Laurie Blank discusses a new approach to analyze the legality and effectiveness of US targeted killing. She suggests that targeted killing should be viewed through a lens that combines the effectiveness and legality metrics while also focusing on the essential issue of legitimacy.

Blank then explores the effectiveness of targeted killing through a legal lens by exploring three considerations: the role of legal compliance in maximizing effectiveness, the interplay between effectiveness and legitimacy, and the United States’ efforts to shape the law to enhance the effectiveness and availability of the tactic.

Blank concludes that targeted killing is an effective means to enhance legal compliance and achieve national security objectives in the short term, but she highlights that the tactic risks applicable laws evolving in a way unfavorable for U interests in the long term.

By Laurie Blank

Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Center for International and Comparative Law; Director, International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law.

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