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Drones and the Future of Armed ConflictEthical, Legal, and Strategic Implications$
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David Cortright, Rachel Fairhurst, and Kristen Wall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258058

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258195.001.0001

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Justifying the Right to Kill

Justifying the Right to Kill

Problems of Law, Transparency, and Accountability

(p.88) Chapter Six Justifying the Right to Kill
Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict

Pardiss Kebriaei

University of Chicago Press

Despite President Obama’s 2013 pledge to narrow targeting criteria and provide greater oversight of drone operations, US policy continues to lack transparency and accountability. This chapter examines the targeted killing of US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen as an example of the legal shortcomings of current drone policy. It questions the rationale for the targeted killing program and criticizes the administration for selective and insufficient disclosures of its practices. The government’s lack of transparency in disclosing its legal justification for drone strikes limits the possibility for judicial review. The deference shown by US courts to executive privilege in national security matters further hinders the legal evaluation of drone operations. The chapter argues that external and independent judicial and legislative oversight is necessary to bring the US drones program into conformity with the law.

Keywords:   oversight, accountability, Anwar al-Awlaki, judiciary, targeted killing, Yemen, transparency

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