Targeted Killings of US Citizens? Yes We Can!

President Obama's efforts at disrupting Al Qeada have been marked by a major increase in drone attacks and the use of US Special Forces in short end effective operations against other targets as required. This strategy seems much more pragmatic and is arguably the best way to tackle the Al Qaeda threat around the globe, versus the launching of major campaigns or 'wars' which ties down your forces to specific geographical locations.

However there is one interesting continuation from the Bush era; the authority to kill US citizens abroad. This should obviously present many legal and ethical issues for any administration but at present the threshold seems to be set at if the person "a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests". Is a US citizen chooses to join an organisation such as A Qaeda then "they are then part of the enemy".

For now there seems to have been little debate as to the continuation of this policy, or even its existence I expect in many cases. Though for an organisation like Al Qaeda it would be interesting to see if their propaganda machine could start to use this against the US or on the flip-side when would the US consider it acceptable to target a US citizen who was not abroad?

More can be found at the Washington Post below.


U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials.

a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture by the JSOC, military officials said.
he has embraced the notion that the most effective way to kill or capture members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates is to work closely with foreign partners, including those that have feeble democracies, shoddy human rights records and weak accountability over the vast sums of money Washington is giving them to win their continued participation in these efforts.
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