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avoid decapitation. The aforementioned studies seem to indicate that the stabilizing influence of established leaders makes organizations less dangerous, more predictable and easier to target. In effect, justification for targeted killing as a necessary, or even as an acceptable policy tool is non-existent. Targeted killing fails to achieve its

In effect, justification for targeted killing as a necessary, or even as an acceptable policy tool is non-existent. primary strategic objective of decapitation 98.7% of the time, in the 2.3% of cases in which it does achieve this primary objective it has the desired secondary impacts no more than 53% of the time, and finally even in the 1.431% of cases in which targeted killing achieves both its primary and secondary objectives, it produces a multitude of uncontrollable negative externalities. Thus, the

unavoidable conclusion is that maintaining the United States’ targeted killing program is nothing less than strategically absurd. In summation, my opponent’s defense of the U.S targeted killing program is legally indefensible, theoretically illegitimate, and strategically unsound. The perpetuation of a targeted killing policy founded on a nebulous “right to execute” flies in the face of basic precepts of international law. Unlike terrorist organizations, the United States has willingly acceded to certain restrictions on how, when, and where it has the right to use lethal force. Violating these restrictions is unlawful. Even justifying this unlawful policy on the basis of strategic necessity fails because the results of targeted killing verge on the statistically insignificant by even the most generous standards. And with a laundry list of uncontrollable negative externalities, it is difficult to conceive of targeted killing as anything but a decades-long failure.

1. “Chapter VII,” United Nations, https://www. un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-vii/index. html (Accessed April 13, 2019). 2. Ibid 3. Ibid 4. “Drone Warfare,” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, https://www.thebureauinvestigates. com/projects/drone-war (Accessed April 13, 2019). 5. Sen, Ashish Kumar, “Al-Shabaab Threatens U.S. Attacks: Should You Be Worried?” The National Interest, February 25, 2015 (Accessed April 13, 2019). 6. S.J. Res. 23, PUBLIC LAW 107–40, September 18, 2001. 7. The Avalon Project: Letter of John Negroponte to the President of the Security Council, October 7, 2001, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/sept11/un_006. asp (Accessed April 13, 2019). 8. Wesley Morgan, “Whatever Happened to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan?” POLITICO, August 15, 2018, https://www.politico.com/ story/2018/08/15/al-qaeda-afghanistanterrorism-777511 (Accessed April 13, 2019). 9. Amos N. Guiora, Legitimate Target: A Criteriabased Approach to Targeted Killing (New York:

Oxford University Press, 2013). 10. “Chapter I,” United Nations, https://www.un.org/ en/sections/un-charter/chapter-i/index.html (Accessed April 13, 2019). 11. “The Disposition Matrix,” Center for the Study of the Drone, April 27, 2015, https://dronecenter. bard.edu/the-disposition-matrix/ (Accessed April 13, 2019). 12. “Global Terrorism Index 2018- World.” ReliefWeb, https://reliefweb.int/report/world/globalterrorism-index-2018 (Accessed April 13, 2019). 13. Todd Turner, “Targeted Killings: Is Organizational Decapitation An Effective Counterterrorism Strategy?” (presentation, Duke University Counterterrorism and Public Policy Seminar, Durham, NC, April 15, 2015). 14. Patrick B. Johnston, “Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns,” International Security, 36(4), 2012. 15. 2.3% of cases result in decapitation (see Center for the Study of the Drone, 2015.) x 53% of decapitations that are successful (Johnston, 2019) 16. Lisa Langdon, Alexander J. Sarapu, and Matthew Wells, “Targeting the Leadership of Terrorist and Insurgent Movements: Historical Lessons for

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Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

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