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Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World 1st Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199646487
ISBN-10: 0199646481
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Editorial Reviews

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"We are entering a new era in which targeted killing will be the preferred method of fighting enemies in a great many contexts. In terms of geographical reach, targeting precision, the manageability of the intervention, and the minimization of the cost and casualties, the practice is hugely attractive to militaries and politicians alike. But it also comes with potentially grave costs in terms of respect for basic moral principles, as well as established human rights and international humanitarian law. This book provides the best possible panorama of diverse and competing perspectives on emerging practices and will be an invaluable guide to those shaping future policies in this area."
-- Philip Alston John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, New York University


"The debate over targeted killings has become the most contentious in the contemporary law and morality of war. Is it a legitimate tactic that saves lives compared with old-fashioned bombing campaigns? Or is it ruthless execution by non-uniformed spies piloting science-fiction drones from the safety of a distant control room? May states kill if capture is possible? May they kill their own citizens? What rights do the targets have? Is there a moral difference between killing anonymous enemies and killing men and women whose names you know? The law is ambiguous, and the moral issues cloudy. This volume is the most useful and thought-provoking discussion available, with a stellar group of authors who delve deep."
-- David Luban University Professor in Law and Philosophy Georgetown University


About the Author


Claire Finkelstein is the Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and a co-Director of Penn's Institute for Law and Philosophy. She writes in the areas of criminal law theory, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of law, international law, and rational choice theory. A particular focus of her work is bringing philosophical rational choice theory to bear on legal theory, and she is particularly interested in tracing the implications of Hobbes' political theory for substantive legal questions. Recently she has also been writing on the moral and legal aspects of government-sponsored torture as part of the U.S. national security program. In 2008 Finkelstein was a Siemens Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, during which time she presented papers in Berlin, Leipzig, and Heidelberg. She is currently working on her book, Contractarian Legal Theory, and is the editor of Hobbes on Law (Ashgate, 2005).

Jens Ohlin's research and teaching interests are focused on criminal law theory, public international law, and international criminal law. He is the author, with George Fletcher, of Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why (Oxford University Press, 2008), which offers a new account of international self-defense through a comparative analysis of the rules of self-defense in criminal law. His scholarly work has appeared in top law reviews and journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Harvard International Law Journal, American Journal of International Law, and several OUP edited volumes. His current research focuses on the normative application of criminal law concepts in international criminal law, especially with regard to genocide, torture, joint criminal enterprise and co-perpetration, as well as the philosophical foundations of collective criminal action.


Andrew Altman is Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University and Director of Research of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199646481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199646487
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,463,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is too Academic for the ordinary US citizen unless she's trained in law or analytic philosophy. Several of the chapters go way out of their way to try to defend the morality of drones, sometimes by trying to thwart arguments for the immorality of drone warfare.

Also, it is really a legal philosophical/discussion of aspects of asymmetrical warfare--one side has or uses weapons the other doesn't. (For example, drones vs no drones.)

Summary: too complicated for the average intelligent reader, too obtuse in the way that academic law and philosophy can be, and several authors explicitly try to create a space for the justification of using drones to kill people. Hence -2.0 out of 2.5 as a text for the interested "laywoman".

It is a very interesting academic and interesting read if you are a person who might find the topic interesting. I gave the academic perspective on the book a 2.0. I took off 0.2 because the essays could have been made less complex. I took off 0.3 because there is a clear bias in several essays.

My total numeric assessment is 2.5 so I rounded up.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
my girlfriend was in the navy for 8 years, and she worked with the SEALS.. She tooo has said that this book is sufficiently accurate. I did not give it 5 stars because I don't know enough to acquiesce to its teachings. But i think it's worth the read.
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Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World
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