Hard Questions about the Response to Terrorism: Looking Back on September 11th

Andrew Young, the civil rights activist, politician, and diplomat, was present in Selma, Alabama, during the “Bloody Sunday” violence of March 7, 1965. When hundreds of Black Americans and others tried to march for voting rights only to be beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama state troopers, Young helped the wounded and others retreating from the … Continue reading Hard Questions about the Response to Terrorism: Looking Back on September 11th

A Global License to Kill: The History of US Targeted Killing

Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, allegedly a top al Qaeda member, met his death on November 3, 2002. Harethi, who was suspected of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, was killed by a missile fired from a CIA-operated Predator drone, along with five other alleged al Qaeda members riding with him in a … Continue reading A Global License to Kill: The History of US Targeted Killing

“My Conscience…Came Roaring Back to Life”: Daniel Hale and US Targeted Killing

Daniel Hale, a former US airman and military contractor, received an almost four-year prison sentence in federal court on July 27th. Hale’s crime was sharing with the media classified government documents related to targeted killing and other US counter-terrorism policies. Prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act, Hale pled guilty earlier this year to one of … Continue reading “My Conscience…Came Roaring Back to Life”: Daniel Hale and US Targeted Killing

Remembering Nat Hentoff (1925-2017)

Defenders of life lost one of their most eloquent, frustrating, and idiosyncratic voices earlier this year when Nat Hentoff died on January 7, at the age of 91. This Jewish, atheist, civil libertarian, pro-lifer’s critiques of abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, poverty, racism, and war, provide much to inspire adherents of the consistent ethic of … Continue reading Remembering Nat Hentoff (1925-2017)

A Globe-Trotting Detective Story: A Review of Dirty Wars

Dirty Wars, the documentary film counterpart to the book of the same name, begins its investigation of the secretive world of US counterterrorism operations with a disturbing episode set in Afghanistan. The book’s author, Jeremy Scahill, was working as a war correspondent in Afghanistan when he looked beyond the limited flow of information provided by … Continue reading A Globe-Trotting Detective Story: A Review of Dirty Wars

Three Questions on US Targeted Killings

The US government policy of killing suspected terrorists, whether by means of pilotless drones or Special Forces strikes, is now at least 10 years old. Estimates of how many have died because of this policy vary, but a conservative estimate is that roughly 2,000 people have been killed to date. Most of these targeted killings … Continue reading Three Questions on US Targeted Killings

The Obama Administration’s Broadly Defined Lethal Powers

Two documents have been made public this year that provide more information about the Obama administration’s targeted killing policy. The first is a Justice Department paper that describes the administration’s justification for killing American citizens who are living overseas and are thought to be terrorist leaders. The second is a letter from Attorney General Eric … Continue reading The Obama Administration’s Broadly Defined Lethal Powers

The “Light Footprint”: Economy and Secrecy in Obama’s Military Policies

Barack Obama is now more than three-and-a-half years into his presidency and at least a preliminary assessment of his approach to foreign policy is possible. Three journalists have each written such analyses, all of them published this year: Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency, by Daniel Klaidman; The Obamians: … Continue reading The “Light Footprint”: Economy and Secrecy in Obama’s Military Policies