Targeting Terrorists: A License to Kill?, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Targeting Terrorists

A License to Kill?, 1st Edition

By Avery Plaw


306 pages

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Hardback: 9780754645269
pub: 2008-09-19
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pub: 2016-04-01
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Targeting Terrorists: A License to Kill? examines the political history and ethics of targeted killing. Avery Plaw's analysis addresses the questions of moral, political and legal justification in the context of the current 'war on terror' and of legitimate/illegitimate forms of counter-terrorism more generally. Given the increasing number of terrorist targetings conducted around the world today and the virtual absence of a sustained public and scholarly debate over the practice, this study makes a crucial contribution to the examination of an increasingly important and troubling subject. Incorporating insights and arguments from a range of disciplines and approaches, and offering an excellent balance between theory and case studies, this book is highly relevant for courses on ethics, politics, international relations and international law.


Shortlisted for the 2009 CPSA Prize in International Relations 'Avery Plaw's book is a timely and insightful analysis of the neglected issue of targeted killings in the context of international law and world politics…This is a work of "international ethics"; but it is one that is grounded solidly in empirical and historical research. While some of Plaw's conclusions may be controversial, there is no doubt that this book will be of great interest to both academics and practitioners - indeed, to all those who ponder the political and normative dilemmas that have arisen in the wake of 9/11.' CPSA Annual Meeting Programme 'Avery Plaw's title exactly describes his book. He doesn't use terrorism as an excuse for meta-ethical theorizing. He addresses the actual moral and legal arguments as they are being made, right now, and he evaluates them with great analytical skill. He is genuinely interested in the immediate question: Should terrorists be targeted? His book provides a model for answering questions like that.' Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA 'Throughout the world, political and military leaders constantly grapple with the legal and ethical challenges of targeted killings. Avery Plaw's analysis of this controversial tactic in our nation's counter-terrorism arsenal is compelling, comprehensive and timely.' James Forest, US Military Academy, USA 'Avery Plaw provides an invaluable service to those interested in the normative dilemmas that have arisen during the "war on terror". By reading American and Israeli policies of targeted killing alongside of each other, he demonstrates the logics that motivate counter-terrorism policies in both countries. His analyses of the legal, political and ethical dimensions of these policies is nuanced and reflects an engagement with the most recent literature in these fields. This book should be required reading for scholars in a wide range of fields, including international relations, security studies,

About the Author

Avery Plaw is Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, USA.

About the Series

Ethics and Global Politics

Ethics and Global Politics
Since the end of the Cold War, explorations of ethical considerations within global politics and on the development of foreign policy have assumed a growing importance in the fields of politics and international studies. New theories, policies, institutions, and actors are called for to address difficult normative questions arising from the conduct of international affairs in a rapidly changing world. This series provides an exciting new forum for creative research that engages both the theory and practice of contemporary world politics, in light of the challenges and dilemmas of the evolving international order.

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