Thursday, May 13, 2010

Drones, Killings & Drugs - What a Mix-up

Targeted killings - the policy of assassinating people you don't like rather than say, trying to bring them to justice. Israel does it with fighter jets. The US does it with drone-strikes. Does that actually work? Perhaps not. In the context of a previous post about how targeted killings can make a counter-insurgency situation worse...... now we see the remit of the policy being extended to drug-lords, as Transform notes - and that not only might it not work, but it is illegal:
In 2009, the United States announced that it had placed fifty Afghan drug traffickers with links to the Taliban on a ‘kill list.’ This controversial proposal essentially weds the counter-narcotics effort with the mission to defeat the Taliban, and challenges a cornerstone of international humanitarian law, the principle of distinction. This article argues that drug traffickers, even those who support the Taliban, are not legitimate targets according to the rules applicable to non-international armed conflict. It explores the notions of membership in armed groups, civilian status and acts that result in the loss of protection, and argues that the US plan violates international humanitarian law.

In the US, the debate is beginning around if this policy works or is making the situation worse - after all the fall out of many drone strikes, including those that kill the intended target (and many don't) is civilian casualties.

No comments: