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Rex Brynen
09-26-2007, 06:16 PM
An interesting piece can be found here (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/907392.html) on Israel's failed 1997 assassination attempt in Jordan against Hamas leader Khalid Mishal.


On September 25, 1997, the Mossad espionage agency suffered one of the worst debacles in its history, when it bungled an attempt to assassinate Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal. The incident also jeopardized decades of secret cooperation with Jordan.

Quite apart from the failures in planning and execution, it highlights issues of inter-service (in this case, Mossad vs Shin Beth) boundaries, political pressures, and especially the failure to anticipate the possible political consequences of an operation (especially a failed one).

Tom Odom
09-26-2007, 07:20 PM
Thanks, Rex. Good read and very reminiscent of similar hijinks in the hit teams after Munich.

best

Tom

Van
09-26-2007, 09:16 PM
An assassination (or "selected target engagement" or "surgical strike" or "command and control node target" or whatever euphamism is prefered) is an operation. It is (should be) conducted in support of strategic and operational objectives. It is not the collection, management of collection, or analysis of information. Why does it end up under the Intel rubic in so many instances? The best possible operator for this sort of direct action might be a passible but specialized intel collector, but at the end of the day that is not his or her primary task.

By putting the intel name on sexy operations like this, good collectors, collection managers, and analysts get some very confused notions about what should fall under their perview. Yes, intel and ops need to work next to each other on this sort of thing, but operators and policy maker should be driving this bus.


This is an outstanding study of how not to do it, a real rush job from the word go. To conduct such a volatile type of operation without doing a serious branch and sequel analysis and good coordination is gross negligence.

Rex Brynen
09-26-2007, 09:45 PM
An assassination (or "selected target engagement" or "surgical strike" or "command and control node target" or whatever euphamism is prefered) is an operation. It is (should be) conducted in support of strategic and operational objectives. It is not the collection, management of collection, or analysis of information. Why does it end up under the Intel rubic in so many instances? The best possible operator for this sort of direct action might be a passible but specialized intel collector, but at the end of the day that is not his or her primary task.



Van, I absolutely agree--when I posted it I was torn between the "trigger-puller" and "Middle East" forums, but in the end there's enough inter-(intel) service boundary problems, poor local information, and lack of assessment on longer-term consequences in this story that it seemed to go as well here as anywhere else.

On top of that, I've grown dependant on Ted to move my posts when they're not in the best category :D

walrus
09-26-2007, 10:20 PM
Every time I see a pundit talking about the advisability of "taking out" someone, I cringe.

Some years ago, my father, an ex intelligence officer, military historian, and no stranger to the murky world of peacetime intelligence, researched and studied the 15 or so assassination attempts on Hitler, including traveling to Germany to interview surviving members of one plot.

The operations ranged from "Lone Wolf" single person amateur operations to highly planned multi person military operations. His conclusion was that Hitlers survival demonstrated the very high degree of difficulty of conducting a successful operation against anyone who takes even the most rudimentary physical and information precautions - and has a little luck.

When asked, during a seminar on the subject if he was aware if anyone had conducted a successful operation against a major target he simply said "Not Yet".

Rex Brynen
09-26-2007, 10:37 PM
When asked, during a seminar on the subject if he was aware if anyone had conducted a successful operation against a major target he simply said "Not Yet".

The Israelis have had significant success in assassinating significant Palestinian political-military figures. However, this is often bedeviled by the law of unintended consequences, as the Jerusalem Post piece that I started the thread off with suggests.

A case in point: While the assassination of Fateh #2 (and Western Sector commander, effectively PLO Defence Minister) Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) in Tunis in 1988 was regarded at the time as a major operational success, I'm sure they now wish he had been alive 1994-present, given his relatively dovish political views and his probable contribution to a more professional and effective Palestinian Authority security service. Abu Jihad's assassination also did nothing to stop the intifada then underway (although there were some other retaliatory and deterrent goals on the Israeli side that may have been better attained).

Van
09-26-2007, 11:19 PM
law of unintended consequences
Yes, a.k.a. Chaos theory, Complexity theory, Fog of War, or Friction... But what real makes me cringe (and reach for the soapbox to stand on) is that most of these consquences are fairly forseable. Example: The (thankfully failed) C.I.A. efforts to kill Fidel Castro in the '60s - did they really want Raul Castro (as he was then, he seems to have mellowed a bit) running the show in Cuba? Did they assess the implications of a compromised operation? I'm pretty sure the answer is 'no' to both, but there is a serious issue with the degree of thought applied to the problem.

O.K. I'll move away from the soapbox.

On a more pragmatic note; the assassination of Yamamoto represents a near ideal case. A clean hit with strategicly trivial direct collateral damage, and little if any long term negative impact to U.S. interests... Unless you count the belief that we can repeat this miracle.

Rank amateur
09-27-2007, 01:58 AM
When asked, during a seminar on the subject if he was aware if anyone had conducted a successful operation against a major target he simply said "Not Yet".

JFK? Lincoln? Trotsky? Sadat? Rabin?


Sunni Arab extremists have begun a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, other Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq, staging at least 10 attacks in 48 hours.

The entire article: If siding with us is a major success then they must be major targets for those who oppose us (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/world/middleeast/26iraq.html?ref=worldspecial)

Jedburgh
09-27-2007, 02:50 AM
.....when I posted it I was torn between the "trigger-puller" and "Middle East" forums, but in the end there's enough inter-(intel) service boundary problems, poor local information, and lack of assessment on longer-term consequences in this story that it seemed to go as well here as anywhere else.....
I agree with Van that this thread certainly doesn't belong in the "Intelligence" forum, but Political Assassination really doesn't fit the tactical intent of the "Trigger-Puller" forum either.....and the scope of the subject matter - and potentially the discussion - goes well beyond the "Middle East". So, here we are in the "Global Issues and Threats" forum - not the perfect fit, perhaps, but more appropriate than any of the others, I think. Any member can feel free to state otherwise, if you really feel it should go elsewhere.

Rex, at this point I'll just stay along the lines of our original post and link a couple of articles for consideration. First is this Sep 02 paper in support of Israeli targeted killings from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies:

Fatal Choices: Israel's Policy of Targeted Killing (http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/david.pdf)

Israel has openly pursued a policy of targeted killing since the inception of the second intifada in September 2000. The Israelis have identified, located and then killed alleged Palestinian terrorists with helicopter gunships, fighter aircraft, tanks, car bombs, booby traps and bullets. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed, prompting international condemnation, domestic soul searching and bloody retaliation. Given its controversial nature and obvious costs, it is worth considering whether this policy is worth pursuing. Why has Israel embarked on a policy of targeted killings? Has the policy been effective in reducing Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians? Are targeted killings permitted by Israeli and international law? Is it moral? Most important, is the policy of targeted killing in the Israeli national interest?

The answers to these questions are of critical importance. For Israel, it is necessary to know whether its policy of targeted killings is pragmatically and ethically justified. If it is, it makes sense for Israel to continue or even expand upon this approach. If there are serious shortcomings, they need to be highlighted so that the policy can be modified or discarded. For countries other than Israel, and especially the United States, assessing the worth of targeted killings is hardly less significant. Ever since September 11th, much of the world, with the United States in the lead, has sought ways to counter terrorism. If the Israelis have embarked upon a successful approach, it makes sense to emulate them. If Israeli policy is fundamentally flawed, however, better to understand that now, especially when voices demanding that terrorists be hunted down and killed have grown so loud. Either way, learning from the Israeli experience is central to those seeking to combat the threat from terrorism.

...and here's an interesting Jan 05 perspective from the Bank of Israel Research Department:

Targeted Killings: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Counterterrorism Policy (http://www.bankisrael.gov.il/deptdata/mehkar/papers/dp0502e.pdf)

Targeted killing (henceforth assassination) of members of Palestinian terrorist organizations was a major element in Israel’s counterterrorism effort during the Palestinian uprising which started in 2000. We evaluate the effectiveness of this policy indirectly by examining Israeli stock market reactions to assassinations. Our approach relies on the assumption that the market should react positively to news of effective counterterrorism measures but negatively to news of counterproductive ones. The main result of the analysis is that the market reacts strongly to assassinations of senior members in Palestinian terrorist organizations: it declines following attempts to assassinate political leaders but rises following attempts to assassinate military ones.....

Finally a paper from a US point of view:

Targeted Killing as an Element of U.S. Foreign Policy in the War on Terror (http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/machon.pdf)

This monograph examines the prohibition on assassination embodied within Executive Order 12333 and its effect on a U.S. policy of targeted killing of transnational terrorist leadership. Next this monograph will examine the numerous interpretations of applicable international law regarding terrorism and the states response. This examination will contrast the law enforcement model proposed by adherents of international humanitarian law, with international humanitarian law and the law of war model advocated by those who see the current “war on terror’ as an armed conflict between states and trans-national terrorists.

Given the level of secrecy and lack of transparency involved in this policy and its implementation, how can we judge the moral and legal implications of the Bush administration’s policy of ‘targeted killing’ of al-Qaeda members or other suspected terrorists. Is this policy of ‘targeted killing’ morally justifiable and legal under both US domestic and international law? Can the United States maintain international legitimacy while implementing a policy of targeted killing of suspected trans-national terrorists? This monograph examines Executive Order 12333, International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law to determine the legality of a policy of targeted killing.

goesh
09-27-2007, 04:16 PM
"Targeted Killing as an Element of U.S. Foreign Policy in the War on Terror

Quote:
This monograph examines the prohibition on assassination embodied within Executive Order 12333 and its effect on a U.S. policy of targeted killing of transnational terrorist leadership. Next this monograph will examine the numerous interpretations of applicable international law regarding terrorism and the states response. This examination will contrast the law enforcement model proposed by adherents of international humanitarian law, with international humanitarian law and the law of war model advocated by those who see the current “war on terror’ as an armed conflict between states and trans-national terrorists.

Given the level of secrecy and lack of transparency involved in this policy and its implementation, how can we judge the moral and legal implications of the Bush administration’s policy of ‘targeted killing’ of al-Qaeda members or other suspected terrorists. Is this policy of ‘targeted killing’ morally justifiable and legal under both US domestic and international law? Can the United States maintain international legitimacy while implementing a policy of targeted killing of suspected trans-national terrorists? This monograph examines Executive Order 12333, International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law to determine the legality of a policy of targeted killing."

I always cringe a bit when international humanitarian law is invoked since it can stand in opposition to the US Constitution, IMO and it has strong underpinnings of Socialism. Some might say Socialism defines it.

I would suggest that the US can't maintain international legitimacy without whacking trans-national terrorists who fight as civlians, respect no established law but their own, heed no borders and have never heard of the Geneva conventions, a true scourge and blight they are. I first became aware of international legitimacy when I saw a clip of Nixon's car being stoned and pelted down in S. America so many years ago. This tripe floats to the surface with each succeeding Administration though today it has strong allies with the fashion and food police.

Tom Odom
09-27-2007, 04:43 PM
This is an outstanding study of how not to do it, a real rush job from the word go. To conduct such a volatile type of operation without doing a serious branch and sequel analysis and good coordination is gross negligence.

As I alluded to, this same thing only worse happened as the Munich reprisal operations unfolded. The teams had their problems as the film "Munich" accurately captures. Where things reall went astray was in Norway (I recall) as the "B" team who were supporting the operations from the rear succesively lobbied for an operational role. They scouted a target and took the suspect out; unfortunately they had the wrong man. Instead of a Palestinian involved in the Muncih planning, they killed a waiter from North Africa and got caught doing it.

The problem with this tactic is the law of unintended consequences--also alluded to by others on here. Sometimes the "hardliner" you kill becomes a martyr or worse becomes a moderate compared to those who follow. In the case of Israel, that law has played large.

Tom

Jedburgh
01-11-2008, 12:46 AM
JFQ, 1st Qtr 08: The Role of Targeted Killing in the Campaign Against Terror (http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Press/jfq_pages/editions/i48/10.pdf)

Targeted killing is “the intentional slaying of a specific individual or group of individuals undertaken with explicit government approval” (http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/david.pdf). In recent years, targeted killing as a tactic in the ongoing campaign against terrorism has generated considerable controversy. Some commentators view it as an indispensable tool and argue for its expanded use, while others question its legality and claim that it is immoral and ultimately ineffective. The tactic of targeted killing is most closely associated with Israel’s campaign against the Second Palestinian Intifada. Since September 11, 2001, however, the United States has consistently conducted targeted killing operations against terrorist personnel.

This article examines the legality, morality, and potential efficacy of a U.S. policy of targeted killing in its campaign against transnational terror. The conclusion is that, in spite of the genuine controversy surrounding this subject, a carefully circumscribed policy of targeted killing can be a legal, moral, and effective tool in a counterterror campaign. Procedures to guide the proper implementation of a U.S. policy of targeted killing are proposed.....

SteveMetz
01-11-2008, 11:26 AM
Keep this stuff coming, guys! As I may have mentioned, I think I'm going to do a paper on "high value targeting" for the RAND Insurgency Board.

slapout9
01-11-2008, 11:57 PM
Keep this stuff coming, guys! As I may have mentioned, I think I'm going to do a paper on "high value targeting" for the RAND Insurgency Board.


Steve, I just happen to be available for consultation on this subject. My fee is some of your famous B-B-Q:D
I highly recomend "Killing Pablo" by Mark Bowden of Blackhawk Down fame. I was really surprised at the stuff that made it into the book very detailed. The first target was not Pablo but his "Lawyers":D:D:D

pcmfr
01-12-2008, 04:58 AM
Here's one from JSOU:
Hunting Leadership Targets in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorist Operations: Selected Perspectives and Experience - June 2007 (https://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU07-6turbivilleHuntingLeadershipTargets_final.pdf)

zenpundit
01-12-2008, 05:09 PM
One rationale for avoiding assassination or targeting of enemy leadership for military strikes is that it can leave the "other side" with no one who is able to "turn the machine off" in the advent of surrender. This makes perfect sense in a conventional war of limited aims; in a total war or against non-state actors it may or may not be an appropriate. It depends on whom you are dealing with and the larger strategic picture.

In WWII Japan had approximately 2 million men in its armies in China and Southeast Asia with a ferocious track record, even in engagements where the Imperial Army had taken a severe beating ( against the Soviets at Khalkin-Gol/Nomonhan and Chiang's all-out defense of Wuhan). It was feared by Allied leaders that these sizable forces would simply go down fighting even if the home islands fell. Therefore, Stimson and Marshall wisely kept the Emperor's palace off the target list for conventional bombing, starting with the Doolittle Raid, and Tokyo off the target list for the atomic bomb.

In Europe, Allied intelligence was aware of the plot to assassinate Hitler by Stauffenberg's conspirators, thanks to Allen Dulles contacts with Gisevius and the Abwehr in Switzerland, but nothing was done to encourage the plotters beyond accepting their information. In contrast, British intelligence took out the dreaded SS intelligence chief, Reinhard Heydrich, via assassination not because of his crimes or intel role but because of his very effective ( in a political sense) occupational governorship in Bohemia and Moravia.

In postwar eras, the U.S. and/or the CIA has been accused of complicity in the assassinations or deaths of Nkrumah, Ngo Dinh Diem and Salvador Allende. In each case, there were local actors with their own agendas involved in the overthrow who were beyond U.S. operational control ( and whose necks were in the noose if the coup failed). Where American control of such covert operations was direct, as against Arbenz in Guatemala and Mossadegh in Iran, no assassination actually took place. Operation Mongoose, about which much has been written, was a spectacular failure as Castro's continued existence in elderly dotage attests

Jedburgh
06-12-2009, 11:46 AM
Keep this stuff coming, guys! As I may have mentioned, I think I'm going to do a paper on "high value targeting" for the RAND Insurgency Board.
Steve's presentation at the USAWC National Security Seminar (http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/dnss/nss/nss.htm):

Strategic Decapitation and Counterinsurgency (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/of-interest-14.pdf)

High Value Targeting

High value targeting (HVT) holds appeal to the American public and political leaders.
Experts often contend that it doesn’t work
Truth is somewhere in between
Need a framework focused on strategic effects
Not operational and tactical requirements, legality, or morality

Ken White
06-12-2009, 05:35 PM
"HVT more effective against early stage insurgents or those with limited regenerative capability.

- - Governments unlikely to use HVT when it would be most effective."Simply because it highlights a problem that has essentially put us where we are today -- governmental dithering and failure to robustly respond to threats emboldens the attackers or others to increasingly dangerous action until massive effort is required. This invariably with more human, fiscal and political costs than would have been incurred had early, prompt and adequate action been taken.

Steve is correct -- and five prior Presidents should have known better.

Jedburgh
10-07-2009, 07:15 PM
JSOU, Sep 09: Manhunting: Counter-Network Organization for Irregular Warfare (https://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU09-7crawfordManhunting_final.pdf)

....Manhunting—the deliberate concentration of national power to find, influence, capture, or when necessary kill an individual to disrupt a human network—has emerged as a key component of operations to counter irregular warfare adversaries in lieu of traditional state-on-state conflict measures. It has arguably become a primary area of emphasis in countering terrorist and insurgent opponents.

Despite our increasing employment of manhunting, our national security establishment has not developed appropriate doctrine, dealt with challenging legal issues, nor have we organized forces and assigned clear responsibility to deploy and employ these capabilities. Were we to do so, manhunting could become an important element of our future national security policy, as highly trained teams disrupt or disintegrate human networks. Formally adopting manhunting capabilities would allow the United States to interdict threats without resorting to the expense and turbulence associated with deployment of major military formations. Manhunting capabilities could play a central role in the implementation of U.S. national security strategy in the 21st century....

Tom Odom
10-08-2009, 07:00 AM
Building a Manhunting Force for the Future
The United States has not yet established doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, or facilities needed to field a manhunting capability as a means to achieve its national security ends. Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, significant elements of our national security establishment remain polarized toward conventional, force-on-force warfare in order to combat massed mechanized military formations in a linear battle. But our adversaries have adapted, employing asymmetric capabilities to circumvent conventional capability.

Once again an author takes an element of the fight, builds on it, hypes it and voila! a "new concept". I don't see much here beyond that. He has no grasp of what he refers to dismissively as conventional in the interest of hyping what he considers special.

Tom

Odysseus
11-11-2009, 03:23 AM
Brothers, I just registered/joined this forum, as this topic's of great interest to me, and I stumbled onto it this evening. I see some are contemplating a paper on the topic. Check out the following Wikipedia site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhunt_(military) -- lots of source material on targeted killing/HVT ops/manhunting/F3EA gathered in one place, with links where available. Think you'll find the sources and references most useful in this discussion. Also recommend Bill Roggio's "The Long War Journal." Bill posts some pretty up-to-date info, and analysis of "overseas contingency operations" (to use the current vernacular) at http://www.longwarjournal.org/

Martyrdom... is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability. -- George Bernard Shaw

jmm99
11-11-2009, 05:13 AM
From time to time, targeted killings (HVTs) have been discussed here and elsewhere. So far as current operations are concerned, the topic is an OpSec mantrap. I've looked at it generally from a legal standpoint. Basically, legality comes down to whether the Laws of War apply and the HVT can be considered a combatant of a power in an armed conflict (kill anytime, anyplace); or whether some form of Law Enforcement rules apply.

I somehow missed downloading the 2009 Crawford JSOU article (http://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU09-7crawfordManhunting_final.pdf) which Ted posted a month ago - so thanks for the Wiki link reminder. Another decent JSOU article is 2007 Turbiville, JSOU Report 07-6 Hunting Leadership Targets (http://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU07-6turbivilleHuntingLeadershipTargets_final.pdf), linked above a couple of years ago.

OccamsRazor
12-28-2009, 03:35 PM
IISS wrote a considerably interesting article (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a915362559~db=all) concerning targeted killing in Pakistan. They focused on how the Obama administration is maintaining the practice (there were 36 unmanned aerial vehicle attacks in 2008, and 20 in the first 8 months of 2009), and that the administration is using it as a significant element of their way forward - "Bureaucratically, the Obama administration has already set the table for adopting this strategy: for FY 2010, it has requested $79.7 million for Hellfire missiles and $489,4m for 34 Reapers, nearly doubling the 2009 number."

The most interesting part of the article, although it didn't frame it as such, is its application to just war theory and international humanitarian law.

"On this issue, the laws of armed conflict broadly apply, and they require that the use of military force be necessary, as a matter of self-defense, to eliminate a genuine threat and that it be reasonably proportionate to that threat."

As such, it is possible that targeted killing, coupled with the amount of civilian collateral damage that typically follows a strike, might be politically counter-productive, especially since Obama has heavily emphasized has he prefers law enforcement and due process as tools to combat radical Islam, vice military force. Reaching into Pakistani outlands for a strike is one thing, but if strikes reach deeper into the more developed areas of the country (where there is greater culture of safety and governmental protection, and also a higher risk of civilian casualties) there will be a Pakistani outrage of a directly greater proportion. Protests of the United States violating the sovereignty of another nuclear power would seem inevitable.

The flip side, I think, is that Article 4 of the Geneva Convention essentially says that using civilians as a shield (the prevalent reason for collateral damage resulting from targeted killing) cannot immunize legitimate military targets from attacks, which gives the administration some breathing room.

The conclusion of the article is the the Obama administration should take steps to legitimize (by providing transparent procedural oversight) the targeted killing process, as a pre-emptive move to preclude vast international disapproval (perhaps a Gitmo like situation).

Great discussion and information in this thread - I'm looking to write a paper in this area as well.

jmm99
12-28-2009, 08:14 PM
You could write a book on this quagmire - targeted killiing of HVTs - because whatever doctrine is evolved cuts across so many areas. Also, so far as current operations are concerned, we would create an OpSec mantrap by delving into them on a public forum.

We could deal with them on a futuristic basis, using open-source examples and existing legal decisions as our cannon fodder for whatever doctrines might be devloped.

Like all applications (e.g., ROEs, RUFs, etc.) of the Laws of Armed Conflict, we have three inputs:

1. Political (including Diplomatic) Considerations.

2. Military Operational Considerations.

3. Legal Considerations (which as much as possible should be driven by the political and military considerations - IMO).

In the area of Transnational Violent Non-State Actors (TVNSAs), e.g., AQ, we have to deal with classification of those who may be hit by the targeted strike - in LOAC terms, definition, distinction, and the concomitant concepts of military need and proportionality. The basic classifications:

1. TVNSA combatants.

2. TVNSA non-combatants.

3. Civilians (not TVNSA).

All of this is merely a subtopic of the more general class of "irregular combatants", their supporting infrastructures and auxilliaries, and the poor ba$tards among whom the "irregulars" hide. Cf., Phoenix program in Vietnam.

Geographic location of the target also enters into the picture:

1. Target within the international boundaries of the Attacking Nation (some interesting questions if a TVNSA combatant is inside the US).

2. Target within territory occupied by the AN.

3. Target within nation where AN is present under SOFA, FID, SFA, etc..

4. Target within nation which consents (overtly or covertly) to AN attack.

5. Target within nation which does not consent to AN attack (issues re: combatants using "right of passage" through a neutral nation; e.g., Laos and Cambodia during Indochina II - 1959-1975).

Further important points are whether the AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force) properly defines the TVNSA and its members; and whether there is a comprehensive legislative and executive branch schema defining and providing distinction between TVNSA combatants, TVNSA non-combatants and civilians.

Hey Bill Moore, if you happen to read this, would this be a good place to discuss more fully the "irregular combatant" in all the political, miilitary and legal aspects that should apply in the real world ?

Regards

Mike

jmm99
12-29-2009, 03:59 AM
This article primarily addresses the Political (including Diplomatic) Considerations, with lesser emphasis on the Military Considerations. It does address Legal Considerations to some extent (pp.11-14 pdf).

Here are some excerpts - the first dealing with the "lawyerly consensus":


Lawyers by consensus regard transnational terrorism as a transgression falling uneasily between the cracks of traditional criminal law and the customary law of armed conflict, and targeted killing as a punitive remedy falling just as discomfitingly between the cracks of those two legal regimes as well as international humanitarian law. For basically pragmatic and prudential reasons, they are generally willing to accept that targeted killing is not tantamount to government-sanctioned political assassination, which has run counter to US policy since 1976 (In that year President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905 barring assassination, after revelations of CIA attempts to assassinate several heads of state, notably Cuban leader Fidel Castro.[15]) They also concede the reality that full due process cannot always be afforded terrorists owing to the immediate threat some pose, and the operational impracticality of subjecting purportedly actionable intelligence to quasi-judicial review in very tight time frames.[16] But a level of indiscriminateness that claims civilian casualties at an order of magnitude higher than legitimate ones is not only dubious in ethical and humanitarian terms, but may also be politically counter-productive. On this issue, the laws of armed conflict broadly apply, and they require that the use of military force be necessary, as a matter of self-defence, to eliminate a genuine threat and that it be reasonably proportionate to that threat.

15 The prohibition has been skirted in a number of instances by means of military ‘leadership strikes’ targeting political leaders, such as the US bombing of Libya in 1986, which clearly targeted Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, and the opening salvos of the Iraq War in 2003, which were unabashedly intended to kill Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

16 See, for example, Kenneth Anderson, ‘Targeted Killing in U.S. Counterterrorism Law and Strategy’, A Working Paper on Counterterrorism and American Statutory Law, a Joint Project of the Brookings Institution, the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Hoover Institution, 11 May 2009, pp. 9-12; http://cryptome.org/kill-lawyers.pdf.

The last cited "kill-lawyers.pdf" (if literally true) would give a new, modern meaning to Shakespeare and targeted killings. ;)

The fact is that there is no lawyerly consensus. The view represented by the Eminent Jurists Panel excludes the Laws of War from application to TVNSAs. The view of some in the US (e.g., some Fox News pundits) is that the Rule of Law has no place in this arena under any circumstances. Then we have Lawyer Stevenson (JD Boston University) who seeks to meld the Laws of War and Rule of Law in an acceptable fruit salad.

Then there is my view (which is not a datapoint of one) which looks at this arena as one in which concurrent jurisdictions apply in many cases. In short, the Laws of War and the Rule of Law may both apply to the same individual who is a TVNSA combatant. However, while that approach allows two options to be pursued, the courses of action differ depending on whether the military or civilian paths are followed. You can't mix the two systems without failure.

Simon-Stevenson (after some policy discussion) then point out some practical issues:


The legality of targeted killing remains hotly contested between the national governments with the standoff targeting capabilities and humanitarian lawyers who view it as an evasion of at least three legal regimes and a practice which, if endorsed by law, raises the incentive to use force rather than resort to law to a dangerous and uncivilised degree.[18] This debate will take time to resolve. But it seems safe to say now that, based on considerations of criminal law, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, and from a moral as well as a legal standpoint, the only arguably acceptable substitute for due process in the context of targeted killing is a combination of accurate intelligence, assiduous target selection that prioritises minimising civilian casualties, and technically precise targeting. Review processes have been established for both assessing the accuracy of purportedly actionable intelligence and determining the feasibility of targeting a given terrorist with a minimal probability of harming innocent civilians.[19] But the details of the procedures used and the level of scrutiny applied remain essentially secret, and certainly closely held by the US military and the CIA.[20] Moreover, these procedures are reportedly routinely disregarded in the field, where mid-level operational commanders or CIA officers sometimes order drone strikes without higher approval.[21] Finally, fears about the integrity of targeted-killing operations have arisen from disclosures that disreputable private military contractors have been hired to deploy missiles on Predators.[22]

19 See, for example, Eben Kaplan, ‘Backgrounder: Targeted Killings’, Council on Foreign Relations, March 2006, http://www.cfr.org/publication/9627/.

20 See Hina Shamsi, ‘No Longer A Debate About Targeted Killings’, CBS News, 21 July 2009, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories//2009/07/21/opinion/main5176876.shtml.

21 See David Montero, ‘Use of Drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan: Deadly, but Legal?’, Christian Science Monitor, 12 August 2009, http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0812/p99s01-duts.html; Rajiv Chandrasekaran, ‘Sole Informant Guided Decision on Afghan Strike’, Washington Post, 4 September 2009m p. A1.

22 See James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, ‘C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones’, New York Times, 20 August 2009.

Note that the authors have reached the conclusion that there is "only [one] arguably acceptable substitute for due process" - "due process" being a Rule of Law concept. The solution therefore is a collage "based on considerations of criminal law, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict."

That fruit salad becomes more apparent as we reach the conclusion of the "legal section":


Accordingly, some balance between procedural transparency and substantive secrecy ought to be achievable, and the administration should try to strike it. Greater accountability would tend to engender a more rigorous targeting-review policy and could, perforce, lead to fewer civilian casualties. American analyst Daniel Byman, looking at the Israeli experience, has outlined sensible procedures for assessing the operational validity of targeting particular individuals.[24] There is no obvious reason that a review process similar to the one he has described, involving sequential consideration up the military and civilian chain of command, then a legal review by a Justice Department official, and finally a judgment by a special court modelled on the statutorily created Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, could not be systematically imposed across a wider range of target-selection criteria, including the likelihood of collateral damage.

The bolded text is sheer lunacy - it makes the micro-management of direct actions, which we have seen leading to failures, pale in comparison - "sequential consideration up the military and civilian chain of command, then a legal review by a Justice Department official, and finally a judgment by a special court."

From a legal standpoint, I would hope that a majority of SCOTUS would declare this unconstitutional cuz (1) the matters are assigned to the executive and legislative branches and outside the purview of Article III; (2) except for TVNSA combatants within the US (as defined in the Gitmo cases), the matters are beyond the territorial jurisdiction of Article III courts; and (3) the matters do not constitute a "case or controversy" and constitute advisory opinions. With some more thought, more arguments probably could be developed.

Now, from a military standpoint, could you military types tell me what is wrong with "sequential consideration up the military and civilian chain of command, then a legal review by a Justice Department official" ?

I don't like mixtures of apples and oranges, which the Simon-Stevenson article is (IMO - others may differ).

Regards

Mike

OccamsRazor
12-29-2009, 03:00 PM
Great information, and a good analysis of the article.

A couple of notes:

1. I'm only about 5 pages through the 44 of the the "kill-lawyers.pdf", but so far I highly recommend it. It talks (so far) about the narrow confines in which targeted killings operate, and how the US can protect those borders (and perhaps expand them). I think that it somewhat takes the dual jurisdiction approach, at least thus far in the analysis, as it talks about staking out a legal theory both in and outside the realms of IHL. Specifically, there's an interesting section on the role of Congress, and making targeted killing the official international stance of the United States. This leads back into the IISS article.

2. While the proposed review process (especially the role of the special court) largely eviscerates the efficacy of targeted killing (not to mention that the characteristics and limited window of targeted killing distinguish it significantly from FISA), I thought that the article made a good point about making a public case for targeted killing from the US international pulpit. Again, perhaps the review system doesn't need such onerous oversight for the appearance of legitimacy, but I think it would help if the government (namely Obama) got up there and set out the rationale for targeted killing - the need, practicality, strategic necessity, legality, and morality.

3. Your constitutional arguments are well-based. I've taken Con Law, and I'm familiar with the case or controversy requirement. With that being said, why isn't the FISA court unconstitutional on the same grounds (3)? It's certainly not adversarial, and I think it fits the textbook definition of an advisory opinion. (2) FISA jurisdiction (domestic) is fine, but (1) is unclear in respect to the FISA court. Off topic, but confusing to me none the less! Perhaps it just hasn't been challenged?

jmm99
12-29-2009, 08:42 PM
Looking at the FISA Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Co urt) and FAQs (http://w2.eff.org/Censorship/Terrorism_militias/fisa_faq.html), I notice only that its constitutionality has been upheld:


19. Is FISA really constitutional?

Lower courts have found FISA constitutional. See e.g., United States v. Duggan, 743 F.2d 59(2d Cir. 1984); United States v. Belfield, 692 F.2d 141 (D.C.Cir 1982); United States v. Nicholson, 955 F.Supp. 588 (E.D. Va. 1997).

In United States v. U.S. District Court, the Supreme Court used a two-part Fourth Amendment reasonableness test. It is doubtful whether the FISA review process satisfies the Court's first measure of the reasonableness of warrantless surveillance -- whether the citizens' interest in privacy and free expression are better served by a warrant requirement.

The second element—whether a judicially imposed law enforcement warrant requirement would "unduly frustrate the efforts of Government to protect itself"—may be more easily met in the foreign intelligence setting. But Title III has for more than 30 years required more stringent procedures for criminal investigatory wiretaps.

but haven't looked at the cases for what grounds of unconstitutionality were raised. The grounds stated in the last two quoted paragraphs deal with Fourth Amendment, not Article III, issues.

I suppose the argument could be (and it is something of a bootstrap) that issuance of warrants (a non-adversarial proceeding in itself) by Federal judges and magistrates is a judicial function going back into pre-Constituitional common law. A warrant does not necessarily develop into a criminal case; and if it does, that case is not necessarily before the judge or court that issued the warrant.

A FISA warrant may or may not lead to a criminal charge, which if brought would be before a regular Federal District court (clearly a "case or controversy" at that point). That's the best I can think of off the top of my pointy head.

A "targeted killing" court would have no historical precedent. In fact, the historical precedent (death sentence) requires a full-blown adversarial proceeding.

That is an interesting point to consider: why can we kill enemy combatants without judicial proceedings ? The answer is that traditionally enemy combatants come under the Laws of War, which allow that (subject to limitations, etc.; but imposed by the Laws of War). Concepts imposed by the Rule of Law (whether domestic or international), due process, search & seizure, coerced confessions, fruit of the poisonous tree, etc., do not apply to the Laws of War in full measure, if at all.

Envision a situation where a group of AQ irregular combatants invade the local school in your US town. One option is law enforcement rules (Rule of Law - more restrictive, but maybe a better way to go to get the kiddies out alive). Another is military engagement rules (Laws of War), which could be less restrictive, but might not be the best choice in a hostage situation. My own choice would be to go with the Laws of War, but adopt law enforcement tactics. Just because you have a hunting license, you don't have to kill everything in the forest.

OK, the hostage situation comes out fairly well (not too many kiddies killed); some bad guys down and out; some surrender. What to do with them ? I'd say there are two paths (not necessarily exclusive). The default path should be detainment as irregular combatants for the duration of the conflict - they are security risks (under the Laws of War). An optional path would be domestic criminal prosecutions (Rule of Law) - cf., Noriega.

At home tonite, I'll have to download the "kill-lawyers" article (love "kill-lawyers") and read it more thoroughly. BTW, the Simon-Stevenson article is well-written and researched; but I couldn't buy their "solution".

Regards

Mike

PS: Had to add this from the Anderson article (quick skim) cuz I like it when someone agrees with me (p.42, note 61):


61 For a tiny sample, see notes to Amos N. Guiora, Targeted Killing as Active Self Defense, 36 CASE W. RES. J. INT’L L. 319 (2004). I have not in this chapter devoted attention to Israel, although it has a far more developed jurisprudence around targeted killing than the United States. The reason is that the nature of the long-term conflict, the fact that the conflict takes place in a confined geographic space, the special role of the Israeli Supreme Court in Israeli society and other factors make me believe that the Israeli experience is actually less instructive for the United States than one might otherwise have thought. It seems to me quite inappropriate in the U.S. context to discuss judicial review of targeting killing, for example.

OccamsRazor
12-30-2009, 02:36 AM
That is an interesting point to consider: why can we kill enemy combatants without judicial proceedings ? The answer is that traditionally enemy combatants come under the Laws of War, which allow that (subject to limitations, etc.; but imposed by the Laws of War). Concepts imposed by the Rule of Law (whether domestic or international), due process, search & seizure, coerced confessions, fruit of the poisonous tree, etc., do not apply to the Laws of War in full measure, if at all.

This issue rears its head in other manners as well. Clearly, sometimes it's not as easy as simply just "choosing" what rule of law to operate under. Enemy combatants at Gitmo is the perfect example. If under the penumbra of the LOW, we find ourselves in a very different situation than we are now.

Interestingly, it's likely that some percentage of those individuals at Gitmo could have been outright killed (armed combatant, etc) under the LOW without any type of trial (suitable for capital punishment), but now have the privilege of a habeas hearing in the DC District Court under the ROL. Recently, the predominant conflict has revolved around the CSRT enemy combatant standard vs. the domestic habeas standard, but it is often forgotten that for many of the individuals, no standard whatsoever was required for immediate death (never mind imprisonment) in the initial confrontation.

Kind of makes the Erie Doctrine seem juvenile.

davidbfpo
12-30-2009, 04:33 AM
Glad to see an IISS article gets a mention here (I am a member too) and the article awaits my attention back home - thanks for the reminder to read it.

Added elsewhere: Have a look at Professor John Radsan's writings on this theme, I listened to him applying these issues to the use of drones a few months ago. Bio: http://www.wmitchell.edu/academics/faculty/radsan.asp and this abstract: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.c...t_id=1349357##

John Radsan has an interesting past, notably being a lawyer at the CIA, so IMHO adds to the value and insight provided.

Killing HVT or allegations of this occurred several times during the Northern Ireland 'Troubles', a taster is provided by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoot-to-kill_policy_in_Northern_Ireland or just search on John Stalker, an English senior police officer who tried to investigate one allegation and his career ended. The allegations are still "alive" (no pun intended) as indicated by BBC reports.

Bill Moore
12-30-2009, 04:45 AM
Mike,

Interesting posts, which unfortunately give me this nightmarish vision of a bunch of a lawyers sitting around a very nice wooden table in a room with a high ceiling, large windows with a nice view and an overall classically designed room that gives an air of sosphistication, debating the legal issues concerning our transnational irregular foes. Of course at the same time in ghettos, deserts, mountains and jungles around the world our military, lawmen and covert operatives are out in the field risking their lives to prevent another attack on America with one or both hands tied behind their backs by the lawyers that do not recognize the reality of the threat today.

We obviously have findings that allow us to conduct targeted killings as demonstrated numerous times in Pakistan and elsewhere (Somalia for one example). I think targeted killings should be pursued more aggressively, but more covertly and surgical when possible. The weapon of choice shouldn't automatically be a UAV with a hellfire missile in most cases due to the fact that innocent civilians are killed, and in most cases it is not acceptable morally or politically. Yet this is one of many examples where desire (a surgical kill) bumps up against reality. Intelligence on many targets is fleeting, you have to act fast (no time for long philosophical discussions), so one way you can get there quickly in hostile territory is to fly a UAV over, get a lock in on your targeted site and launch. Frequently effective, but one can only hope there is adult leadership in the kill chain of command. Preferably an operator with ground experience that understands what death is, what it looks like and the repercussions, versus an air force officer who hasn't ever been closer to a battlefied than being 10,000 feet above it, and his/her metric for success is simply dropping a bomb on the right spot without considering the effects on people or the overall operation.

We inutatively know that we can't allow wingnuts to have a safehaven, especially one we created with our own laws. In the end the government must remain legitimate to its people, and if they don't take all necessary measures to protect their people they'll be removed. Governments are obligated to conduct targeted killings. Of course the left leaning media will oppose these attacks, and pundits will discuss for hours on radio and T.V. how these activities undermine our society by giving government too much power, but the tone conversation would change very quickly if that kid was successful in destroying our commerial airline on Christmas and slaughtering over 200 civilians from many countries. Why didn't the government prevent it?

Bill Moore
12-30-2009, 04:48 AM
OccamsRazor welcome to the SWJ Council, I think you'll enjoy many of the interesting discussions here. I especially enjoy frustrating lawyers :D

jmm99
12-30-2009, 06:43 AM
This question follows from this:


from OR
Interestingly, it's likely that some percentage of those individuals at Gitmo could have been outright killed (armed combatant, etc) under the LOW without any type of trial (suitable for capital punishment), but now have the privilege of a habeas hearing in the DC District Court under the ROL. Recently, the predominant conflict has revolved around the CSRT enemy combatant standard vs. the domestic habeas standard, but it is often forgotten that for many of the individuals, no standard whatsoever was required for immediate death (never mind imprisonment) in the initial confrontation.

Factually, the Hamdan case is an example - two bad guys KIA; two captured (one being Hamdan, the driver of the second vehicle).

Prior to the Hamdan trial, Keith Allred (CAPT, USN) filed two opinions which bear on the ultimate question posed - why are habeas proceedings required at all ? Judge Allred's opinions of 17 & 19 Dec 2007 are reported and linked at Hamdan, UBL's driver (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=51473&postcount=47). In July 2008, the detainee's attorney appeared before Judge Robertson of the DC Circuit to stay Hamdan's MCA trial. Judge Robertson denied the stay; and no appeal was taken (Hamdan & al-Marri Updates (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=52465&postcount=48)).

Here are key facts found by Judge Allred in his 19 Dec 2007 opinion:

1009

To this, add the findings that Hamdan was a sworn member of AQ, and UBL's driver and bodyguard.

Based primarily on the roadblock incident, Judge Allred found that, by a preponderence of the evidence, Hamdan was an "alien unlawful enemy combatant" under the MCA and was not a "lawful combatant" under either the MCA or GC III (GPW). One might ask why Judge Allred found it necessary to hold a merits hearing in Dec 2007 well before trial; to take proofs essentially the same as have been taken in Gitmo habeas cases; and decide the "combatant" issues using essentially the same standard of proof used in the Gitmo habeas cases. The answer lies in Judge Allred's 17 Dec 2007 opinion, allowing an "Article 5 (GPW) Status Hearing".

The GCs (accepted by the US) provide for hearings before "competent tribunals" in several instances:

1. GC III (Prisoners of War):


Art 5. The present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until their final release and repatriation.

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

2a. GC IV (Civilians - Internment)


Art. 42. The internment or placing in assigned residence of protected persons may be ordered only if the security of the Detaining Power makes it absolutely necessary.
.....
Art. 43. Any protected person who has been interned or placed in assigned residence shall be entitled to have such action reconsidered as soon as possible by an appropriate court or administrative board designated by the Detaining Power for that purpose. If the internment or placing in assigned residence is maintained, the court or administrative board shall periodically, and at least twice yearly, give consideration to his or her case, with a view to the favourable amendment of the initial decision, if circumstances permit.
.....
Art. 78. If the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security, to take safety measures concerning protected persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to internment.

Decisions regarding such assigned residence or internment shall be made according to a regular procedure to be prescribed by the Occupying Power in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention. This procedure shall include the right of appeal for the parties concerned. Appeals shall be decided with the least possible delay. In the event of the decision being upheld, it shall be subject to periodical review, if possible every six months, by a competent body set up by the said Power.

2b. GC IV (Civilians - Sentences)


Art. 71. No sentence shall be pronounced by the competent courts of the Occupying Power except after a regular trial.

Accused persons who are prosecuted by the Occupying Power shall be promptly informed, in writing, in a language which they understand, of the particulars of the charges preferred against them, and shall be brought to trial as rapidly as possible. ....

3. Common Article 3 (all GCs)


Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following
provisions:

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
...
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

In Hamdan, the detainee claimed EPW status under GC III - and hence was entitled to an Article 5 hearing.

In all of the Gitmo habeas cases so far decided, the detainees have claimed civilian status (not a combatant) with rights to hearings under GC IV, 41, 42 & 78 (some other GC IV provisions also may play) to determine that status and whether they are security risks.

The USG, on the other hand, has claimed that the Gitmo detainees are held under Common Article 3, which SCOTUS has held applicable to combatants of non-state actors not meeting the requirements of EPWs under GC III. CA 3 does not itself require a detainment hearing (it only requires a hearing before a sentencing or execution). But, a detainee can obtain a GC III, Art. 5 hearing, or a GC IV, Art. 41-78 hearing, by claiming EPW or civilian status.

In Hamdan, the USG claimed that the CSRT determinations met the GC III, Art. 5 standard. Judge Allred disagreed (pp. 1-4 of 17 Dec 2007 opinion), finding that Congress intended that the CSRT make an Article 5 determination; but that the DoD instructions did not task the CSRTs to make that determination. The bottom line was:

1010

The CSRT instructions also did not task the CSRTs with making GC IV, Art. 41-78 determinations either. So, the CSRTs were deficient for those detainees claiming civilian status as well.

In short, because the CSRTs did not apply the applicable Laws of War, the detainees could claim that their status had not been properly determined. So, the DC judges had to do what the CSRTs were not tasked to do. That is the short of the story of why the Rule of Law (habeas) was used to apply the Laws of War (GC III and IV required determinations).

Regards

Mike

jmm99
12-30-2009, 07:20 AM
Hi Bill,

Indeed, I also find this nightmarish:


from Bill
... a bunch of a lawyers sitting around a very nice wooden table in a room with a high ceiling, large windows with a nice view and an overall classically designed room that gives an air of sosphistication, debating the legal issues concerning our transnational irregular foes. Of course at the same time in ghettos, deserts, mountains and jungles around the world our military, lawmen and covert operatives are out in the field risking their lives to prevent another attack on America with one or both hands tied behind their backs by the lawyers that do not recognize the reality of the threat today.

but then I got to thinking about the reality which too often looks like this (changing your wording a bit):


... a bunch of a politicians sitting around a very nice wooden table in a room with a high ceiling, large windows with a nice view and an overall classically designed room that gives an air of sosphistication, debating the legal and political issues, including the impact on the upcoming election, concerning our transnational irregular foes. Of course at the same time in ghettos, deserts, mountains and jungles around the world our military, lawmen and covert operatives are out in the field risking their lives to prevent another attack on America with one or both hands tied behind their backs by the politicians that do not recognize the reality of the threat today.

and many of the politicians are also lawyers - a partial answer to your last question ("Why didn't the government prevent it?").

There are rational solutions that could be adopted by the executive and legislative branches that would fully accord with the US Laws of War, including the GCs that we accept, re: irregular combatants, targeted killings, detainees and the whole ball of wax - and will result in (1) hands not tied behind backs; and (2) the courts not being involved in the process.

Curious: without going into specifics (OpSec), have staff military lawyers been useful or not in targeting and other special operations ?

Regards - like to write more but it's too late (after 0200 here).

Mike

OccamsRazor
12-30-2009, 02:41 PM
Mike - as usual, a great analysis. A couple of things to add on:

1. Just for clarification, Boumediene v. Bush has changed the game. It held, in short, that the writ of habeas corpus extends to (1) those in held at Guantanamo Bay, and (2) a CSRT was not an adequate substitute for a true habeas hearing (even though it was modeled after Sandra Day O'Connor's suggestion in her plurality concurrence in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld). They justified the extension by stating that Guantanamo, while outside the borders of the physical sovereignty of the United States, was still under the Constitution's penumbra due to de facto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty#De_jure_and_de_facto) jurisdiction.

2. It should be noted, and this is a topic of interest to me as I currently have an article under review on this topic, that the habeas hearing these alleged enemy combatants have a right to is not the one that a U.S. civilian would get. It is far less. For example, hearsay (which makes up a majority of the government's case against the detainee) is admissible, even though it is usually prevented from entering as evidence in a typical habeas hearing (with many exceptions, of course). Secondly, the burden of proof is that "a preponderance of the evidence" must show that the detainee is an enemy combatant. In a regular court, the punishment of imprisonment would demand "beyond a reasonable doubt" (much higher than a "preponderance"). These changes were made to attempt to facilitate the use of intelligence (perfectly satisfactory for a LOW determination of guilt, but problematic when applied to ROL).

3. Why are there these differences? Because the Supreme Court said that there could be, essentially.


Felker, Swain, and Hayman stand for the proposition that the Suspension Clause does not resist innovation in the field of habeas corpus. Certain accommodations can be made to reduce the burden habeas corpus proceedings will place on the military without impermissibly diluting the protections of the writ.

As such, there is, ostensibly, room for the District Court to be flexible in its creation of the procedures and format of the habeas hearings, which hopefully allow for a reasonable deliberation. It's my argument, despite the changes in #2, that they have failed considerably, leaving the government in a lose-lose situation when prosecuting detainees. Considering the shelf life of this topic (it changes pretty rapidly), I'm considering giving up on trying to get the article published in international security journals (the process takes forever), and submitting it to SWJ, but I'm still undecided.

Bill - I'm glad to be joining the club. I come from a family of warfighters, and, while I can't claim to understand the way of life and sacrifice, I feel that I at least know what I don't know, and don't presume anything otherwise.

davidbfpo - Good to see another IISS member. Have you ever gone to any of the conferences?

davidbfpo
03-26-2010, 09:42 PM
Hat tip to Abu M: What is the value of high value targeting? A presentation by a veteran intelligence analyst Matt Frankel, on leave from his service in the intelligence community..., gave a compelling presentation on high value targeting (HVT) campaigns and their utility. His findings are; see the link:
http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/03/what-value-high-value-targeting.html#comments

Mr Frankel will be publishing more, plus slides, another time.

Sylvan
03-31-2010, 05:44 PM
But at a different time.
After the fact is the wrong time for them to get involved.
Develop guidance that is simple, flexible and legally justifiable. Issue that to DoD and then get out of the way. The key point being that the guidance is based upon Commander's discretion. The amount of force used will indicate the rank required.

the targeting of HVTs is a key component of what we are doing, but I think that it is too much of a focus for the SPECOPS community. We have guardsmen doing FID and SF (some, not all) sitting on a large FOB waiting to do a basic infantry raid.
We all talk about the huge success killing Al Zarqawi but that really didn't change the over all scope of Iraq. (Despite the DFC awarded to the pilot who dropped the bomb)
Bombing civilians co-located, night time door kicking raids, and Hellfires in the middle of Pakistan carry a lot of STRATCOM/IO risks that most of what we call "HVTs" don't warrant in my opinion.
But, that isn't my decision. It isn't DoD's decision. It is rightfully the President and his lawyers to develop the guidance BEFORE the fact. After that guidance is in place, commander's are held accountable to that guidance.
But the second guessing after the fact and incessant law-fair is failing our troops and our security.

Odysseus
04-01-2010, 02:19 AM
Great conversation/posts. Good points all around.

Don't know if you saw, but State Department legal advisor Harold Koh formally announced US legal position on targeted killings. A good recap is at http://insidejustice.com/law/index.php/intl/2010/03/26/asil_koh_drone_war_law

Pulled the summary below from the Wikipedia manhunt site:

America Formally Announces Policy

On March 26, 2010, in a speech before the American Society of International Law, Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh formally announced the United States' legal interpretation of international law with respect to targeted killing. Koh first stated that "U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war." He further explained that the United States is in "an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the associated forces" and thus has the lawful right to use force "consistent with its inherent right to self-defense" under international law[45] in response to the 9/11 attacks. Under domestic law, he stated that targeted killings are authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Although he contended that these international and domestic legal grounds "continue to this day," he also provided additional justification for current U.S. actions based on continued attacks and intent by al Qaeda. He concluded that the existence of this "ongoing armed conflict" grants legal authority to the United States to protect its citizens through the use of force, including lethal force, as a matter of self-defense. Koh then addressed specific legal reasoning and standards considered by the United States "when defending itself against high-level leaders planning the attacks." He reiterated the widely accepted conceptualization of an "organized terrorist enemy" as one that does not have conventional forces. Instead, such an enemy plans and executes its attacks while hiding among civilian populations, he said. As such, "that behavior simultaneously makes the application of international law more difficult and more critical for the protection of innocent civilians." Koh identified three elements related to situational considerations that the United States uses when determining whether a specific targeted drone killing at a particular location will occur:

* Imminence of the threat
* Sovereignty of other States involved
* Willingness and ability of those States to suppress the threat the target poses

Koh stated that the "rules" of targeting operations used by the United States are consistent with principles under the laws of war. He cited two well-known principles that govern the State's use of force during an armed conflict: distinction and proportionality. These principles are designed to protect civilians once armed conflict has begun. They are recognized under customary international law as part of Jus in Bello (conduct during war).

* Distinction: Requires that attacks be limited to military objectives and that civilians or civilian objects shall not be the object of the attack.
* Proportionality: Prohibits attacks that may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, that would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

Koh said that the United States adheres to these standards and that the United States takes great care in the "planning and execution to ensure that only legitimate objectives are targeted and that collateral damage is kept to a minimum

Thought this might interest you. There's some more debate/discourse on the issue at the original "Inside Justice" site, FYI.

jmm99
04-03-2010, 01:53 AM
A timely response from the Obama Administration (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=95582&postcount=66), with a link back to this thread.

Cheers

Mike

jmm99
04-08-2010, 02:29 AM
Judging from tonite's MSNBC Countdown, the following, Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/06/AR2010040604121_pf.html) (Wash Post), will generate much adverse comment from those opposed to use of armed conflict rules vs "terrorists".

From the WP article:


By Greg Miller
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 7, 2010; A08

A Muslim cleric tied to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner has become the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Anwar al-Aulaqi, who resides in Yemen, was previously placed on a target list maintained by the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command and has survived at least one strike carried out by Yemeni forces with U.S. assistance against a gathering of suspected al-Qaeda operatives.

Because he is a U.S. citizen, adding Aulaqi to the CIA list required special approval from the White House, officials said. The move means that Aulaqi would be considered a legitimate target not only for a military strike carried out by U.S. and Yemeni forces, but also for lethal CIA operations. ... (more in article).....

This ties in nicely with Harold Koh's remarks. However, if the Obama Administration follows previous decisions, someone will soon announce some other change which will be viewed by different folks as being "soft" on "terrorists".

Regards

Mike

OccamsRazor
06-18-2010, 04:10 PM
Mike -

I just finished a paper for my Law of War class that essentially looks at the different interpretations of AP I from Just War Theory perspective.

It might make good material to start a fire with if you want to take a look. Let me know.

Bill

jmm99
06-18-2010, 06:50 PM
O'Razor,

PM mit address sent.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
12-06-2010, 10:50 PM
An article on this theme appeared in the new E-journal Infinity Journal (weblink: http://www.infinityjournal.com/ ) and has been furthered by a commentary on Kings of War by David Betz:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2010/12/assassination-station-hows-your-nation/

David Betz's opening:
In their Infinity paper Wilf and Adam are refreshingly direct, ‘TK requires skill and a strict adherence to the fundamentals of “doing good strategy”, which is why the issue of “protecting the population”, even making friends with militants, which seems to have taken precedence over breaking the enemy’s will to fight, is so counter-productive to military operations in a number of theatres of war'…

Yes, the cited Wilf is our very own Wilf.

jmm99
12-09-2010, 07:48 PM
Most of Judge John Bates' 83 page opinion (http://www.lawfareblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Al-Aulaqi-Decision-Granting-Motion-to-Dismiss-120710.pdf) dealt with the question of whether Al-Auloqi's father (the actual plaintiff in the case) had "standing" to bring the action to enjoin Auloqi's targeted killing. The question of "standing" (and its absence in this case) has little application outside of the facts in this particular case.

However, Judge Bates did decide the "political question" issue (pp.65-80) adversely to Auloqi. The rationale of that decision goes beyond the Auloqi case and puts paid to judicial review of most questions dealing with enemy combatants - beyond basic habeas review of some detainees (at pp.78-80):


To be sure, this Court recognizes the somewhat unsettling nature of its conclusion -- that there are circumstances in which the Executive's unilateral decision to kill a U.S. citizen overseas is "constitutionally committed to the political branches" and judicially unreviewable. But this case squarely presents such a circumstance. The political question doctrine requires courts to engage in a fact-specific analysis of the "particular question" posed by a specific case, see El-Shifa, 607 F.3d at 841 (quoting Baker, 369 U.S. at 211), and the doctrine does not contain any "carve-out" for cases involving the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. While it may be true that "the political question doctrine wanes" where the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens are at stake, Abu Ali, 350 F. Supp. at 64, it does not become inapposite. Indeed, in one of the only two cases since Baker v. Carr in which the Supreme Court has dismissed a case on political question grounds, the plaintiffs were U.S. citizens alleging violations of their constitutional rights. See Gilligan v. Morgan, 413 U.S. 1, 3 (1973).

In Gilligan, students at Kent State University brought suit in the wake of the "Kent State massacre," seeking declaratory and injunctive relief that would prohibit the Ohio Governor from "prematurely ordering National Guard troops to duty in civil disorders" and "restrain leaders of the National Guard from future violation of the students' constitutional rights." Id. According to the Court, the plaintiffs were, in essence, asking for "initial judicial review and continuing surveillance by a federal court over the training, weaponry, and orders of the Guard." Id. at 6. Dismissing the plaintiffs' claims as presenting non-justiciable political questions, the Court noted that "[i]t would be difficult to think of a clearer example of the type of governmental action that was intended by the Constitution to be left to the political branches." Id. at 10. As the Court explained, the Judiciary lacks the "competence" to take "complex subtle, and professional decisions as to the composition, training, equipping, and control of a military force," and "[t]he ultimate responsibility for these decisions is appropriately vested in branches of the government which are periodically subject to electoral accountability." Id.

So, too, does the Constitution place responsibility for the military decisions at issue in this case "in the hands of those who are best positioned and most politically accountable for making them." Hamdi, 542 U.S. at 531; see also Oetjen v. Cent. Leather Co., 246 U.S. 297, 302 (1918) (explaining that "[t]he conduct of the foreign relations of our government is committed by the Constitution to the executive and legislative - 'the political' - departments of the government, and the propriety of what may be done in the exercise of this power is not subject to judicial inquiry or decision"). "Judges, deficient in military knowledge . . . and sitting thousands of miles away from the field of action, cannot reasonably or appropriately determine" if a specific military operation is necessary or wise. DaCosta, 471 F.2d at 1155. Whether the alleged "terrorist activities" of an individual so threaten the national security of the United States as to warrant that military action be taken against that individual is a "political judgment[]. . . [which] belong[s] in the domain of political power not subject to judicial intrusion or inquiry." El-Shifa, 607 F.3d at 843 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Contrary to plaintiff's assertion, in holding that the political question doctrine bars plaintiff's claims, this Court does not hold that the Executive possesses "unreviewable authority to order the assassination of any American whom he labels an enemy of the state." See Mot. Hr'g Tr. 118:1-2. Rather, the Court only concludes that it lacks the capacity to determine whether a specific individual in hiding overseas, whom the Director of National Intelligence has stated is an "operational" member of AQAP, see Clapper Decl. ¶ 15, presents such a threat to national security that the United States may authorize the use of lethal force against him. This Court readily acknowledges that it is a "drastic measure" for the United States to employ lethal force against one of its own citizens abroad, even if that citizen is currently playing an operational role in a "terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Saudi, Korean, Yemeni, and U.S. targets since January 2009," id. ¶ 13. But as the D.C. Circuit explained in Schneider, a determination as to whether "drastic measures should be taen in matters of foreign policy and national security is not the stuff of adjudication, but of policymaking." 412 F.3d at 197. Because decision-making in the realm of military and foreign affairs is textually committed to the political branches, and because courts are functionally ill-equipped to make the types of complex policy judgments that would be required to adjudicate the merits of plaintiff's claims, the Court finds that the political question doctrine bars judicial resolution of this case.

This result is not a surprise to me.

Lawfare has a number of entries commenting on the Auloqi decision:

Al Aulaqi – Judge Bates Grants Government’s Dismissal Motion (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2010/12/al-aulaqi-judge-bates-grants-governments-dismissal-motion/), Tuesday, December 7, 2010, by Larkin Reynolds.

Initial Thought on Al Aulaqi and the Press (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2010/12/initial-thought-on-al-aulaqi-and-the-press/), Tuesday, December 7, 2010, by Benjamin Wittes.

Outline of the Al-Aulaqi Opinion for Those in a Rush… (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2010/12/outline-of-the-al-aulaqi-opinion-for-those-in-a-rush/), Tuesday, December 7, 2010, by Robert Chesney.

What ACLU and CCR Won in al-Aulaqi (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2010/12/what-aclu-and-ccr-won-in-al-aulaqi/), Tuesday, December 7, 2010, by Jack Goldsmith.

Some Thoughts on Judge Bates’ Decision (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2010/12/some-thoughts-on-judge-bates-decision/), Wednesday, December 8, 2010, by Benjamin Wittes.

Human Rights Watch, 7 Dec 2010 Letter to Pres. Obama (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/12/07/letter-obama-targeted-killings).

John Bates is a Vietnam vet (1968-1971; one tour in country) - Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Bates).

Regards

Mike

jmm99
12-11-2010, 03:45 AM
I have to take issue with a collateral point asserted by Wilf in his "targeted killings" article in the Infinity Journal (linked by David above).

Wilf's assertion:


p.13 pdf

For example, it can be shown that it is a mistake to refer to a “policy of targeted killings”, as policy refers to ultimate political objectives, not a particular tactic (e.g. killing).

That assertion is not borne out when one looks at state practice and the terminology used by policy types, where "targeted killings" (or forbidding them) are expressly considered a matter of national policy. Here are examples from Israel, Russia and the US.

As Israeli Policy - Evidence

First, look to the title of the 2005 Zussman article (one of Wilf's footnotes) - Targeted Killings: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Counterterrorism Policy, by Asaf Zussman & Noam Zussman, Discussion Paper No. 2005.02, January 2005. The "policy" terminology is used more than a dozen times in the article's body.

And second, look to a more definitive source - the Israeli Supreme court, quoting the Israeli government - in the 2005 Targeted Killings Case (http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/02/690/007/a34/02007690.a34.pdf):


HCJ 769/02: The Public Committee against Torture in Israel & Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment v. The Government of Israel, The Prime Minister of Israel, The Minister of Defense, The Israel Defense Forces, The Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces & Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center and 24 others; The Supreme Court Sitting as the High Court of Justice [December 11 2005]
......
2. In its war against terrorism, the State of Israel employs various means. As part of the security activity intended to confront the terrorist attacks, the State employs what it calls "the policy of targeted frustration" of terrorism. Under this policy, the security forces act in order to kill members of terrorist organizations involved in the planning, launching, or execution of terrorist attacks against Israel. During the second intifada, such preventative strikes have been performed across Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. According to the data relayed by petitioners, since the commencement of these acts, and up until the end of 2005, close to three hundred members of terrorist organizations have been killed by them. More than thirty targeted killing attempts have failed. Approximately one hundred and fifty civilians who were proximate to the location of the targeted persons have been killed during those acts. Hundreds of others have been wounded. The policy of targeted killings is the focus of this petition.

The body has over 40 references to that "policy".

As Russian Policy - Evidence

2007 Turbiville, Hunting Leadership Targets (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2007/0706_jsou-report-07-6.pdf) (JSOU).pdf (p.14-15 pdf):


Shamil Basayev - the most notorious, effective, and hunted Chechen insurgent and terrorist leader in the Caucasus - died in a large roadside explosion in Igushetia, a 10 July 2006 event that Russia quickly claimed as a “special operations” success.[1] The last public communiqué that Basayev is known to have written appeared just the day before he died. It was issued to express his Caucasus jihadists’ gratitude to Iraqi mujahideen for their elimination of five “Russian diplomats” and “spies” ambushed in Baghdad on 3 June 2006. Basayev noted that the deaths were fitting revenge for the February 2004 assassination of former Chechen President, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, by Russian Foreign Security Service agents in Doha, Qatar. [2] A likely contributing factor was the Chechen earnest request to the Arab/Iraqi guerrillas for this action. Further illustration of common Chechen-Iraqi insurgent interests were Iraqi militant demands that Russia withdraw from Chechnya.[3]


(footnotes 1-3 omitted)

One of the Russian diplomats in Iraq was killed on the spot, with the other four kidnapped and executed later that month by the Iraqi “Mujahideen Shura Council.” [4] The Shura Council, which videotaped the event, purports to be an umbrella organization for a number of guerrilla groups-for example, “Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers (Iraq).” At the time, Al Qaeda was led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the priority terrorist target of U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). Being Iraq’s most prominent and murderous insurgent, he was killed in a U.S. operation on 8 June, just days after the Russians were kidnapped.[5]


(footnotes 4-5 omitted)

Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted with seeming decisiveness to the murder of the diplomats in Iraq.[6] He requested and received the authority - “unanimously, unconditionally, and limitlessly” - from the Russian Parliament to deploy military and security service/special operations personnel abroad to identify and hunt down terrorists who harmed Russian citizens and to attack their bases.[7] He specifically ordered the personnel “to find and eliminate the terrorists” responsible for the abduction and murders.[8] Not long thereafter on 20 July, Putin appeared on Russian television to personally decorate the unseen (by cameras) and unnamed Russian special operators credited with Basayev’s elimination.[9]


6. Putin chose to publicly announce his intentions to seek out the militants involved - and call for help in identifying the murders - at a 28 June 2006 meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister in Moscow. See Francesca Mereu and Simon Saradzhyan, “Putin.”

7. See three references:

a. “Russia to Fight Terror Worldwide,” 5 July 2006, available from http://kommersant.com/page.asp?id=687758 (accessed May 2007)

b. “Troops Abroad,” 8 July 2006, available from http://kommersant.com/page.asp?id=688676 (accessed May 2007)

c. Ivan Preobrazhenskiy: “President’s Military Right,” Politkom.ru, 8 July 2006, translated in CEP20060711035001.

8. Putin’s intentions were called “absolutely moral and legal from a logical point of view,” by the First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, Oleg Morozov, and widely reported in the Russian media. For example, see ITAR-TASS, 4 July 2006, translated in CEP20060704950089.

9. The 20 July 2006 award ceremony was noted in various media, including Tatyana Aleksandrova and Mikhail Antonov, presenters, “Vesti,” Rossiya TV, 20 July 2006, translated in CEP20060720950276.

The bottom line here was the Russian government's expression of its "targeted killings" policy via the Duma's act and Putin's executive order.

As US Policy - Evidence

US express national policy forbids "assassination" (EO 12333), but there are exceptions summarized in this famous (to JAG types), MEMORANDUM ON EXECUTIVE ORDER 12333 AND ASSASSINATION, Colonel W. Hays Parks, USMCR (Ret.) (attached as pdf):


In a Memorandum of Law originally dated November 2, 1989, W. Hays Parks, Special Assistant for Law of War Matters to The Judge Advocate General of the Army, examined national and international legal interpretations of assassination in order to provide guidance in revising a U.S. Army Law of War Manual. The memo is not a statement of policy, but rather a discussion of the definition of assassination and legal issues to consider in its application, including levels of conflict and the distinction between assassination in wartime and peacetime. It explores the meaning and possible application of assassination - which is prohibited as a matter of national policy by Executive Order 12333 - in conventional, counterinsurgency, and counter-terrorist operations. The memo concludes that the use of military force against legitimate targets that threaten U.S. citizens or national security as determined by the President does not constitute assassination and would therefore not be prohibited by Executive Order 12333 or by international law.

The memo was promulgated in 1989 and is reproduced here to enhance the discussion, still relevant 14 years later, about the legal implications of a policy of targeted killings.

Exceptions to EO 12333 require Presidential findings, etc. (a "policy statement" by any definition I know).

Note that deadly force, as used in the various contexts allowed under COL Parks' arguments, goes well beyond the US domestic law limits (for LEOs) established in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), and Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).

A generalized reason for requiring express adoption of "targeted killings" as a national policy is that the military is not usually authorized constitutionally to act in these gray areas without express authority from the political branches. Even Putin found it necessary to pick up cover from the Duma.

Wilf, I can't see why a military type would reject an express national policy cover. As a civvy type, I would surely want an express EO as an exception to EO 12333 before sending out the drones to kill someone. Enlighten me.

Regards

Mike

William F. Owen
12-11-2010, 09:41 AM
That assertion is not borne out when one looks at state practice and the terminology used by policy types, where "targeted killings" (or forbidding them) are expressly considered a matter of national policy. Here are examples from Israel, Russia and the US.

You have to differentiate between how the term is used and what it actually means. Ends, Ways and Means. Targeted killings are the Ways, not the Means, so clearly they are not Policy. A verb cannot be a policy. It has to be a condition. Killing is action. It sets forth the policy by a variety of tactics. The strategy has to be viable within tactics, not the Policy.

There may be a "policy of authorisation," but that does not make it a Policy. What they really mean is that they will allow its use in pursuit of the Political Goal = the Policy. That Israel, Russia and the US cannot write English well or use it correctly is part of the problem. :eek:

Also credit needs to give to Adam Stahl for this article, far more than me. His research on Israeli Targeted killings is world class.

slapout9
12-11-2010, 01:30 PM
Also credit needs to give to Adam Stahl for this article, far more than me. His research on Israeli Targeted killings is world class.

Yes, but America is very good at it when we decide to do it, read Killing Pablo. But like I have been saying Strategy IS Targeting!

jmm99
12-11-2010, 08:00 PM
I'll stick with the term "policy of targeted killing" - and line up with those English-deficient Israelis, Russians and USAians. :)

E.g., Steven R. David, “Fatal Choices: Israel’s Policy of Targeted Killing (http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/david.pdf).” The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies: Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 51 (September 2002): p.2:


Targeted Killing: the intentional slaying of a specific individual or group of individuals undertaken with explicit governmental approval.

In any event, best wishes for your journal.

Regards

Mike

William F. Owen
12-11-2010, 08:30 PM
So let me break this down. Is "targeted killing"

a.) A policy = Political end state.
b.) A strategy = the use of force for political objectives.
c.) A tactic = means of fighting

Clearly, it's not a policy and it's not a tactic.

jmm99
12-11-2010, 09:33 PM
"a" and "c" - by your fiat, we really have nothing to discuss or "break down", do we.

Hint: "killing" is a present participle, which can have meanings (pl.) as part of a noun phrase and as part of a verbal phrase.

Bonne Chance

Mike

Ken White
12-12-2010, 01:58 AM
So let me break this down. Is "targeted killing"

a.) A policy = Political end state.
b.) A strategy = the use of force for political objectives.
c.) A tactic = means of fighting

Clearly, it's not a policy and it's not a tactic.Seems to me it can be the policy of a nation to use or not to use targeted killing as you said -- that makes it a noun phrase (I made that up...).

It can be a strategy followed by a nation to achieve specific results or actions / counteractions that will possibly lead to certain results.

That it can be a tactic arrive at a strategic goal or simply to achieve tactical advantage.

So I don't see how you can discount a. and c. :confused:

We are indeed separated by a common language...:D

jmm99
12-12-2010, 07:08 AM
the following three phrases:

"policy of targeted killing" - 74,900 hits

"strategy of targeted killing" - 45 hits

"tactic of targeted killing" - 68 hits

My personal two cents worth (for what it is worth) is that "targeted killing" (which ain't new) is a different enough form of warfare to have its own "grammer"; and that, moreover, it cuts across the DIME instruments of power (and whatever more letters you want to add) horizontally and runs vertically down from the highest national command authority to the guy or gal who pulls the trigger or pushes the button.

I don't exclude the use of the two lesser phrases (strategy and tactics). For example, the decision making targeting process does have its own features, as illustrated by Amos N. Guiora, License to Kill (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/07/13/licence_to_kill?page=full), 13 Jul 2009, Foreign Policy (another user of the term "policy": "Israel instituted its targeted killing policy in large part in response to Palestinian suicide-bombing attacks"):


When asked by a particular commander to authorize a targeted killing, I would ask the following factual questions:
»Who is the source?
»How reliable is the source?
»How timely is the information?
»What is the relationship between the source and the potential target?
»How precise is the information? (I was once told, for example, "he is wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans," but it was nighttime and the commander had night-vision equipment)
»When was the last time the unit conducted a nighttime ambush?
»How confident was the commander in his unit's capabilities?
»Did the commander receive the intelligence directly from the intelligence community and had he discussed the issue with a case officer?

Not all of its cases have a "Committee X" (or Barak playing a brunette followed by a strawberry blond); Guiora's example was Gaza where the area commander made the decision in individual cases at that time.

Cheers

Mike

PS: Here is an update (mostly on Israeli and US practices - they are somewhat different) from earlier this year, Gabriella Blum and Philip Heymann,Law and Policy of Targeted Killing (http://www.harvardnsj.com/2010/06/law-and-policy-of-targeted-killing/) (Harvard National Security Journal; posted on Jun 27, 2010).

William F. Owen
12-12-2010, 12:03 PM
Killing cannot be a "policy." It's like saying "bombing is a policy." Killing and or bombing are parts of a strategy. To be doable they have to be realisable in tactics.

IR uses a lot of and poorly informed language. It's not rigourous, and highly pseudo-academic.

Bob's World
12-12-2010, 12:42 PM
Hmm. Seems to me that targeted killing is a tactic. One that should be implemented within the bounds of some policy to achieve some end. If it is by a sniper against some tactical target on the battlefield, it is a tactical end. If it is by design to take out some senior or critical individual for a strategic effect, then it is strategic.

As a tactic, like counterterrorism or terrorism, it is not warfare per se, but rather may be employed in war or peace IAW a nation's policies.

Time, manner, place all contribute to any assessment of some specific killing if one is feeling compelled to place it in some specific bin.

I would recommend that the U.S. adopt a policy of targeted killings of specific individuals that they have publicly "tried" in absentia and found guilty of a capital offense. This would build my standing target list, then, like in all targeting, I would establish clear criteria for on call targets, or targets of opportunity that meet the criteria, but time urgency demands immediate engagemnt.

In conjunction with this I would drop the entire "war" label from our actions to defeat terrorism and also drop the current legal tool of naming organizations in total as "terrorist." Wars, of course, are messy and create tremendous strategic risk for major nations. As to the terrorist labeling of organizations, it simply ties our hands in how we deal with these groups, preventing many more reasonable approaches to bring them in from the cold and incorporate into effective solutions.

William F. Owen
12-12-2010, 12:56 PM
Hmm. Seems to me that targeted killing is a tactic.
There are a whole range of tactics to perform targeted killing, but you asked exactly the same question that Adam and I started with.

Rex Brynen
12-13-2010, 03:40 AM
IR uses a lot of and poorly informed language. It's not rigourous, and highly pseudo-academic.

I'm not so sure I agree--typically IR folks use terms that are understood quite clearly by other IR folks, and where there are multiple meanings ("balance of power" for example) they're discussed and dissected at length.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of "policy" is:

a : a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions to guide and determine present and future decisions
b : a high-level overall plan embracing the general goals and acceptable procedures especially of a governmental body

The term "policy" can thus subsume goals ("our policy is a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"), strategy ("our policy has been to promote direct talks"), or well-established or habitual official actions ("our policy is not to allow searches of diplomatic vehicles at checkpoints"). Most IR folks (and most policy folks) would understand it as potentially meaning all those things.

A "political end state" sounds more like a goal, or possibly an interest.

William F. Owen
12-13-2010, 07:18 AM
I'm not so sure I agree--typically IR folks use terms that are understood quite clearly by other IR folks, and where there are multiple meanings ("balance of power" for example) they're discussed and dissected at length.

OK, good points. Let me re-phrase. IR discussions on strategy are general very poor, because folks have not held to the correct use of language. :wry:

davidbfpo
01-08-2011, 10:01 PM
nearly missed this comment piece on the KoW blog:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2011/01/raffaello-pantucci-on-targeted-killings-what-are-the-alternatives/

A curious link at the end, raising a point I'd not considered before - court judgements by the 'X' Supreme Court. The comments are a reasonable read too.

davidbfpo
03-17-2012, 07:12 PM
An article to accompany a BBC radio programme this evening, by Gordon Corera, which opens with:
Can state-sponsored assassination work as a strategy? And can it ever be justified? Governments don't admit to it, but Iranian nuclear scientists know it happens - and it's not easy to distinguish assassination from the US policy of "targeted killing".

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17353379

It is a "broad brush", historical article and I'll link the radio podcast another time.

jmm99
03-17-2012, 10:43 PM
What is the UK view of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/) (BIJ) ?

Its projects re: drones, etc. are here, Covert Drone War (http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/). It will take one some time to work through the material. E.g., The Bureau's major database and linked search engines of all known CIA drone strikes in Pakistan (http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drone-data/).

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
03-18-2012, 11:55 AM
Mike,

You asked:
What is the UK view of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) ?

I have looked at the website before and to a non-media person it appears to be well funded, with a private trust's donation, based at a London university, with a mix of student and professional journalists - the later from mainstream outlets. Their aim appears to be to provide stories to the media. The subject matter varies and rarely - thankfully - appears to be PR-led.

London is awash with establishments where journalists and others mix, just like Washington DC.

davidbfpo
02-01-2013, 11:52 PM
Anne Speckhard is a psychiatrist who has looked at women suicide bombers in the past and has written this short commentary for RUSI. From a comment on Amazon.com of her book, a very swift bio:
She has interviewed over 350 terrorists, extremists, their supporters, hostages, family members and their close associates in Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Russia, Belarus, North Ossetia, Morocco, Belgium, UK, the Netherlands and France. She was responsible for the design of the psychological and Islamic challenge portions of the US Department of Defense Detainee Rehabilitation Program in 2006-7 for use with the 20,000+ security detainees held by US forces in Iraq.

She opens with:
In the last two-years, international counter-terrorism strategies have focused on decapitating terrorist leaderships. But the threat and the ideology remains. In the coming year it is important to address the psychological motivations for conducting terrorist acts.

Link:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C50EAF97A52E25/#.UQu8MR26eSo

There is a link to her book 'Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-Social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers & Martyrs' too:http://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/1935866532/ref=cm_cr_dp_syn_footer?k=Talking%20to%20Terrorist s%3A%20Understanding%20the%20Psycho-Social%20Motivations%20of%20Militant%20Jihadi%20Te rrorists%2C%20Mass%20Hostage%20Takers%2C%20Suicide %20Bombers%20%26amp%3B%20Mart&showViewpoints=1

Another time a full, proper read; so straight to her conclusion:
Continued vigilance is called for and well thought out and well-informed policies that keep in mind all four levels of the terrorist cocktail - decreasing the political grievances that fuel the existence of groups as well as shutting them down, fighting the ideology of terrorism and social support for it and addressing individual vulnerabilities are going to be ever more important to keep us safe in the coming year. Simply decapitating the leadership is not likely to be enough.

davidbfpo
12-24-2013, 07:11 PM
Copied to here from the drones thread.

On SWJ Blog, is a review of Dr. Brian Glyn William book 'Predators: The CIA’s Drone War on al Qaeda':http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/predators-the-cia%E2%80%99s-drone-war-on-al-qaeda

The first comment by a RAF officer, Keith Dear, points to an article in the journal Defence Stuies he wrote 'Beheading the Hydra? Does Killing Terrorist or Insurgent Leaders work', which is currently fully available for free: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14702436.2013.845383#.UrnPJfsXluh

Yet more to read one day, here is the author's explanation for his article:
This study measures targeted killing against its aims. Air Marshal Nickols, the UK’s former Chief of Defence Intelligence, suggests that counterinsurgent forces kill or arrest key members of insurgent groups, known as High Value Targets or Medium Value Targets (HVTs/MVTs) in order to affect a group’s capability and psychology; all the security officials interviewed for this study argued similarly. This provides a useful analytical framework. Therefore, in section 1, I examine the effect of targeted killing on a group’s capability, finding that it does make a group less capable in the short term. In section 2, I examine targeted killing’s effect on group psychology, concluding that it is unlikely to achieve the psychological effects the counterinsurgent intends. In section 3, I examine targeted killing in cultural context, finding that in pre-modern societies, such as those in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan, local culture increases the negative psychological effects of targeted killing. In section 4, I describe the nature of the evolution that targeted killing forces groups to undergo, finding consistent results across the ten conflicts studied: in the long-term it unites insurgents, and brings forward a younger, more radical leadership which makes the group more indiscriminately violent; I then explain why the dangerous effects of targeted killing have been so long ignored. In section 5, I examine the evidence against my argument. In concluding, I argue that targeted killing can be tactically effective but is strategically counterproductive. Finally, I present policy advice based on my findings.

JMA
06-26-2014, 01:02 PM
Is that even possible? I highly doubt the necessary intel for real time targeting is available.

The theory (my theory) is that you may not actually kill him (the targeted leader) but you will drive him underground and make life as intolerable for him as he has made it for his subjects.

Let me give you a very broad summary of events...

The 3-cruise missile theory.

The first missile is aimed at a strategic military target. Something like the most loyal troops like a Presidential Guard or the like. This makes the point that troops loyal to the 'target' can and will be targeted.

The second missile is aimed that the official residence of the 'target' at 24 hours notice. He won't be there when it arrives but the message will be clear.

The third missle will be reserved for a strike on the target. A reward of $1m (or more) will be promised for information on the location of the 'target' leading to a successful strike on him but probably won't be used.

As with Gadaffi and Saddam who moved a few times a day to avoid being in one place long enough to offer a target the strain becomes unbearable (as these people are used to the world revolving around them in their time and not having to keep moving out of fear for their lives). The result is that even their supporters avoid them as they do not wish to be collateral damage in the event of a strike and they themselves begin to trust no one and eventually offer a nice isolated target for a strike or a visit from a special forces team.

The result... let the target fell the fear and don't end up having many thousands of civilians killed to get at the 'target' when the message will be clearly transmitted to the one who is the cause of all the problems that there is a cruise missile with his name on it.

If the use of quid pro quo cruise missile strikes had been used (in the manner I suggested) in Syria the regime could have/ would have been put under sever pressure without having to arm the rebels (and we know hat a stupid policy that has been).

Dayuhan
06-26-2014, 11:52 PM
The theory (my theory) is that you may not actually kill him (the targeted leader) but you will drive him underground and make life as intolerable for him as he has made it for his subjects.

Let me give you a very broad summary of events...

The 3-cruise missile theory.

The first missile is aimed at a strategic military target. Something like the most loyal troops like a Presidential Guard or the like. This makes the point that troops loyal to the 'target' can and will be targeted.

The second missile is aimed that the official residence of the 'target' at 24 hours notice. He won't be there when it arrives but the message will be clear.

The third missle will be reserved for a strike on the target. A reward of $1m (or more) will be promised for information on the location of the 'target' leading to a successful strike on him but probably won't be used.

As with Gadaffi and Saddam who moved a few times a day to avoid being in one place long enough to offer a target the strain becomes unbearable (as these people are used to the world revolving around them in their time and not having to keep moving out of fear for their lives). The result is that even their supporters avoid them as they do not wish to be collateral damage in the event of a strike and they themselves begin to trust no one and eventually offer a nice isolated target for a strike or a visit from a special forces team.

The result... let the target fell the fear and don't end up having many thousands of civilians killed to get at the 'target' when the message will be clearly transmitted to the one who is the cause of all the problems that there is a cruise missile with his name on it.

If the use of quid pro quo cruise missile strikes had been used (in the manner I suggested) in Syria the regime could have/ would have been put under sever pressure without having to arm the rebels (and we know hat a stupid policy that has been).

Ok, so you've fired off your three missiles. The dictator goes underground, his army disperses. They issue a statement telling you to stick your missiles where the sun don't shine, and proceed to do more of whatever it was you objected to in the first place. Your bluff has been called. Now what do you do? Do you escalate, and (assuming you're in the awkward position of leading a democracy) face the wrath of your populace and rest of the political edifice? Do you back down? Or do you just stand there buck naked with your putz shriveling in a cold breeze?

I can't see how it's a good idea to start firing off missiles based on assumptions about how somebody else is going to react, because you don't know how they're going to react. I can't see how it's a good idea to start something you aren't willing to finish: if you don't have a viable and politically feasible plan to escalate if plan A fails, better keep your missile in your pants, because once you're in, you're in.

I agree on not arming the rebels, unless of course there is some faction that you really want to see win and that you really think can win, both contentions requiring very realistic assessment and full awareness that you might be wrong. However, just because you don't arm the rebels doesn't mean they won't get arms. They will. People make ways. If they don't get them from you, they'll get them from someone else: no shortage of actors and agendas out there. If they want to fight, they will. If the dictator falls, different factions will fight it out to fill the vacuum. These things are not ours to control, and will happen whether we like it or not.

TheCurmudgeon
06-27-2014, 02:06 AM
The theory (my theory) is that you may not actually kill him (the targeted leader) but you will drive him underground and make life as intolerable for him as he has made it for his subjects.

Let me give you a very broad summary of events...

The 3-cruise missile theory.

The first missile is aimed at a strategic military target. Something like the most loyal troops like a Presidential Guard or the like. This makes the point that troops loyal to the 'target' can and will be targeted.

The second missile is aimed that the official residence of the 'target' at 24 hours notice. He won't be there when it arrives but the message will be clear.

The third missle will be reserved for a strike on the target. A reward of $1m (or more) will be promised for information on the location of the 'target' leading to a successful strike on him but probably won't be used.

As with Gadaffi and Saddam who moved a few times a day to avoid being in one place long enough to offer a target the strain becomes unbearable (as these people are used to the world revolving around them in their time and not having to keep moving out of fear for their lives). The result is that even their supporters avoid them as they do not wish to be collateral damage in the event of a strike and they themselves begin to trust no one and eventually offer a nice isolated target for a strike or a visit from a special forces team.

The result... let the target fell the fear and don't end up having many thousands of civilians killed to get at the 'target' when the message will be clearly transmitted to the one who is the cause of all the problems that there is a cruise missile with his name on it.

If the use of quid pro quo cruise missile strikes had been used (in the manner I suggested) in Syria the regime could have/ would have been put under sever pressure without having to arm the rebels (and we know hat a stupid policy that has been).

Again, killing the target, in this case Assad, is no guarantee that the next person in line is better, or that there will even be a orderly transition of power. The result could be total anarchy. At least with Assad in power you have someone to negotiate with.

Seems to me you want to know what you are going to get next before you pull that trigger.:confused:

JMA
06-27-2014, 02:55 AM
Again, killing the target, in this case Assad, is no guarantee that the next person in line is better, or that there will even be a orderly transition of power.

Yes that is always a consideration when one considers an assassination.


The result could be total anarchy. At least with Assad in power you have someone to negotiate with. Yea, over the bodies of 160,000 civilians.

I guess you don't understand the concept I propose. No matter.


Seems to me you want to know what you are going to get next before you pull that trigger.:confused:Obviously.

You want to anticipate the consequences, intended and unintended, of all actions before proceeding.

TheCurmudgeon
07-02-2014, 11:11 PM
Yea, over the bodies of 160,000 civilians.

I guess you don't understand the concept I propose. No matter.


I think I understand it, I just think it is simplistic.This is from research (http://irps.ucsd.edu/assets/017/7167.pdf) on killing the head of terrorist organizations as a tactic, but the principal is the same.


In general, the study found that the decapitation strategy
appears to have little effect on the reduction of terrorist activity. The most notable trend from the statistical analysis was that decapitation strikes on religious terrorist groups tended to be followed by sharp increases in fatalities. This could be an important indication that decapitation strikes should be carefully considered on the basis of the type of group targeted. As this strategy is currently viewed to be effective by policy makers and is supported by public opinion, more data should be gathered in order to thoroughly study the efficacy of the tactic. The British finally gave us these types of targeted killing of IRA members in part because there was never anyone in power long enough to negotiate a final peace. Killings don't change the nature of the grievances, the reason people fight, or the dynamics of the game, it only alters the players.

I doubt that killing Assad, even if accomplished in the early days of the conflict, would have resulted in a lower death toll. It is not a solution that can bring a conflict to an end. There will have to be trials for war crime, reintegration of fighters, and a peace and reconciliation commission to bring closure to the war.

Without a massive commitment of forces from outside Syria, it will end in one of two ways. Assad, or someone like Assad (probably more brutal) wins; or the country is divided with Assad remaining in power in "South Syria" and a food fight over the north. That food fight will be just as bloody.

JMA
07-03-2014, 10:59 AM
I think I understand it, I just think it is simplistic.This is from research (http://irps.ucsd.edu/assets/017/7167.pdf) on killing the head of terrorist organizations as a tactic, but the principal is the same.

Your reference relates to: "Does Killing or Capturing its Leaders Reduce a Terrorist Group’s Activity?"

Did I ever say that it did?

Would that be the only possible reason to target insurgent leadership?

You clearly neither understand what I stated nor the wider view towards he targeting of insurgent/terrorist leadership.

Then again we see from the following study: Attacking the Leader, Missing the Mark (http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00157) where it concludes:


Ultimately, however, leadership targeting alone is not enough to effectively fight a strong and emboldened terrorist organization.Again, I would ask the author - with tears in my eyes - why she assumes that leadership targeting is the sole strategy employed to fight the organisation.


The British finally gave us these types of targeted killing of IRA members in part because there was never anyone in power long enough to negotiate a final peace. Killings don't change the nature of the grievances, the reason people fight, or the dynamics of the game, it only alters the players. I am not aware of the British policy in this regard but would assume that the legality of 'murdering' citizens of their country was a significant factor.


I doubt that killing Assad, even if accomplished in the early days of the conflict, would have resulted in a lower death toll. It is not a solution that can bring a conflict to an end. There will have to be trials for war crime, reintegration of fighters, and a peace and reconciliation commission to bring closure to the war. No, no, no. Where do you get this stuff from? Syria is not the US and they have never been concerned with what the US thought - certainly since 1971 when daddy took charge. Let us assume that the CIA was in fact a competent outfit and they had an accurate assesment of the Syrian hierarchy and the importance and value of each of the component role players. They would be in a position to identify the demise of which persons would lead/contribute to the strategic result sought by the US in Syria (taking into account any possible negative or unintended consequences).


Without a massive commitment of forces from outside Syria, it will end in one of two ways. Assad, or someone like Assad (probably more brutal) wins; or the country is divided with Assad remaining in power in "South Syria" and a food fight over the north. That food fight will be just as bloody.No...

Once again you miss the point.

The world is now faced with the outcome - 160,000 dead and massive infrastructure damage - as a result of the actions (or inaction if you prefer) over the last few years. In any such situation it is always a matter of who dies/gets killed. In this case we have seen (the majority of the) 160,000 killed being as civilians and citizens rising up against an illegitimate and brutal dictatorship. I certainly would not be outraged if the dead comprised the military and supporters of the Assad regime. Because of the carnage there must be no doubt that the need for revenge (a beast alive and well in the heart of the Arab) will have its day and this is not only as a result of the years under the brutal Assad dictatorship but in addition the 160,000 deaths in the last few years. Yes the blood will flow... and probably with some justification. Why would you want to protect the perpetrators?

Now please read this:

Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns (http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/ISEC_a_00076#.U7UL1hZRf1o)


Is killing or capturing insurgent leaders an effective tactic? Previous research on interstate war and counterterrorism has suggested that targeting enemy leaders does not work. Most studies of the efficacy of leadership decapitation, however, have relied on unsystematic evidence and poor research design. An analysis based on fresh evidence and a new research design indicates the opposite relationship and yields four key findings. First, campaigns are more likely to end quickly when counterinsurgents successfully target enemy leaders. Second, counterinsurgents who capture or kill insurgent leaders are significantly more likely to defeat insurgencies than those who fail to capture or kill such leaders. Third, the intensity of a conflict is likelier to decrease following the successful removal of an enemy leader than it is after a failed attempt. Fourth, insurgent attacks are more likely to decrease after successful leadership decapitations than after failed attempts. Additional analysis suggests that these findings are attributable to successful leadership decapitation, and that the relationship between decapitation and campaign success holds across different types of insurgencies.Thanks for the references, Mike

davidbfpo
07-03-2014, 12:26 PM
TheCurmudgeon posted:
The British finally gave us these types of targeted killing of IRA members in part because there was never anyone in power long enough to negotiate a final peace. Killings don't change the nature of the grievances, the reason people fight, or the dynamics of the game, it only alters the players.

Cited in part JMA's reply
I am not aware of the British policy in this regard but would assume that the legality of 'murdering' citizens of their country was a significant factor.

During 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland (1969-1998) there were allegations that the British security forces had a policy 'Shoot to Kill' for those handling weapons, most notably the 1987 Loughall shooting:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loughgall_Ambush and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoot_to_Kill_%281990_TV_drama%29

This is very different from the 'targeted killing of (senior) IRA members', which if anything was not pursued. Indeed my recollection is that one if not two leaders murder by Loyalists was averted by official security force action. See:http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/14/newsid_2543000/2543503.stm Although not a PIRA leader I recall this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadette_Devlin_McAliskey

I expect there was some political consideration given to a HVT decapitation option, notably after the murder of the Mountbatten family and Warrenpoint.

The Loyalist paramilitaries at various stages engaged in killing HVT and were themselves victims of PIRA HVT murders.

davidbfpo
12-05-2014, 12:20 PM
An alternative targeting strategy, written by a USAF LtC, first spotted in summary on: http://www.matthewaid.com/post/104402412681/is-the-u-s-intelligence-community-killing-the

Which cites a WaPo article:http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/04/how-al-qaeda-works-like-the-boy-scouts/

In summary:
...the best terror cells work a lot like a big nonprofit group. Like the Boy Scouts of America. From studying the scouts, he determined the best way to stop terrorists is to target their bureaucrats – not top leader...

The main article 'Boy Scouts, Bureaucracy, and Counternetwork Targeting' cannot readily be located alas, including on Hoover Institution's website.

A contemporary situation review:http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/11/destroying-isis-goes-beyond-killing-its-leadership/382548/

davidbfpo
02-15-2015, 03:27 PM
This is a UK ITV documentary:
...revealing the inside story of how the SAS and US special forces targeted and captured or killed insurgents during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.There are a number of "talking heads" John Nagl, Michael Hoh, David Kilcullen, Graeme Lamb and a former UK SAS commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Williams, who in one comment said:
Its purpose was the destruction of al-Qaeda in Iraq and it did deliver from it quite a lot of death.Link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQzQH0ZF9lI
There is a UK website, but it requires registration and a UK post code - hence use of a YouTube link.

It was interesting in places, especially the comments by Graeme Lamb and Richard Williams. David Kilcullen's closing comment was stark.

davidbfpo
03-22-2015, 04:11 PM
An opinion piece by David Ignatius, in the WaPo two weeks ago and rediscovered today. Added as it refers to two academic articles that argue the tactic is not enough:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/targeting-top-terrorists-is-not-enough/2015/03/05/8d5418f0-c35c-11e4-9ec2-b418f57a4a99_story.html?

Only the first article is openly available, the 2014 article in International Security is behind a pay wall:http://informationcollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Jordan.pdf

Bill Moore
03-22-2015, 04:43 PM
An opinion piece by David Ignatius, in the WaPo two weeks ago and rediscovered today. Added as it refers to two academic articles that argue the tactic is not enough:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/targeting-top-terrorists-is-not-enough/2015/03/05/8d5418f0-c35c-11e4-9ec2-b418f57a4a99_story.html?

Only the first article is openly available, the 2014 article in International Security is behind a pay wall:http://informationcollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Jordan.pdf

It's true when you attack a network it tends to get stronger, and it is also true that targeting is not a strategy. However, in lieu of a strategy targeting leaders was assumed to disrupt planned attacks (it has some cases) and gradually degrade an organization.

We disagree on this point, but we are at war with these global Islamists, and we can't win it by occupying Muslim countries. It is apparent that the majority of moderate Muslims are not going to rise up and defeat these groups after years of the false hope of through, by, and with. There are simply too many issues ranging from fanatic hatred, corruption, Shi'a-Sunni split (which frankly may be to our advantage) for the West to come in with its political and economic tool kit to fix. I think our track record in this regard is around zero?

We look at historical parallels and assume these movements will burn themselves out in a few years, but of course we know that is an assumption that may be proven false. The threat they pose to the international order is not exaggerated, a number of states are the verge of failure, with Yemen being the most recent case. They have no intention of limiting their attacks to Muslim nations, so based on logistics it seems logical Europe will be next, then America. We'll react in ways that will change the international order in unpredictable ways. If we ever had an opportunity to build a new international order after the Cold War that would promote a more enduring peace, it seems that opportunity is slipping away, or in the worst case has slipped away.

The bottom line is we still haven't figured out to wage strategic level war against networks. GEN McCrystal mastered the operational approach for dismantling a network in Iraq, but think of what would be required (consensus wise) to do that globally? There is little will for most countries to fight until they are facing a serious threat. We need to do better of getting to the left of bang, and not waiting until a country's survival is in peril and reacting, and reacting narrowly within a state's borders.

davidbfpo
03-22-2015, 07:39 PM
Bill,

Within the approach taken by the West (a very general phrase) and its allies against the violent jihadists there has been IMHO no over-arching, agreed strategy beyond containment. Pursuing containment for the West and some allies has been guided by reducing the level of violence and fear, so that in time political and other opportunities can be pursued.

For complex reasons our politicians have been unable to identify opportunities, so they have depended on containment, alongside decapitation (HVT), a very heavy dose of military intervention and a pathetic ideological / information response (IIR). Officialdom, here I would refer mainly to the UK government, which insisted there was a coherent working IIR. Then along came the impact of Syria first, then lately ISIS and the flow of foreign fighters which has "pricked the balloon".

Bill Moore
03-22-2015, 08:41 PM
Bill,

Within the approach taken by the West (a very general phrase) and its allies against the violent jihadists there has been IMHO no over-arching, agreed strategy beyond containment. Pursuing containment for the West and some allies has been guided by reducing the level of violence and fear, so that in time political and other opportunities can be pursued.

For complex reasons our politicians have been unable to identify opportunities, so they have depended on containment, alongside decapitation (HVT), a very heavy dose of military intervention and a pathetic ideological / information response (IIR). Officialdom, here I would refer mainly to the UK government, which insisted there was a coherent working IIR. Then along came the impact of Syria first, then lately ISIS and the flow of foreign fighters which has "pricked the balloon".

I agree we haven't figured it out, nor do I have a strategy in mind to offer that would be acceptable to our perspective liberal governments. Our counter narrative has overly focused on the false belief everyone wants to be like us if they only had the chance. We're perplexed by the growing popularity of ISIS/ISIL when we use mirror analysis. I disagree with Bob's perspective that these movements can be countered by so-called legitimate governance alone. It all comes back to legitimate to who? The thousands of Muslims being murdered in the effected areas likely don't consider these jihadists legitimate.

I do think it takes a network to defeat a network, but not in the simplistic terms this phrase is often used. I also think we need to kill and capture at a higher than we have been doing. That means treating it like the war it is, and dismissing the failed attempt to display these terrorist networks on a chart, and then fool ourselves repeatedly by stating if we only remove these two or three nodes the network will collapse. That runs against the grain of the new American way of war where we still apply effects based operations to no discernible end. We also shoot ourselves in the foot when we promote Arab Springs in countries that quite simply are not ready for democracy. The governments in place admittedly are/were terrible and oppressive, but still better than the alternative. We need to help these societies prepare for democracy (assuming the ruling regimes will allow it, but in most cases it will be viewed as subversion) over time, and in the mean time find ways to convince these governments to govern better. I know it seems like, and may be, rainbows and unicorns, but our current approach isn't working.

davidbfpo
06-06-2016, 12:43 PM
Hat tip to WoTR for this article and here is a key sentence:
The best way to defeat ISIL in the long term is to leave Abu Bakr in place – as the caliph who lost his kingdom.
Link:http://warontherocks.com/2016/06/dont-kill-the-caliph-the-islamic-state-and-the-pitfalls-of-leadership-decapitation/

One reference looks interesting, 'Attacking the Leader, Missing the Mark: Why Terrorist Groups Survive Decapitation Strikes' and I think was missed here:http://belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu/publication/24270/attacking_the_leader_missing_the_mark.html? (http://belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu/publication/24270/attacking_the_leader_missing_the_mark.html?breadcr umb=%2Fpublication%2F26575%2F5_years_after_bin_lad en)

It is 32pg PDF and is free.

davidbfpo
12-21-2018, 12:26 PM
Thread reopened.

A forthcoming book 'Targeting Top Terrorists:Understanding Leadership Removal in Counterterrorism Strategy'; the author's bio suggests it could be valuable:
Bryan C. Price is the founding executive director of the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University. During a twenty-year career as an Army officer, he served in various command and staff positions, including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2012 to 2018, he directed the Combating Terrorism Center and served as an Academy Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

From the publisher's summary:
This practice, known as leadership decapitation, is based on the logic that removing key figures will disrupt the organization and contribute to its ultimate failure. Yet many scholars have argued that targeted killings are ineffective or counterproductive, questioning whether taking out a terror network’s leaders causes more problems than it solves.

In Targeting Top Terrorists, Bryan C. Price offers a rich, data-driven examination of leadership decapitation tactics, providing theoretical and empirical explanations of the conditions under which they can be successful. Analyzing hundreds of cases of leadership turnover from over two hundred terrorist groups, Price demonstrates that although the tactic may result in short-term negative side effects, the loss of top leaders significantly reduces terror groups’ life spans.
Link:https://cup.columbia.edu/book/targeting-top-terrorists/9780231188234

davidbfpo
01-13-2019, 11:49 AM
An article that is historical and ends with a very brief mention of machines being used for killing, yes drones. The actual title is: 'Finer points of murder.
Link:https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/political-assassination-history/

davidbfpo
02-09-2019, 11:52 AM
An article from MWI @ West Point that deserves reading IMHO. Here are few key passages from near the start as a "taster":
We have mastered the art of hunting men. Refined over nearly two decades of nonstop counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and enhanced by a suite of increasingly powerful technological tools, the United States military has developed an extraordinary ability to find, fix, and finish targets worldwide.

Fast-forward to the present day: our targeting capabilities are as much science as art, with the military’s Joint Special Operations Command as the standard bearer of lethality. We can connect the dots faster than ever before, combing through data sets of staggering size and diversity, feeding a ruthlessly efficient operational process that we are executing on a global scale.


Why isn’t it working?


Considering our resources, talent, and reach, shouldn’t we have more to show for our efforts? We have proven ourselves highly effective at killing our enemies, but we have done so to limited overall effect. Why are we unable to showcase a single operational theater in which our exceptional lethal targeting prowess at the tactical level is delivering a commensurate strategic result?

(Later) Two examples will help illustrate the disconnect between the successful prosecution of targeting-based, manhunt-style campaigns and the achievement of strategic results. (The examples are Iraq & Mexico).
Link:https://mwi.usma.edu/moving-beyond-post-9-11-manhunt-translating-tactical-wins-strategic-success/

The author bio is here, what appears to be a "boutique" London-based advisory company:http://www.frontlineadvisory.com/#leadership
(http://www.frontlineadvisory.com/#leadership)
(https://mwi.usma.edu/moving-beyond-post-9-11-manhunt-translating-tactical-wins-strategic-success/)