Al-Awlaki Killing Links

As Steve recently noted, Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed via US drone strike in Yemen a few days ago.  Out of the commentary provoked by this action, here are a few pieces that caught my eye:

  • In the NYT, Jack Goldsmith defends the legality of the killing.
  • Kenneth Anderson at VC gives some cogent thoughts on the matter.
  • Robert Chesney comments re. Al-Awlaki’s role as an operational leader, and the inaccessibility of his location.
  • Michael Lewis comments re. the laws of war & neutrality law.
  • Benjamin Wittes addresses the issue of due process.
  • Michael Ramsey offers an originalist perspective regarding the killing.
  • Marty Lederman makes a very educated guess about the contents of the Obama administration’s legal justification for killing Osama bin Laden.  (Somewhat apropos, since both killings implicate many of the same legal issues.)
  • A more critical perspective comes from Ta-Nehishi Coates (who rounds up the views of other like-minded individuals); and from Mary Ellen O’Connell.  (Of note:  the latter scholar was only able to square OBL’s killing with her view of the law by – unpersuasively, IMHO – characterizing the Abbottabad raid as having “followed law enforcement standards.”)

Also worth noting is this article by Robert Chesney, which explains why the Al-Awlaki killing was consistent with international law.  I find his argument persuasive.

In my (tentative) view, the Al-Awlaki killing was permissible under U.S. statutory & constitutional law.  More on that at a later date (hopefully).


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