Targeted Killings: The Case of Anwar al-Awlaki

Last Updated: 27 Jul 2020
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The killing of al-Awlaki was a violation of U.S. due process procedures. Anwar al-Awlaki had US and Yemen nationality. Since the American Civil War, this has seemed to be the first time the US government has deliberately killed a US citizen as a wartime enemy without trial. The president's power is not examined.

This approach raises the question about who the next target during the president's execution will be and whether the authorities will take similar actions in the United States in the future. There may be a situation where no one knows the evidence and then the government tells everyone evidence what they want to tell.

Ben Wizner, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: "If the existence of the Constitution is valuable, it certainly means that the President has no power to be unexamined and cannot rashly execute any American citizen who he considers to be a public enemy of the country." The manslaughter occurred in this killing and violated in International Humanitarian Law.

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In the process of facing anti-terrorism, misjudgment and missed judgment are problems that cannot be solved in the forecast. The number of people killed in Pakistan due to drone attacks since 2004 has been between 2,500 and 4,000, and most of them have been classified as "extremists" by the US government. In the years that followed, thousands of innocent people in Pakistan could lead to premature death because of the misjudgment of the drone.

"Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011. Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, a 16-year-old boy born in Denver, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen on October 14, 2011, while he was eating dinner at an outdoor restaurant with his teenage cousin." 90% of the deceased are not the target of the US military, but they are all labeled by the US as "the enemy that has been killed in action."

Anyone who appears to be near the established attack site is considered "accomplice" and there is no conclusive evidence that they should be killed. However, when the US military implemented the drone assassination plan, the assassination target was not necessarily a serious threat to the United States. Most of the casualties caused by drone strikes were innocent people, which caused the US government and the Pentagon to be blamed by the outside world.

Before the fight against terrorism, the United States did not prove that there were no other non-military ways to choose from. It was more like an after-the-fact retaliation. In the process, the United States over-emphasized its own interests by slogans against terrorism, or the value is imposed on people, and the drone attacking terrorist crimes violates the sovereignty of other countries, making the contradictions even more intensified.

Secondly, the U.S. attack on drones does not conform to the principle of proportionality, and it has harmed many innocent civilians while attacking terrorism. The US military still carried out bombing missions while knowing that there were civilian houses in the area where it was attacked. When the target cannot be clearly identified, the US military will call these innocent people "the enemy of death." Therefore, the United States' dispatch of drones to the territory of other countries for military strikes against terrorism does not meet the constitutional elements of "pre-self-defense rights" and cannot be recognized as legitimate.

On November 25, 2013, in San Francisco, the demonstrators put on a drone model against Obama's use of drone to counter-terrorism policies. The use of drones had put a lot of pressure on the US government. The use of drones needed to become more rigorous in the future. The US military is trying to improve the technology of this drone. On May 2013, the White House announced a new guide to counter-terrorism operations, placing more restrictions on drone attack plans.

In a speech, Obama announced that drone operations will be strictly targeted at those who "form a sustained and powerful threat to the American people." Obama also stressed that "only when the target of the attack poses a threat to US security, the assassination can only be initiated, and it must be ensured that the assassination will not harm civilians." This incident created a new precedent in how the U.S. propagates its war on terror. The US military is making more efforts on drones to resist terrorism.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the use of drones to combat individuals has become a frequent means of US counter-terrorism operations. These targeted killings are effective in many ways. Military priority policies are expected to bring greater transparency to drone strikes and better coordinate these actions in accordance with the spirit of certain aspects of international law. Since the beginning of the 21st century, drones have rapidly developed into a new type of air power and have shown an increasingly important role in modern warfare.

The United States is the world's number one military power. It is currently at the forefront of military drone technology. However, the US military has never relaxed its exploration and development of drone technology. The research institute headed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the United States.

The industry has jointly launched a series of technical projects involving cognitive electronic countermeasures, precision fire support, coordinated navigation and bee colony-enabled operations, etc., providing technical upgrades for the US military's future military drones. Drones have made great contributions to the US military in the war on terror. UAVs are playing an increasingly important role. Being able to fight 24 hours a day, delivering real-time activity videos to control personnel and pinpointing targets, makes drones indispensable in war.

Finally, the use of drones in traditional wars, armed conflicts, or counter-terrorism operations with modern characteristics should be applied to international humanitarian law. From the perspective of international law, it is necessary to incorporate drone attacks into the normative system, giving them clear definitions and reasonable regulations, and prevent some countries from exploiting the loopholes and contradictions of international law to undermine the world order.

In international law, whether the acts involving drones against terrorists violate the relevant rules of international humanitarian law. Clearing prohibitions should be made to solve the problem of defining too general and vague. Furthermore, peace and stability in the world situation are of paramount importance. As more and more countries use drones, they can hold international conferences about drone attacks and call on relevant countries to sign international treaties.

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Targeted Killings: The Case of Anwar al-Awlaki. (2018, Aug 27). Retrieved from

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