This page considers questions about the ethics of assassination.
For an introduction to 'just war' theory see Michael Walzer's
Just and Unjust Wars, A Moral Argument with Historical
Illustrations (New York: Basic Books 2000), Oliver
O'Donovan's The Just War Revisited (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 2003) and Paul Christopher's The
Ethics of War and Peace, An Introduction to Legal and
Moral Issues (Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall 1999).
Questions of norms and international legal frameworks
are highlighted in Ward Thomas' The Ethics of Destruction:
Norms and Force in International Relations (Ithaca:
Cornell Uni Press 2001) and 'Norms and Security: The Case
of International Assassination' in 25(1) International
Security (2000) 105-133.
For ethical and practical dilemmas in contemporary Israel
see 'Assassination and Preventive Killing' by Asa Kasher
& Amos Yadlin in 25(1) SAIS Review (2005)
41-57; 'The Morality of Assassination: A Response to Gross'
by Daniel Statman in 51(4) Political Studies
(2003) 775-779; and (2003) 'If Not Combatants, Certainly
Not Civilians' by Steven David in 17(1) Ethics &
International Affairs (2003) 138-140.
The US regime is discussed in 'Executive Order 12333:
The Permissibility of an American Assassination of a Foreign
Leader' by Boyd Johnson III in 25 Cornell International
Law Journal (1992) 401-436; 'Targeted Killing and
Assassination: the U.S. Legal Framework' by Williams Banks
in 37 University of Richmond Law Review (2003)
667; 'Authorization to Kill Terrorist Leaders' by 4 Brenda
Godfrey in San Diego International Law Journal
(2003) 491; 'Assassination and the Law of Armed Conflict'
by Patricia Zengel in 134 Military Law Review
(1991) 123-156; and 2001 dissertation Theater Strategic
and Operational Level Command and Control Warfare: The
Legal, Moral, and Political Considerations of Leadership
by Jeffrey Brlecic.
Studies of particular incidents include 'The Ethics of
Brutus and Cassius' by David Sedley in 87 The Journal
of Roman Studies (1997) 41-53; Assassinating
Hitler: Ethics and Resistance in Nazi Germany (Selinsgrove:
Susquehanna Uni Press 1993) by Robert Whalen and 'The
Use of Assassination as a Tool of State Policy: South
Africa's Counter-Revolutionary Strategy 1979-1992' by
Kevin O'Brien in 10(3) Terrorism and Political Violence