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Executive & Military

A Legal and Operational Assessment of Israel’s Targeting Practices

Over the course of 50 days in the summer of 2014, the Israeli Defense Forces conducted a high-intensity air and ground campaign against Hamas in the Gaza strip. Sparked by the murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas militants, this short but violent conflict resulted in over 2,100 killed on the Palestinian side, as well as widespread destruction and damage to civilian infrastructure.…   continue »

Has the Gov’t Under-Charged an al-Qaeda Recruit?: The Ohio case of Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud

An important criminal charge is conspicuously absent in the Indictment of Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, who is reportedly “the first American accused of returning from Syria with directions to attack inside the United States.” Earlier this month, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Ohio accepted all three charges submitted by the government:

  • one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists (18 U.S.C.
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Three Quick Thoughts on the Drone Strike in Pakistan That Killed Two Innocent Civilians

Below are my initial thoughts on today’s tragic news that a January 2015 US “targeted killing” drone strike in Pakistan killed two innocent civilians held as hostages by al-Qaeda:

(1) Why the sudden transparency about the American and Italian civilian victims but not the many non-Western civilians killed in US operations?  continue »

The Power of Rhetoric in the Civilian-Military Divide

On April 10, Stephen Preston, General Counsel for the Defense Department, spoke at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. He ended his remarks on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in standard fashion:

We agency counsel all serve the same client, the United States of America, and each of us answers to the head of our respective agencies.

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U.S. Policy on the ICC Crime of Aggression Announced

At the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law earlier this month, Professor Michael J. Matheson of George Washington University Law School chaired a fascinating panel on the Kampala Amendments to the Statute of the International Criminal Court on the crime of aggression, which could be activated as early as 2017 at the current rate of ratifications. …   continue »