Targeted Killing: A Justified Act Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

Extrajudicial killings, or targeted killings as it is sometimes called, is the “deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed ‘unlawful combatant’ (i.e., one taking a direct part in hostilities in the context of an armed conflict) who is not in that government's custody” (“Targeted Killing”, Wikipedia). For years, targeted killings have been an integral part of modern warfare and in recent times has also integrated itself into the everyday law enforcement. An example of the former would be USA’s constant use of this as a central component of its counter-terrorism operations, and a perfect example of the latter would be its utilization by Bangladesh’s elite anti-crime force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The tactic, as a whole, has been coming under the hammer for a long time. It has been condemned by human rights organizations from all over the world as a “heinous” act that robs a human of his/her most basic right – the right to live. Yet what these critics fail to notice is that extrajudicial killings must sometimes be implemented as a necessary means, especially when all else fails. The rate of crime and terrorism in the present time has increased exponentially compared to what it was even 15 to 20 years back. There are literally hundreds of cold-blooded murders, rapes and genocides occurring at the very moment that these words were written, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Hence, extrajudicial killings, or targeted killings, are morally justified in certain occasions. These occasions include self-defense on the enforcers’ part, disorganization of criminal operations, and reduction of collateral damage.
The most important argument that one can introduce in order to justify extra-judicial killings is the act of self-defense. As human beings, all law enforcers and military personnel have the right to protect their own lives (and that of the nation) when they are threatened. It is a right that is imbued into ourselves from the very moment that we begin to exist, and ends with our dying breath. Enforcers have always had the most dangerous of jobs, living under the constant threat of their lives being at stake. When one such enforcer faces a situation such as the one stated s/he is allowed by the laws of all established governments to protect himself/herself from imminent danger, and take the life of the suspect if necessary.
Of course, the act of self-defense can only be condoned if the enforcer in question has ensured that “the perceived attacker poses a clear and imminent danger to one’s vital interests and that the attacker bears responsibility for this danger” (Statman 04). The victim (which in this case, is the enforcer) must also verify that the attacker is, beyond a shadow of doubt, responsible for the crime for which s/he has been accused. Until and unless these conditions have been fulfilled, self-defense cannot be accepted as an argument for the...

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