Targeted killings represent both the contemporary weapon of choice and, clearly, the weapon of the future. From the perspective of the nation-state, the benefits of targeted killing are clear: aggressive measures against identified targets can be carried out with minimal, if any, risk to soldiers. But while the threat to soldiers is minimal, there are other risks that must be considered. Particularly, there is a high possibility of collateral damage as well as legitimate concerns regarding how a target is defined. Clearly broad legal, moral, and operational issues are at stake when considering targeted killing. In Legitimate Target, A Criteria Based Approach to Targeted Killing, Amos Guiora proposes that targeted killing decisions must reflect consideration of four distinct elements: law, policy, morality, and operational details, thus ensuring that it complies with principles of domestic and international laws.
The author, writing from both personal experience and an academic perspective, offers important criticism and insight into the policy as presently implemented, highlighting the need for a criteria based decision making process in defining and identifying a legitimate target. Legitimate Target, A Criteria-Based Approach to Targeted Killing blends concrete examples with a nuanced study of the current targeted killing paradigm with an emphasis on the dilemmas of morality and the law.