International Law: R.I.P. 

Reuters is reporting this morning that the Navy SEALS team “was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him.” The Volokh Conspiracy‘s Ilya Somin comments:

From an international law perspective, it’s worth noting that the operation against Bin Laden is an example of targeted killing. Although we don’t yet know very many details, it’s pretty obvious that the US targeted Bin Laden deliberately, something the President more or less admitted in his speech, where he said that we have been tracking Bin Laden for many months (presumably for the purpose of targeting him as an individual). In the past, such targeted killings have drawn criticism from human rights organizations and others who claim that they violate international law. Co-Conspirator Kenneth Anderson described the debate in this excellent article. It’s unlikely that there will be much criticism of the operation against Bin Laden. However, the broader debate over the law and morality of targeted killings is likely to continue.

The left might argue that Obama was a special, one-time, case. But then what about Muammar Gadhafi?

NATO continues to deny that they are targeting Gadhafi for assassination,but Russia is publically doubting those claims. Neither the White House, nor U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon will comment on NATO’s on the airstrikes.

If international law doesn’t apply to the U.S., does it really even exist?

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