Bin Laden and Awlaki: Lawful Targets

“Major Shane Reeves is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy and Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Marsh is an Assistant Professor and Senior Military Faculty member in the Department of Law at the United States Air Force Academy.  Prior to these assignments, both taught as Associate Professors for the International and Operational Law Department at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, VA.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the official positions of the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, or the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of either service.”

Many have challenged the legality of the 2011 United States’ operations that resulted in the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki.  Pakistan condemned the Bin Laden operation as a violation of international law; human rights advocates asserted that each man should have been captured instead of killed; and others claimed the operations were unlawful “assassinations” or, in the case of Awlaki, a

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