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My Fellow Americans, We are Going to Kill You: The Legality of Targeting and Killing U.S. Citizens Abroad

44 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2012 Last revised: 1 Aug 2012

Mike Dreyfuss

Vanderbilt University Law School

Date Written: January 1, 2011

Abstract

This note examines the legality of targeting and killing U.S. citizens who are abroad. It considers the U.S. targeted killing program under the U.S. domestic and international legal regimes and it concludes that while the current program is constitutionally lacking, the practice is permissible if the target receives notice and the opportunity for a hearing.

Silent and cold. At twenty thousand feet, the temperature is minus ten degrees Fahrenheit. At almost a thousand miles per hour, sound cannot keep up. Heat and noise struggle in the turbulence. Three miles away, seven thousand miles from American soil, an American citizen driving an empty road has ten seconds to live. As a leader in an organization actively engaged in armed conflict against the United States, this American citizen has become an enemy of the United States. In response to the threat he poses to his fellow Americans, his government added him to a kill list, targeted him, and launched a military operation against him. The Hellfire finds its mark. The heat and noise catch up.

Keywords: Targeted, Killing, Citizen, Foreign, Drone, Al-Awlaki, Al-Alaqui, Alawki, Alaqi, Al-Qaeda, Notice, Hearing, JAG, Military, ACLU,Geneva, International, Assassination, Execution, Extrajudicial

Suggested Citation

Dreyfuss, Mike, My Fellow Americans, We are Going to Kill You: The Legality of Targeting and Killing U.S. Citizens Abroad (January 1, 2011). Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 65, p. 249, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2079218

Mike Dreyfuss (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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