Why do the United States openly acknowledge targeted assassinations?

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The Politicus
Aug 02, 2022 10:17 AM 0 Answers
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The obvious motivation for the question is the latest news: U.S. kills al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in drone strike

Targeted assassinations are a reality of political and military life, and perhaps an unavoidable necessity when it comes to national security. Yet, in my understanding it does not square with the western values, notably as:

  • extrajudicial punishment (no due process)
  • violation of other country sovereignty
  • in some cases violence against its own citizens

There are multiple examples of such violence not being condoned by the Western world:

  • Outcry about such actions carried out on the western soil, e.g., those attributed to Russia
  • Policy of ambiguity in respect to such actions, e.g., as practiced by Israel (i.e., refusing to acknowledge them, while not denying sometimes irrefutable evidence)
  • Traditional secrecy surrounding such actions in popular culture, e.g. the secret nature of agents like James Bond
  • Scandals when such actions are uncovered, e.g. the sinking of "Rainbow warrior" by the French secret services.

In this sense, the US president openly claiming personal responsibility for a killing looks somewhat unsavory. What is the rationale for this US policy? Is it due to different understanding of "western values" in the US and elsewhere? Is there criticism of such policies from within the US?

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  • August 2, 2022