“A trenchant summation” and analysis of the legal rationales behind the US drone policy of targeted killing of suspected terrorists, including US citizens (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
In the long response to 9/11, the US government initiated a deeply controversial policy of “targeted killing”—the extrajudicial execution of suspected terrorists and militants, typically via drones. A remarkable effort was made to legitimize this practice; one that most human rights experts agree is illegal and that the United States has historically condemned.
In The Drone Memos, civil rights lawyer Jameel Jaffer presents and assesses the legal memos and policy documents that enabled the Obama administration to put this program into action. In a lucid and provocative introduction, Jaffer, who led the ACLU legal team that secured the release of many of the documents, evaluates the drone memos in light of domestic and international law. He connects the documents’ legal abstractions to the real-world violence they allow, and makes the case that we are trading core principles of democracy and human rights for the illusion of security.
“A careful study of a secretive counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining endless, orderless war, this book is profoundly necessary.” —Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation