Bullets with names: the deadly dilemma
Herbert, Roger G., Jr.
Teti, Frank M.
McCormick, Gordon H.
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The United States, by executive order, has unilaterally forfeited assassination as an instrument of foreign policy. Some Americans now believe that a declared prohibition unreasonably limits U.S. capability to counter the national security threats posed by-terrorists, revolutionaries and Third World crusaders. This thesis is an examination of the national security policy dilemma which political assassination presents. Circumstances are conceivable in which utilitarian calculations would endorse assassination as the most moral application of deadly force. Yet the draconian practice of assassination as an instrument of American foreign policy seems to contradict democratic ideals. This thesis details both arguments and draws two major conclusions. First, assassination cannot support long-term U.S. policy goals or warfighting efforts. Ultimately, such methods could weaken America's global position. Second, while assassination has no place in the U.S. warfighting arsenal, the assassination ban itself has become dysfunctional and requires reevaluation.
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