I negate the resolution Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign
My value for this debate will be morality; Moral permissibility based on consequences
(synonymous with ethicality).
My criterion for this debate will be: preserving life.
Observation: the duty of the negative is to prove the resolution untrue; targeted killing,
being the main issue, must be proven immoral. The negative must prove killing in general
immoral to win the debate. If killing is immoral, targeted killing is immoral
Contention 1) It is immoral to kill innocents in so-called “self-defense.”
Jeffrie G. Murphy, Regents' Professor of Law & Philosophy at the Arizona State University
College of Law, The Monist, Vol. 57, No. 4 (1973).
What I suggest is the following: If one believes (as I do) that the only even remotely plausible justification for war is self-
defense, then one must in waging war confine one's hostility to those against whom one is
defending oneself, i.e., those in the (both causal and logical) chain of command or responsibility or agency, all those who
can reasonably be regarded as engaged in an attempt to destroy you. If one does not do this,
then one cannot be said merely to be defending oneself. And insofar as one is not defending
oneself, then one acts immorally in killing one's fellow human beings. The enemy can plausibly be expanded
to include all those who are "criminal" accomplices -- those who, in Judge Learned Hand's phrase, have a "stake in the venture." But it cannot be expanded to
include all those who, like farmers, merely perform actions causally necessary for the attack -- just as
in domestic law I cannot plead self-defense if I kill the one (e.g., the wife or mother) who feeds the man who
is engaged in an attempt to kill me.
This proves that if civilians are killed, it is no longer “self-defense”
Subpoint a)civilians do die in wars, making it completely immoral.
O. M. Jahagirdar, University of Virginia School of Law, July 2008, “Targeted killing, not assassination:
the legal case for the United States to kill terrorist leaders.”
Thus far, this article has argued that the US can lawfully kill those foreign leaders who have authorized attacks against the US or pose a substantial threat to US interests.
essential to explore exactly who can be killed because it is critical that any targeted killing policy not be capricious or whimsical. Being
involved in war with a state or an entity does not justify the US in killing any individual, especially
those who are in non-military roles and those who are civilians or non-combatants.111 The laws
of war would still apply. The US could not target individuals if the attack were not proportional to the attack inflicted by the US, nor could the US target
large numbers of civilians solely to kill one person. In determining whether the laws of war would apply, scholars have noted: Law-of-
war criteria for combatancy are designed to determine when a person’s association with or
activity related to a party to an armed conflict justifies subjecting that person to the
consequences of combatant status under the laws of war….Two important criteria for
membership in armed forces are self-identification through the wearing of a uniform or some
other distinguishing characteristic, and participation within the command structure of a party
to the conflict….Enemy organizations will include some individuals who assist the organization in carrying out attacks, even if they are not formal members of the organization.
They would probably include, therefore, bin Laden’s driver, who is accused of picking up and delivering weapons and ammunition to al Qaeda fighters, and of driving bin Laden and other high-
ranking al Qaeda members in protective convoys.112
This proves that civilians do die in war, making the war unjust. When targeted killing
is used, there is collateral damage.
Contention 2) Targeted killing is illegal.
Philip Alston, NYU law professor and the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings,
Human Rights Council: Fourteenth session, Agenda item 3, “Promotion and protection of all
human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to
development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions” United Nations General Assembly Report, A/HRC/14/24/Add.6, 5/28/10,
Outside its own territory (or in territory over which it lacked control) and where the situation on the ground did not rise to the level of armed conflict in which IHL would apply, a
State could theoretically seek to justify the use of drones by invoking the right to
anticipatory self-defence against a non-state actor.147 It could also theoretically claim that human rights law’s requirement of first
employing less-than-lethal means would not be possible if the State has no means of capturing or causing the other State to capture the target. As a practical
matter, there are very few situations outside the context of active hostilities in which the
test for anticipatory self-defence – necessity that is “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation”148 –
would be met. This hypothetical presents the same danger as the “ticking-time bomb”
scenario does in the context of the use of torture and coercion during interrogations: a
thought experiment that posits a rare emergency exception to an absolute prohibition can
effectively institutionalize that exception. Applying such a scenario to targeted killings
threatens to eviscerate the human rights law prohibition against the arbitrary deprivation
of life. In addition, drone killing of anyone other than the target (family members or others in the vicinity, for example)
would be an arbitrary deprivation of life under human rights law and could result in State
responsibility and individual criminal liability.
Illegal, by definition, means: unlawful. To break the law, particularly the laws of war, is especially
Subpoint a) Without law morality cannot exist – morality depends upon exercise and
following of the law to maintain outer freedom.
Arthur Ripstein, Prof. of Law & Philosophy at the University of Toronto, “Kant on Law and
Justice” in “A Companion to Kant’s Ethics” 2007
independence requires both enforceable reciprocal limits on freedom and the ability to acquire things
To sum up,
The two requirements can only be reconciled in a rightful condition. That there
without the consent of all.
are differences in the powers of officials and private citizens is consistent with the equality
of all, because some official powers are required to preserve equal freedom. The arguments of Public Right
go on to show the types of power, and the limits on them, that are required. Kant’s claim is not that citizens are more likely to be
independent if officials make, apply, and enforce laws: they cannot be independent without
This evidence proves that laws are required for morality to be upheld; it is against the law
of war to intentionally kill civilians, we know using targeted killing will kill civilians, it is
unethical to kill civilians: therefore using targeted killing is immoral.
I have proven that killing civilians is immoral. Targeted killing kills civilians, thus: it is immoral.
Therefore; I negate the resolution.