Civilians and Combatants: is there a difference in war?

The New York Review of Books addresses the argument for assassination and preventative killing found in an article by Kasher and Yadlin.

In 2005, Asa Kasher and Amos Yadlin published in an American academic journal ‘Assassination and Preventive Killing,’ an essay that explores the issue of ‘assassination within the framework of fighting terror.’ There are good reasons to believe that the political and practical significance of this essay goes far beyond its academic interest. Asa Kasher is professor of professional ethics and philosophy of practice at Tel Aviv University and an academic adviser to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Amos Yadlin is a major general who at the time the article appeared was the military attaché of the embassy of Israel in Washington; he is currently the head of Israeli army intelligence.


How do Kasher and Yadlin blur the distinction between combatants and noncombatants? By enabling “our” combatants to jump the queue for their own safety—so that their safety comes before the safety of civilians (whoever they are). For Kasher and Yadlin, there no longer is a categorical distinction between combatants and noncombatants. But the distinction should be categorical, since its whole point is to limit wars to those—only those—who have the capacity to injure (or who provide the means to injure).

Read the whole essay here.

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