Unfortunately, the current US posture of justifying all targeted strikes with reference to both armed conflict and self-defense does nothing to advance efforts to resolve those questions. Indeed, this blurring of legal lines and legal paradigms has a detrimental effect on both current implementation and future development of the law.
From the perspective of the policymaker, the use of both justifications without further distinction surely offers greater flexibility and potential for action in a range of circumstances. To the extent such flexibility does not impact the implementation of the relevant law or hinder the development and enforcement of that law in the future, it may well be an acceptable goal. That is not the case here, however.
-- IntLawGrrl Laurie Blank (author of 2 posts earlier this week, here and here) in "Blurring the Legal Lines on Targeted Strikes," a commentary just published at Jurist. (photo credit)