Salomon, Paolo


Al Qaeda’s terror attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, introduced heretofore unseen issues under International Humanitarian Law. After Al-Qaeda’s attacks, the Bush administration began its Global War on Terror by invading Afghanistan in order to find those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 20001. This invasion caused Al-Qaeda to flee into Pakistan’s Tribal Areas in order to evade American forces. The Bush administration began employing drone strikes in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas to degrade Al-Qaeda’s ability to conduct operations against the United States. The Obama administration continued and expanded the use of drone strikes. Amid the use of these strikes was the growing international backlash against excessive civilian casualties. In response, the Obama administration argued that these strikes were justified because of the Unwilling or Unable Doctrine. In this article, the first section provides a background on the Laws of War, the development of drones and drone strikes, a discussion of the Unwilling or Unable Doctrine and the jus ad vim approach to the use of force under international law. The next section compares the Unwilling or Unable Doctrine to the jus ad vim approach. The article concludes with the proposition that the jus ad vim framework is not an adequate body of law to tackle the complexity of issues embedded in the use of drone strikes.



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