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The Obama administration’s conceptual change: Imminence and the legitimation of targeted killings

  • Luca Trenta (a1)
Abstract

Starting in 2010, the Obama administration engaged in an effort to justify drone strikes relying on the concept of ‘imminence’. The aim of this article is to understand the reasons behind such insistence and to assess the administration’s efforts at conceptual change. Building on Skinner’s and Bentley’s work, the article argues that the administration has followed an ‘innovating ideologist’ strategy. The analysis shows how waves of criticisms exposed the administration to a key contradiction between its rhetoric of change that emphasised international law and the need for aggressive counterterrorism. Reacting to this criticism, the administration has relied on imminence due to its connection with legitimate uses of force, while working to change the criteria for the concept, causing a shift away from imminent as ‘immediate.’ Reassessing Skinner’s place in IR, the article identifies conceptual change as a lens to assess foreign policy rhetoric and practice. The analysis emphasises the connection between actors’ intentions, beliefs, and practices. It highlights the importance of criticism in engendering contradictions, exploring why only some criticisms are confronted. Finally, the article develops an original typology of the limits confronted by the innovating ideologist and methods to assess whether the actor has respected them.

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Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Dr Luca Trenta, Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University, Swansea, SA2 8PP. Author’s email: l.trenta@swansea.ac.uk
References
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2 Rosa Brooks, ‘The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killings’, Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitutions, Civil Rights, and Human Rights (23 April 2013), available at: {http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1114&context=cong} accessed 27 October 2015, p. 13; Fiedesdorf, Conor, ‘Obama’s memo on killing Americans twists “imminent threat” like Bush’, The Atlantic (February 2013), available at: {http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/obamas-memo-on-killing-americans-twists-imminent-threat-like-bush/272862/} accessed 27 October 2015.

3 Bennett, Wells, ‘A Clue about the Origins of Imminence in the OLC Memo’, The Lawfare Blog (25 June 2014), available at: {http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/06/a-clue-about-the-origins-of-imminence-in-the-olc-memo/} accessed 27 October 2014; Wittes, Benjamin, ‘Whence Imminence in that Drone Memo? A Puzzle and a Theory’, The Lawfare Blog (24 June 2014), available at: {http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/06/whence-imminence-in-that-drone-memo-a-puzzle-and-a-theory/} accessed 27 October 2015.

4 Erakat, Noura, ‘New imminence in the time of Obama: the impact of targeted killings on the law of self defense’, Arizona Law Review, 56 (2014), pp. 195248 .

5 Anderson, Kenneth and Wittes, Benjamin, Speaking the Law (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2013), p. 107 .

6 Bentley, Michelle, ‘The long goodbye: Beyond an essentialist construction of WMD’, Contemporary Security Policy, 33:2 (2012), pp. 384406 ; Bentley, Michelle, ‘War and/of words: Constructing WMD in US foreign policy’, Security Studies, 22 (2013), pp. 6897 ; Bentley, Michelle, ‘Strategic taboos: Chemical weapons and US foreign policy’, International Affairs, 90:5 (2014), pp. 10331048 ; Bentley, Michelle, Weapons of Mass Destruction in US Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2014).

7 Bentley, ‘War and/of words’, p. 76.

8 Skinner, Quentin, ‘Language and political change’, in Terence Ball, James Farr, and Russell Hanson (eds), Political Innovation and Conceptual Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 21 .

9 Gibb, Frances, ‘Attorney-general sets out legal basis for drone strikes abroad’, The Times (12 January 2017), available at: {http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/law/attorney-general-sets-out-legal-basis-for-drone-strikes-abroad-f73ctmwqm} accessed 12 January 2017; Anthony Dworkin, ‘European Countries Edge towards War on Terror’, ECFR Report (9 September 2015), available at: {http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_european_countries_edge_towards_war_on_terror4015} accessed 3 February 2017.

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11 See Bew, John, Realpolitik: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); and Armitage, David, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (Yale: Yale University Press, 2017).

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13 See, among others, Fierke, Karin M. and Jorgense, Knud, Constructing International Relations: The Next Generation (London: Routledge 2015), p. 15 ; and Armstrong, David, Farrell, Theo, and Lambert, Helen, International Law and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 3 .

14 Martin, Robert W. T., ‘Context and contradiction: Toward a political theory of conceptual change’, Political Research Quarterly, 50:2 (1997), pp. 413436 .

15 Ball, Terence and Pocock, J. A. G., ‘Introduction’, in Terence Ball and J. A. G. Pocock (eds), Conceptual Change and the Constitution (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988); Ball, Terence, ‘A republic – if you can keep it’, in Ball and Pocock (eds), Conceptual Change and the Constitution ; Ball, Terence, Transforming Political Discourse (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1988); and Ball, Terence, ‘Party’, in Ball, Farr, and Hanson (eds), Political Innovation and Conceptual Change .

16 Farr, James, ‘Conceptual change and constitutional innovation’, in Ball and Pocock (eds), Conceptual Change and the Constitution ; Farr, James, ‘Understanding conceptual change politically’, in Ball, Farr, and Hanson (eds), Political Innovation and Conceptual Change .

17 Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 24; Austin, John L., How To Do Things with Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975); Searle, John, Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).

18 Skinner, Quentin, ‘Meaning and understanding in the history of ideas’, History and Theory, 8:1 (1969), p. 44 , emphasis added; Palonen, Kari, Quentin Skinner: History, Politics, Rhetoric (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), pp. 4344 .

19 See Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 25; Skinner, Quentin, ‘Motives, intentions and interpretations’, in Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I: Regarding Method (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

20 Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 25.

21 Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, pp. 120–2.

22 Bentley, ‘War and/of words’, p. 77; Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, pp. 25–6. See also Krebs, Ronald, Narrative and the Making of US National Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Reus-Smit, Christian, ‘Reading history through constructivist eyes’, Millennium, 37:2 (2008), pp. 395414 .

23 Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, p. 6; Skinner, Quentin, Visions of Politics, Volume II: Renaissance Virtues (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 126 .

24 Bell, Duncan S. A., ‘Language, legitimacy and the project of critique’, Alternatives, 27 (2002), p. 335 . See also Bowden, Brett, The Empire of Civilization: The Evolution of an Imperial Idea (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009), pp. 2 , 7–10.

25 Reus-Smit, ‘Reading history’, pp. 400–1, 403–9.

26 Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, p. 119.

27 Ibid., p. 117.

28 Ibid., p. 119.

29 Ibid.

30 Skinner, Quentin, ‘Augustan party politics and Renaissance constitutional thought’, in Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume II, p. 348 .

31 Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, p. 119.

32 Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 25.

33 Bentley, ‘War and/of words’, p. 75; Skinner, ‘Language and political change’, p. 17.

34 Finnemore, Martha and Sikkink, Kathryn, ‘International norm dynamics and political change’, International Organization, 52:4 (1998), p. 909 ; Legro, Jeffrey, Rethinking the World: Great Power Strategies and International Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).

35 Dudziak, Mary, Wartime (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Debrix, Francois, Tabloid Terror (London: Routledge, 2008); Croft, Stuart, Culture, Crisis and America’s War on Terror (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

36 Jackson, Richard and Tsui, Chin-Kuei, ‘War on Terror II: Obama and the adaptive evolution of US counterterrorism’, in Michelle Bentley and Jack Holland (eds), The Obama Doctrine (London: Routledge, 2017), p. 80 .

37 Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 25.

38 Martin, ‘Context and contradiction’, p. 414.

39 Ibid., p. 417.

40 Skinner, ‘Meaning and understanding in the history of ideas’, p. 49; Martin, ‘Context and contradiction’, pp. 421–2.

41 Ball, Terence, Transforming Political Discourse (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1988), p. 15 .

42 Martin, ‘Context and contradiction’, p. 425.

43 Berenskoetter, ‘Approaches to concept analysis’, p. 160.

44 See Richard Snyder, H. W. Bruck, and Burton Sapin / Valerie Hudson, Chollet, Derek H., and Goldgeiger, James. Foreign Policiy Decision-making Re-visited (New York: Palgrave and MacMillan, 2002).

45 Martin, ‘Context and contradiction, p. 429.

46 Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 25.

47 Farr, ‘Understanding conceptual change politically’, p. 26. See also Martin, ‘Context and contradiction’, pp. 424–5.

48 Ball, Terence and Pocock, J. A. G., ‘Introduction’, in Ball and Pocock (eds), Conceptual Change and the Constitution, p. 4 .

49 Farr, ‘Understanding conceptual change politically’, p. 35.

50 Farr, James, ‘Conceptual change and constitutional innovation’, in Ball and Pocock (eds), Conceptual Change and the Constitution, pp. 2425 .

51 Farr, ‘Understanding conceptual change politically’, p. 34.

52 Jervis, Robert, Perceptions and Misperceptions in International Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), pp. 386387 .

53 Holsti, Ole, ‘Cognitive dynamics and images of the enemy’, Journal of International Affairs, 21:1 (1967), p. 19 .

54 Holsti, ‘Cognitive dynamics and images of the enemy’, p. 22.

55 Farr, ‘Understanding conceptual change politically’, p. 35.

56 Skinner, Quentin, ‘Some problems in the analysis of political thought and action’, Political Theory 2:3 (1974), p. 294 .

57 Palonen, Quentin Skinner, p. 51.

58 Skinner, Quentin, ‘A reply to my critics’, in James Tully (ed.), Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988); see also Skinner, ‘Some problems’, pp. 290–1.

59 Skinner, ‘Some problems’, p. 298.

60 Ibid.

61 Ibid.

62 Ibid., p. 300.

63 Ibid., p. 294.

64 Ball, ‘Party’, p. 157.

65 Finnemore and Sikkink, ‘International norm dynamics’, pp. 807, 908; Keck, Margaret and Sikkink, Kathryn, ‘Transnational advocacy networks in international and regional politics’, International Social Science Journal, 159 (1999), pp. 89101 ; Fiorini, Ann, ‘The evolution of international norms’, International Studies Quarterly, 40:3 (1996), pp. 363389 ; Finnemore, Martha, The Purpose of Intervention (New Delhi: Manas Publications, 2009), p. 15 .

66 Bentley, Weapons of Mass Destruction, p. 127.

67 See Bentley, ‘War and/of words’, pp. 76–7; Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, p. 7.

68 Even in his more recent focus on ‘paradiastole’, Skinner has maintained the need for ‘neighbourliness’ in conceptual manipulation. Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, pp. 182–4. See also Skinner, Quentin, ‘Rhetoric and conceptual change’, Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought, 3 (1999), pp. 6768 ; Ball, ‘Party’, p. 157; and Skinner, ‘Some problems’, p. 299.

69 Skinner, ‘Some problems’, p. 298.

70 Ibid., p. 298.

71 Ibid., p. 300.

72 Skinner, email exchange with the author.

73 Skinner, Quentin, Liberty before Liberalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 105 , emphasis added.

74 Skinner, ‘Some problems’, p. 299.

75 Skinner, Quentin, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Volume I: The Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1978), p. xiii .

76 Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, p. 156. See also Skinner, ‘Some problems’, p. 300.

77 Skinner, email exchange with the author.

78 Skinner, Quentin, ‘The principles and practice of opposition’, in Neil McKendrick, Historical Perspectives: Studies in English Thought and Society (London: Europa Publications, 1974), p. 103 .

79 Ibid., p. 103.

80 Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, p. 105.

81 Hurd, ‘The permissive power of the ban on war’; Finnemore, Martha, ‘Legitimacy, hypocrisy and the social structure of unipolarity: Why being a unipole isn’t all it’s cracked up to be’, World Politics, 61:1 (2009), pp. 5885 ; Clark, Ian, Legitimacy in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Hurd, Ian, ‘Legitimacy and authority in international politics’, International Organization, 53:2 (1999), pp. 379408 .

82 Wheeler, Nicholas, Saving Strangers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 10 . See also Risse, Thomas and Sikkink, Kathryn, ‘The socialization of international human rights norms into domestic practices’, in Thomas Risse, Stephen Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink (eds), The Power of Human Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 9 .

83 Wheeler, Saving Strangers, p. 40. See also Wheeler, Nicholas, ‘The Bush Doctrine: the dangers of American exceptionalism in a revolutionary age’, Asian Perspective, 27:4 (2003), p. 211 .

84 Farr, ‘Understanding conceptual change politically’, p. 34.

85 Hurd, ‘The permissive power of the ban on war’; Venzke, Ingo, ‘Is interpretation in international law a game?’, in Andrea Bianchi, Daniel Peat, and Matthew Windsor (eds), Interpretation in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

86 Wheeler, Saving Strangers, pp. 8–9.

87 Skinner, Visions of Politics, Volume I, p. 142.

88 Anderson and Wittes, Speaking the Law, p. 107.

89 Savage, Charlie, Power Wars (New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2015), p. 239 ; Shane, Scott, Operation Troy (New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2015), p. 216 .

90 Rogers, William P., ‘Congress, the president and the war powers’, California Law Review, 59:5 (1971), p. 1197 .

91 Christof Heyns, Dapo Akande, Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, and Thompson Chengeta, ‘The Right to Life and the International Law Framework Regulating the Use of Armed Drones in Armed Conflict or Counter-Terrorism’, written evidence (December 2015), available at: {http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/human-rights-committee/the-uk-governments-policy-on-the-use-of-drones-for-targeted-killing/written/25641.pdf}, p. 2.

92 Koh, Harold, ‘Comment’, in Michael Doyle, Striking First (Princeton: Princeton, 2008); Sofaer, Abraham, ‘On the necessity of pre-emption’, European Journal of International Law, 14:2 (2003), pp. 209226 .

93 Crawford, Neta, ‘The justice of preemption and preventive war doctrines’, in Mark Evans (ed.), Just War Theory: A Reappraisal (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2005).

94 Erakat, ‘New imminence in the time of Obama’, p. 203.

95 United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, available at: {http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-viii/index.html} accessed 28 October 2015.

96 Lubell, Noam, ‘The problem of imminence in an uncertain world’, in Mark Weller, Jake Rylatt, and Alexia Solomou (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

97 Lubell, ‘The problem of imminence in an uncertain world’; Ruys, Tom, Armed Attack and Article 51 of the UN Charter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 262 .

98 Ruys, Armed Attack and Article 51, p. 308. See also Mueller, Karen, Castillo, Jasen, Morgan, Forrest, Pegahi, Negeen, and Rosen, Brian, Striking First (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 2006).

99 Reisman, Michael and Armstrong, Andrea, ‘The past and future of the claim of preemptive self-defense’, The American Journal of International Law, 100:3 (2006), pp. 525550 .

100 George Shultz, ‘Low-Intensity Warfare: The Challenge of Ambiguity’, Remarks at Low-Intensity Warfare Conference, US Department of State Bulletin (15 January 1986), available at: {http://archive.org/details/departmentofstat86210621111986unit} accessed 28 October 2015.

101 Woodward, Bob, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986).

102 Reagan justified the strike as retaliation for Libya’s involvement in the earlier Berlin bombing. Woodward, Veil, p. 515.

103 Reisman and Armstrong, ‘The past and future of the claim’, p. 530.

104 US Department of State, ‘Press Briefing on U.S. Strikes in Sudan and Afghanistan’ (20 August 1998), available at: {http://1997-2001.state.gov/www/statements/1998/980820.html} accessed 28 October 2015.

105 Jarvis, Lee, Times of Terror (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), Dudziak, Wartime; Debrix, Tabloid Terror.

106 George W. Bush, ‘Graduation Speech at West Point’ (1 June 2002), available at: {http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020601-3.html} accessed 28 October 2015.

107 See Yoo, John, ‘The continuation of politics by other means: the original understanding of war powers’, California Law Review, 84:2 (1996), pp. 167305 ; Cheney, Dick, ‘Minority report’, Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair: With Supplemental, Minority, and Additional Views (1987), available at: {https://archive.org/stream/reportofcongress87unit/reportofcongress87unit_djvu.txt} accessed 18 January 2017; Savage, Charlie, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2007), ch. 1 .

108 Barron, David and Lederman, Martin, ‘The commander in chief at the lowest ebb – framing the problem, doctrine and original understanding’, Harvard Law Review, 121:3 (January 2008), p. 693 . See Greenberg, Karen, Rough Justice (Crown: New York, 2016); Danner, Mark, Spiral (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016).

109 Barron and Lederman, ‘The commander in chief at the lowest ebb’, pp. 705–7.

110 See Donald Rumsfeld, Memorandum to Douglas Feith and General Dick Myers, ‘Preparation of the Battlespace’ (2 September 2004), available at: {http://papers.rumsfeld.com/library/} accessed 28 October 2015. See also Savage, Power Wars, p. 241.

111 Barron and Lederman, ‘The commander in chief at the lowest ebb’, p. 708.

112 Anderson and Wittes, Speaking the Law, p. 18; Wheeler, ‘The Bush Doctrine’, p. 208; Savage, Takeover, p. 146.

113 Carvin, Stephanie and Williams, Michael John, Law, Science, Liberalism and the American Way of Warfare: The Quest for Humanity in Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 188190 . See also Spiro, Peter J., ‘The new sovereigntists: American exceptionalism and its false prophets’, Foreign Affairs, 76:6 (2000), p. 10 .

114 Bacevich, Andrew, The New American Militarism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 8891 .

115 Goldmsith, Jack, The Terror Presidency (New York: Norton and Company 2009), p. 63 .

116 Barron and Lederman, ‘The commander in chief at the lowest ebb’, p. 713.

117 Jervis, Robert, ‘Understanding the Bush Doctrine’, Political Science Quarterly, 118:3 (2003), pp. 365388 .

118 Woodward, Bob, Bush at War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003), p. 97 .

119 George W. Bush, ‘State of the Union Address’ (29 January 2002), available at: {http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/sou012902.htm} accessed 28 October 2015.

120 US Government, The National Security Strategy (September 2002), available at: {http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/63562.pdf} accessed 28 October 2015.

121 Ibid., p. 15.

122 Ibid.

123 Freedman, Lawrence, ‘Prevention, not pre-emption’, The Washington Quarterly , 26:2 (2003), pp. 105114 ; Levy, Jack, ‘Preventive war and democratic politics’, International Studies Quarterly, 52:1 (2008), p. 4 .

124 Daalder, Ivo and Lindsay, James, America Unbound (Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2006); Gaddis, John Lewis, Surprise, Security and the American Experience (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2004); Litwak, Robert, Regime Change (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); Doyle, Michael, Striking First (Princeton: Princeton, 2008); Sofaer, ‘On the necessity of pre-emption’.

125 UK Ministry of Defence, ‘The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter’ (July 2002), available at: {http://www.comw.org/rma/fulltext/0207sdrvol1.pdf} accessed 20 January 2015, p. 12; House of Commons, ‘Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism’, Foreign Affairs Committee (2002–2003), available at: {http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmfaff/196/196.pdf} accessed 20 January 2015, p. 44.

126 Litwak, Robert, ‘The new calculus of pre-emption’, Survival, 44:4 (2002), p. 73 ; Wheeler, ‘The Bush Doctrine’.

127 Dunmire, Patricia, ‘“9/11 changed everything”: an intertextual analysis of the Bush Doctrine’, Discourse and Society, 20:2 (2009), p. 203 .

128 Ibid., p. 205.

129 See Daalder and Lindsay, America Unbound.

130 Heisbourg, Francois, ‘A work in progress: the Bush Doctrine and its consequences’, The Washington Quarterly, 26:2 (2003), p. 4 .

131 George W. Bush, ‘The President’s State of the Union Address’ (28 January 2003), available at: {http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/bushtext_012803.html} accessed 6 January 2017.

132 Starr-Deelen, Donna G., Presidential Policies on Terrorism: From Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), p. 112 .

133 Suskin, Ron, The One Percent Doctrine (New York: Simon and Schuster 2006), p. 62 .

134 Feith, Douglas, War and Decision (New York: Harper, 2008), p. 306 .

135 Ibid., pp. 308, 329.

136 Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2013), p. 77.

137 United States Mission to Geneva, ‘Inquiry from Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions. Telegram to Secretary of State’ (15 November 2002), available at: {https://www.aclu.org/files/dronefoia/dos/drone_dos_20110720DOS_DRONE000134.pdf} accessed 28 October 2015.

138 US Secretary of State, ‘Response to UNHCR SR on Yemen Incident of 3 Nov 2002’ (9 April 2003), available at: {https://www.aclu.org/files/dronefoia/dos/drone_dos_20110720DOS_DRONE001925.pdf} accessed 28 October 2015.

139 Erakat, ‘New imminence in the time of Obama’.

140 Goldsmith, Jack, Power and Constraint (New York: Norton and Company, 2012); Dawn Johnsen, ‘The lawyers’ war: Counter-terrorism from Bush to Obama’, Review article, Foreign Affairs (2 January 2017), available at: {https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/2016-11-22/lawyers-war} accessed 6 January 2017.

141 Obama, Barack, The Audacity of Hope (New York: Random House, 2006), p. 308 .

142 Klaidman, Daniel, Kill or Capture (New York: Mariner Books, 2013), p. 98 .

143 Hongju Koh, Harold, ‘Why do nations obey international law?’, The Yale Law Journal, 106:8 (1997), pp. 25992659 .

144 Koh, Harold, The National Security Constitution: Sharing Power After the Iran-Contra Affair (Yale: Yale University Press, 1990).

145 Koh, ‘Comment’.

146 See Barron and Lederman, ‘The commander in chief at the lowest ebb’ (2008a); Barron, David and Lederman, Martin, ‘The commander in chief at the lowest ebb: a constitutional history’, Harvard Law Review, 121:4 (Feb. 2008b), pp. 9411111 .

147 Klaidman, Kill or Capture, p. 207.

148 Savage, Power Wars, p. 64.

149 These include the refusal to work with Congress to get new military detention authorities for fear that Congress might give it more power, or the acceptance, in spite of plausible Article 2 argument to the contrary, of Congress ‘unprecedented restrictions’ on the president’s power to transfer enemy prisoners. See Goldsmith, Power and Constraint, p. 42.

150 Ibid., p. 41.

151 Barack Obama, ‘Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech’, The Huffington Post (18 March 2010), available at: {http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/10/obama‑nobel‑peace‑prize‑a_n_386837.html} accessed 28 October 2015.

152 Anderson and Wittes, Speaking the Law, p. 18.

153 Goldsmith, Power and Constraint, p. 41.

154 Savage, Power Wars, p. 63.

155 Kenneth Anderson, ‘Targeted Killing in US Counterterrorism Strategy and Law’, Working Paper, Georgetown University Law Center and Hoover Institution (11 May 2009), available at: {https://www.law.upenn.edu/institutes/cerl/conferences/targetedkilling/papers/AndersonCounterterrorismStrategy.pdf} accessed 4 May 2017.

156 Barack Obama, ‘Remarks against the Iraq War’ (2 October 2002), available at: {http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99591469} accessed 10 March 2016.

157 Obama, The Audacity of Hope, pp. 308–9.

158 Koh, ‘Comment’.

159 Klaidman, Kill or Capture.

160 Barack Obama, ‘Interview with Hisham Melhem of Al Arabiya’ (27 January 2009), available at: {http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=85891&st=war+on+terror&st1=} accessed 6 January 2017.

161 See Barack Obama, ‘Letter to Congressional Leaders Designating Funds for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism’ (23 December 2011), available at: {http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=98003&st=Overseas+Contingency+Operations&st1=} accessed 6 January 2017. Later labels would include constructions like ‘global struggle against violent extremism’.

162 Hodges, Adam, The War on Terror Narrative (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011), p. 159 .

163 Oddo, John, ‘Variation and continuity in intertextual rhetoric: From the “war on terror” to the “struggle against violent extremism”’, Journal of Language and Politics, 13:3 (2014), pp. 522 , 529.

164 See McCrisken, Trevor, ‘Ten years on: Obama’s war on terrorism in rhetoric and practice’, International Affairs, 87:4 (2011), pp. 781801 ; and Jackson, Richard, ‘Bush, Obama, Bush, Obama, Bush, Obama…: the War on Terror as social structure’, in Bentley and Holland (eds), The Obama Doctrine .

165 Bentley, Michelle, ‘Continuity we can believe in: escaping the War on Terror’, in Bentley and Holland (eds), The Obama Doctrine .

166 Savage, Power Wars

167 Ibid., p. 75.

168 Rucker, Philip and Shear, Michael D., ‘Political attacks over Christmas Day airline incident heat up’, The Washington Post (31 December 2009), available at: {http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/30/AR2009123001231.html} accessed 10 March 2016.

169 Goldsmith, Power and Constraint, p. 46.

170 Daskal, Jennifer and Vladeck, Steve, ‘Power wars symposium: Where did things go wrong? Three key moments that shaped Obama’s failed Guantánamo policy’, Just Security (11 November 2015), available at: {https://www.justsecurity.org/27514/wrong-key-moments-shaped-obamas-failed-guantanamo-policy/} accessed 9 January 2017. See also Savage, Power Wars, p. 87.

171 The increased number of drone strikes in Pakistan was also connected with the decision for a ‘surge’ in Afghanistan. See Woodward, Bob, Obama’s War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011) and Aslam, Wali, ‘Drones and the issue of continuity in America’s Pakistan policy under Obama’, in Bentley and Holland (eds), The Obama Doctrine .

172 Bergen, Peter and Rowland, Jennifer, ‘Decade of the drone’, in Peter Bergen and Daniel Rothenberg (eds), Drone Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 13 .

173 Becker, Jo and Shane, Scott, ‘Secret “Kill List” proves a test of Obama’s principles and will’, The New York Times (29 May 2012), available at: {http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?_r=0} accessed 28 October 2015.

174 Schachtman, Noah, ‘CIA Chief: Drones “Only Game in Town for Stopping al Qaeda”’, Wired (19 May 2009), available at: {http://www.wired.com/2009/05/cia-chief-drones-only-game-in-town-for-stopping-al-qaeda/} accessed 10 March 2016.

175 Philip Aston, ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions’, UN General Assembly (28 May 2010), available at: {http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/A.HRC.14.24.Add6.pdf} accessed 5 May 2016, p. 25.

176 Obama, Barack, ‘Exit Interview’, NPR (19 December 2016), available at: {http://www.npr.org/2016/12/19/504998487/transcript-and-video-nprs-exit-interview-with-president-obama} accessed 18 January 2016.

177 Lynn Davis, Michael McNerney, James Chow, Thomas Hamilton, Sarah Harting, and Daniel Byman, Armed and Dangerous: UAVs and US Security, Rand Corporation, available at: {http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR400/RR449/RAND_RR449.pdf} accessed 28 October 2015, p. 19.

178 Shane, Operation Troy, p. 231.

179 Brennan, ‘Strengthening our Security’.

180 John Yoo, ‘Using force’, University of Chicago Law Review, 71 (2004), p. 18.

181 Klaidman, Kill or Capture, p. 219.

182 Barack Obama, Google Hangout (30 January 2012), available at: {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rPMPMqOjKY} accessed 10 January 2017.

183 Eric Holder, ‘Remarks at Northwestern University School of Law’ (5 March 2012), available at: {http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-eric-holder-speaks-northwestern-university-school-law} accessed 28 October 2015.

184 David Barron, ‘Memorandum for the Attorney General’ (16 July 2010), available at: {http://www.washingtonpost.com/r/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2014/06/23/National-Security/Graphics/memodrones.pdf} accessed 28 October 2015.

185 Scahill, Dirty Wars.

186 Department of Justice, ‘Lawfulness of a lethal operation directed against a US citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or an Associated Force’, White Paper (2011), available at: {http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf} accessed 12 July 2017.

187 Jeh Johnson, ‘The Conflict against Al-Qaeda and its Affiliates: How it Will End’ (30 November 2012), available at: {http://www.lawfareblog.com/2012/11/jeh-johnson-speech-at-the-oxford-union/} accessed 18 March 2016.

188 Anderson and Wittes, Speaking the Law, p. 141.

189 Ibid., pp. 141–2.

190 Barack Obama, ‘Remarks by the President at the National Defense University’ (23 May 2013), available at: {https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/23/remarks-president-national-defense-university} accessed 4 May 2017.

191 See White House, ‘US Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism’ (23 May 2013), available at: {https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/23/fact-sheet-us-policy-standards-and-procedures-use-force-counterterrorism } accessed 4 May 2017.

192 Ibid.

193 Eric Holder, ‘Letter to Patrick J. Leary, Committee on the Judiciary, US Senate’ (22 May 2013), available at: {http://www.justice.gov/slideshow/AG-letter-5-22-13.pdf} accessed 4 May 2017.

194 US Department of Defense, ‘Law of Armed Conflict, the Use of Military Force and the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force’, Joint Statement for the Record, Committee on Armed Services, US Senate (16 May 2013), available at: {http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/lawofarmedconflict_useofmilitaryforce_2001aumf_hearing_051613.pdf} accessed 4 May 2017, p. 8.

195 Brien Egan, ‘International Law, Legal Diplomacy, and Counter-ISIL Campaign’ (4 April 2016), available at: {https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Egan-ASIL-speech.pdf} accessed 9 May 2016, p. 5.

196 Daniel Bethlehem, ‘Not By Any Other Name: A Response to Jack Goldsmith on Obama’s Imminence’, Lawfare Blog (7 April 2016), available at: {https://www.lawfareblog.com/not-any-other-name-response-jack-goldsmith-obamas-imminence} accessed 9 May 2016.

197 The White House, ‘Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations’ (December 2016), available at: {https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/framework.Report_Final.pdf} accessed 4 January 2017.

198 Ibid., pp. 9–10.

199 Walzer, Michael, Just Wars (London: Basic Books, 2000), p. 81 .

200 Betlehem, Daniel, ‘Self-defense against an imminent or actual armed attack by nonstate actors’, The American Journal of International Law, 106:4 (2012), pp. 775776 .

201 Ellen O’Connell, Mary, ‘Dangerous departures’, The American Journal of International Law, 107:2 (2013), pp. 380386 . See also Wittes, Benjamin, ‘The White House Releases a “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks” on American Uses of Military Force’, Lawfare (5 December 2016), available at: {https://www.lawfareblog.com/white-house-releases-report-legal-and-policy-frameworks-american-uses-military-force} accessed 9 January 2017; and Anderson and Wittes, Speaking the Law.

202 Scharf, Michael P., ‘How the war against ISIS changed international law’, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, 48:1 (2016), pp. 5051

203 Gibb, ‘Attorney-general sets out legal basis’.

204 Dworkin, ‘European countries edge towards war on terror’.

205 Hurd, ‘The permissive power of the ban on war’, p. 2.

206 Venzke, ‘Is interpretation in international law a game?’.

207 Brooks, Rosa, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon (New York: Simon and Schuster 2016), pp. 200202 .

208 See Maddow, Rachel, Drift (New York: Broadway Books, 2012), pp. 8687 ; Woodward, Veil.

209 Savage, Power Wars, p. 232.

210 Klaidman, Kill or Capture, p. 221; Chris Woods, email exchange with the author, 12 January 2016.

211 Hartig, Luke, ‘The Drone Playbook: An Essay on the Obama Legacy and Policy Recommendations for the Next President’, New America (2016), available at: {https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/Drone_Playbook_Essay_8.16.pdf} accessed 9 January 2017.

212 Woods, Chris, Sudden Justice (London: Hurst and Company, 2015), p. 160 .

213 Searle, Jack, ‘CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan Fall to Lowest Level in 8 Years’, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (7 January 2016), available at: {https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2016/01/07/cia-drone-strikes-in-pakistan-fall-to-lowest-level-in-8-years-bureaus-annual-report-reveals/} accessed 18 March 2016.

214 Savage, Charlie and Schmitt, Eric, ‘Trump administration is said to be working to loosen counterterrorism rules’, The New York Times (12 March 2017), available at: {https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/12/us/politics/trump-loosen-counterterrorism-rules.html?_r=0} accessed 21 April 2017.

215 Micah Zenko, ‘The (Not-So) Peaceful Transition of Power: Trump’s Drone Strikes Outpace Obama’, Council on Foreign Relations, available at: {http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2017/03/02/the-not-so-peaceful-transition-of-power/} accessed 21 April 2017.

216 Chayes, Abram, The Cuban Missile Crisis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), p. 103 .

217 Ibid., p. 35.

218 See Goldsmith, Jack, ‘Let loose the laws of war’, The Slate Book Review (6 January 2016), available at: {http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/books/2016/01/power_wars_by_charlie_savage_reviewed.html} accessed 10 March 2016.

219 Harold Hongju Koh, ‘The Emerging Law of 21st Century Law’, Third Annual Justice Stephen Breyer Lecture on International Law, available at: {https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ios_20170411_breyer_lecture_koh.pdf} accessed 21 April 2017, p. 39.

220 Banks, William, ‘Regulating drones’, in Bergen and Rothenberg (eds), Drone Wars, p. 144 .

221 Ward Thomas, The Ethics of Destruction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001); John Prados, interview with the author, 11 September 2015; Bruce Riedel, interview with the author, Washington, DC, 4 August 2016.

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European Journal of International Security
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