Addendum to My “Memo to the Human Rights Community” (on drone strikes outside of “hot battlefields”)

On Wednesday, I published an essay at Just Security titled, “Why the Laws of War Apply to Drone Strikes Outside “Areas of Active Hostilities” (A Memo to the Human Rights Community).” As always, I appreciate readers’ feedback. I have just added an Addendum at the end of the original essay. Here’s what it says:

Addendum: Based on reader feedback, I want to correct a misimpression that may be created by my essay, and for which I accept responsibility for any lack of clarity. I do not mean to describe the human rights community writ large or human rights organizations across the board. Members of the human rights community and different human rights organizations naturally take diverse positions on these issues, some more closely aligned or overlapping with my own views, and others not. Many members of the community also subscribe to legal positions very different from the U.S. government’s position on the application of the laws of war but they recognize well the reasonableness of the other side’s perspective. If anything, my essay aims to encourage more of that engagement on this particular set of issues for those who are not there yet. The “Memo” is certainly addressed to all members of the community in which we play a part and are in conversation in that broader sense, and I tried to hone my concerns by identifying (specific) instances in which (specific) individuals made (specific) claims about the scope of the application of the laws of war.

Also, for additional responses to my original piece, see Daphne Eviatar’s piece on Friday morning, and Marko Milanovic’s piece over at EJIL: Talk. I also recommend reading the comments thread beneath Marko’s post (in which I also participated). 

About the Author(s)

Ryan Goodman

Co-Editor-in-Chief of Just Security, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, former Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-2016) Follow him on Twitter @rgoodlaw.