Lawfare › Ken Anderson on Whether IHL Requires an Invitation to Surrender in the Context of an Attack Against a Lawful Target

I think there is a move being made by various people like the Special Rapp to use this as an opportunity to try and re-define the law of attack by inserting into it an obligation to invite surrender that is not part of the law of war

via Lawfare › Ken Anderson on Whether IHL Requires an Invitation to Surrender in the Context of an Attack Against a Lawful Target.

Read the whole thing.

Look, in war, if someone is attempting to surrender, you have a legal and moral obligation to accept that surrender. But war is war, not an episode of Cops. There is absolutely nothing in the law of war or in history that says you have to ask someone to surrender.

There is nothing, NOTHING wrong with shooting an unarmed enemy. There is nothing, NOTHING wrong with shooting an enemy that is fleeing, or sleeping or just walking down the street.

The ONLY time you have an obligation to accept a surrender is when the enemy is clearly attempting to surrender.

There’s been discussion about whether the President gave an order to kill Bin Laden. Of course he did. Now, if he’d given an order that explicitly ruled out accepting a surrender, that would be an illegal order. But giving the order to kill him merely means that the primary objective wasn’t to capture him. That changes the approach the operators took (and reduced their risks a bit). But it wasn’t in any way illegal or immoral.

If you wage war, don’t be surprised if people wage it back upon you, instead of sending Officer Friendly with a pair of cuffs.

2 thoughts on “Lawfare › Ken Anderson on Whether IHL Requires an Invitation to Surrender in the Context of an Attack Against a Lawful Target”

  1. When you are at war, bu definition Officer Friendly is back on the block, not in the zone. The fog of war is such that if you wish to surrender your actions had better be histrionic and exaggerated or they will not be understood as such. Diving for a weapon, for example, will not be accepted as an effort to surrender.

    I would have liked to see him captured, then squeezed dry and had a filmed hanging for general dissemination to the Muslim News Orgs with a statement that we are looking for the others whose name is on the list we give them for equivalent disposal.

    With the cowardly lot we have in DC, such would not be likely to happen.

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