Writing about the use of drones in targeted killings in warfare, Michael Walzer neither condemns nor justifies the practice in an unqualified way. His piece should be read as a whole, since he brings his usual care to dissecting a controversial topic; but here are a few key points.
Michael argues that the targeted killing of terrorists in the context of war can be justified but only subject to the usual constraints regarding proportionality and care towards innocent bystanders. Drone technology, however, is so good that there is a danger of these constraints being relaxed in the use of it. And this, he says, is what has happened. The present US method of counting civilian casualties treats 'all military age males in a strike zone as combatants'. Michael writes:
We are not aiming to kill all the men of military age, but we have made them all liable to be killed. We have turned them into combatants, without knowing anything more about them than their (approximate) age. That wasn't right in ancient Greece or Israel, and it isn't right today.
His view, in short, is that drone warfare, taking the form of targeted killing, 'could be justified under tough constraints' but that these aren't in place as things are. (Thanks: AJ.)