The appropriately-named Anne-Marie Slaughter makes the case for killing tyrants in the latest Foreign Affairs. Her arguments are certainly not new, although they are unusual these days:
In acting against such regimes, the Security Council ought to target individuals, not countries, and impose sanctions that are personal and harshly punitiveÃ¢€”sometimes even lethal. Instead of debating whether to employ military force against Iraq, the Security Council should have sought SaddamÃ¢€™s indictment by an international criminal tribunal as a perpetrator of war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity and authorized his capture and rendering for trial by any means possible. If the United States can offer $25 million for the capture of al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, surely the United Nations could offer double or triple that for bringing Saddam to justice. As an absolute last resort, it should have authorized the use of deadly force in the efforts to capture himÃ¢€”either by his own people or by the agents of foreign governments.
The United Nations offering bounties? Authorizing the use of deadly force against individuals? This course of action no doubt seems shocking. But had the United Nations followed it in Iraq instead of imposing sanctions over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of lives might have been savedÃ¢€”both innocent Iraqi citizens and the foreign soldiers sent to remove Saddam from power. Sanctions harmed the Iraqi people but left the government intact. And the use of massive military force, no matter how careful the planning and targeting, inevitably kills civilians as well as soldiers. In confronting the threats posed by dangerous dictators, the world needs not smart bombs but a smart strategy.
One of the ironies of the age of nationalism is that we have de-personalized war. Centuries ago, kings led their troops into battle personally and faced death. Now, the Saddam Husseins of the world can risk war with impunity because, really, what do they care if a few thousand of their subjects are killed in the process? Clearly, killing Saddam was an implicit aim of the recent war. Perhaps it should be more explicit in the future.