Although initially perceived as illegal and illegitimate, targeted killing has gained legal approval and greater acceptance as a tactic in the US fight against terrorism. Rather than being accomplished extra-legally or gradually normalized as an exception to the rule, as critics proclaim, targeted killing becomes inscribed into a law that was, and is, prepared to accept it as a practice. Conceiving of law as a practice renders the mutually constitutive relationship between targeted killing and the law visible. As a practice, law is indissoluble from the forms of knowledge both that enact it and that its enactment invokes. Targeted killing could assert itself as a security dispositif that displaces and relocates political notions underlying and defining international law.
* Prof. Dr, Institute for Criminological Research, University of Hamburg [firstname.lastname@example.org]. I would like to thank the Straus Institute at NYU School of Law for a one-year fellowship in 2010–11 granting me time for research. Special thanks to David Garland, Karin Loevy, Chris Reid, Guy Sinclair, Sven Opitz, the anonymous reviewers of this journal and, notably, the editors of this special issue for thoughtful comments on prior versions of this article.