DECAPITATION: James S. Robbins writes:
Beyond logic and utility, targeting dictators is a moral approach to war. If it must be fought, this is a very humane way to do it. No innocent Iraqis should be killed by Coalition arms in pursuit of their liberation. Some probably will be, but striking at the leadership decreases the probability that innocents will die. In fact, it limits both civilian and military casualties, on both sides. And if successful, it ends war quickly, which also spares lives and decreases destruction overall. It is much more humanitarian than resorting to mass slaughter on the battlefield, or destroying the infrastructure of cities and creating tens of thousands of refugees.
It is worth noting that this technique is only effective against dictatorships, in which a single person or small group comprise the center of gravity, the focus and source of power. It would not be effective against a liberal democracy like the United States, because in our system, power is fundamentally divorced from personality. The system itself is the power, and clear rules of succession guarantee that the government will continue to function regardless of changes at the top. Dictators rarely focus on making lines of succession clear, because it only encourages the successor to speed up the process, and the enemies of the heir apparent to try to preempt the transfer of power. The infighting between Saddam’s sons is a case in point