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Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 rekindled a smoldering debate over the legality of state-sponsored assassination. Many thought that the casualties inevitable in a massive land assault on Iraqi forces could easily be avoided by simply killing Saddam Hussein. Indeed, air strikes targeting Saddam's command centers were often characterized as an effort to eliminate the Iraqi leader. However, when the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Michael Dugan, suggested that the death of Saddam Hussein might be a coalition objective, he was quickly dismissed.

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