Over in the thread on Japanese generals in WWII, there’s been a bit of discussion on whether or not the US’s killing of Yamamoto qualifies as assassination. And by discussion I mean I think it is, and everyone else doesn’t. And I have to admit, the dictionary definition doesn’t quite fit, since it includes the word ‘murder’, which I wouldn’t call it. Wikipedia, on the other hand, specifically includes Yamamoto’s death in the article on assassination. So, I’m curious what y’all think.
To me, assassination simply implies targeting and killing a public figure - no implication of illegitimacy. In this case, the US knew Yamamoto would be on an inspection tour, and sent a fighter group to intercept and shoot down his transport. I call that assassination. Allesan disagrees:
And on a gut level, I have to say I wouldn’t consider that assassination. The difference, in my mind, is between taking the opportunity to disrupt a battle by eliminating a leader, and going out of your way (very far out of your way in this case - more than 430 miles) to kill them outside of a battle. I’ll certainly acknowledge a strong difference between this and civilian assassination, but I just don’t have a better word than assassination to describe it.