The past few decades have witnessed a renewed interest in the work of Carl Schmitt. Scholars from various disciplines have claimed that Schmitt’s critique of universalism, together with his analysis of irregular warfare, provides useful lenses to make sense of the post 9/11 world. In this article, I will critically assess whether Schmitt’s work is indeed useful for understanding the post 9/11 world. To that end, I will concentrate on one of the core arguments put forward by Schmitt: that the laws of armed conflict are unable to regulate irregular warfare, including acts of terrorism. In order to determine the validity of Schmitt’s arguments, I will focus on one of the instruments used in contemporary counter-terrorism policies: the deliberate killing of specific individuals who are regarded as a security threat (‘targeted killing’). Based on an analysis of US and Israeli practice, the article argues that using Schmitt’s work as an analytical tool yields mixed results. While his analysis of irregular warfare remains relevant for contemporary conflicts, his denouncement of universalism blinds us to the transformational potential of international law.