In the post-9/11 era, the label “asymmetric wars” has often been used to question the relevance of certain aspects of international humanitarian law (IHL); to push for redefining the combatant/civilian distinction; and to try to reverse accepted norms such as the bans on torture and assassination. In this piece, we focused on legal and policy discussions in the United States and Israel because they better illustrate the dynamics of State-led “norm entrepreneurship”, or the attempt to propose opposing or modified norms as a revision of IHL. We argue that although these developments are to be taken seriously, they have not weakened the normative power of IHL or made it passé. On the contrary, they have made it more relevant than ever. IHL is not just a complex (and increasingly sophisticated) branch of law detached from reality. Rather, it is the embodiment of widely shared principles of morality and ethics, and stands as a normative “guardian” against processes of moral disengagement that make torture and the acceptance of civilian deaths more palatable.