The Moral Dimension of Asymmetrical Warfare

Counter-terrorism, Democratic Values and Military Ethics

During the Cold War - an era in which the term ‘asymmetric warfare’ was not well known - the issue of the laws and ethics of war seemed simple enough to most soldiers, being concerned mainly with leadership, management, and morale. Post-Cold War reality revealed a very different set of challenges, including a significantly wider moral dimension, particularly when forces, initially under UN leadership and later under the NATO flag, were deployed in different parts of the turbulent Balkans. Military observers, by now with legal advisers close by, watched events in the Balkans, East Timor and then in central and West Africa with professional interest, and some were involved there. A few years later, soldiers were subsequently caught as much by surprise by the events of 9/11, a graphic example of asymmetric warfare, as most of the rest of the world. The initial, post 9/11 response in Afghanistan and Iraq brought the notion of the fragile or collapsed state, and the blurring of the roles of military forces, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, non-state actors, and indigenous administrators and their uniformed organisations, and with them the moral dilemmas, to much wider notice. More recent conflicts have indeed shown the need for commanders and soldiers in all types of conflict to have a much better understanding of the complex moral and legal environments, and opened new debates about the principle of ‘winning hearts and minds’ in counter-insurgency and peace support operations. Moreover, technological superiority by the West has also produced mixed benefits in the field of military operations, and posed additional dilemmas, many of them moral. The trend towards defining human rights and ‘fundamental freedoms’ poses further questions for the soldier today. This collection of essays, written by a wide variety of practising experts and scholars, touches on all these issues. It links the medieval traditions of jus in bello, codified by Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Christian Church nearly eight centuries ago, to examination of modern challenges and moral dilemmas relating to the ethics and laws of conflict and crises of all types in the twenty-first century, and in a global context among people of many different faiths and beliefs, and none. It is an important collection for all those researching or practically involved in conflict and post-conflict situations.
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Table of contents

PART I The superpower and asymmetry
Chapter 1 Questioning the Resort to U.S. Hegemonic Military Force
Harry van der Linden
Chapter 2 Asymmetric Air War: Ethical Implications
Martin L. Cook and Mark Conversino*
PART II Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello, Jus post Bellum: Rethinking the
Just War Tradition
Chapter 3 Reframing Asymmetrical Warfare: Beyond the Just War Idea
Thomas Frank
Chapter 4 Armed Intervention and Democratic Dreams: Small Western
Liberal Democracies and Multinational Intervention
Allard Wagemaker
Chapter 5 Asymmetric Warfare and Morality: From Moral Asymmetry
to Amoral Symmetry?
Carl Ceulemans
Chapter 6 Military operations by armed UN peace-keeping missions:
An application of generalized just war principles
John W. Lango
PART III Leadership and accountability
Chapter 6 The Moral Dimension of Asymmetrical Warfare:
Accountability, Culpability and Military Effectiveness
Daren Bowyer
Chapter 8 British Leaders and Irregular Warfare
David Benest
Chapter 9 The Lesson Avoided: The Official Legacy of the My Lai
Lawrence P. Rockwood
Chapter 10 Culpability – Senior Leaders Have Dirty Hands
Donald A. MacCuish
PART IV Soldiers’ perspectives
Chapter 11 Between Violence and Restraint: Human Rights,
Humanitarian Considerations, and the Israeli Military in the Al-Aqsa Intifada
Eyal Ben-Ari
Chapter 12 The Phenomenon of Breaking the Silence in Israel:
“Witnessing” as Consciousness Raising Strategy of Israeli Excombatants
Erella Grassiani
PART V Ethical Education and Decision-making for the Military
Chapter 13 Ethics in the Core of Officer Education: Some Philosophical
Aspects for Curriculum Transformation
Jarmo Toiskallio
Chapter 14 Why People Make the Wrong Choices – The Psychology of Ethical Failure
J. Peter Bradley
Chapter 15 (Dis)respecting the Law of Armed Conflict in Asymmetrical Warfare?: A Consequentialist Approach to a
Consequentialist Question
Daniel S. Blocq
Chapter 16 Moral Dynamics in Culture Centric Warfare
Patrick Mileham
PART VI Stress and trauma
Chapter 17 Dilemmas in the Employment of Combat Stress-related
Clinical Research – the Imperative of Prevention
Eric Vermetten
PART VII The media
Chapter 18 Politics, Media and War Coverage: an Indexed Relation?
Javier G. Marín and Óscar G. Luengo
Chapter 19 Asymmetrical Warfare and Modern Digital Media: An Old
Concept Changed by New Technology?
Uroš Svete
PART VIII Democracy under Scrutiny
Chapter 20 Security versus Liberty?:Ethical Lessons from Post-9/11
American Counter-Terrorist Security Politics
Wim Smit
Chapter 21 Saying no to torture: a moral absolute, self-righteous or just naïve?
Maureen Ramsay
Chapter 22 Dirty War, or: How Democracies Can Lose in the Fight against Terrorism
Asta Maskaliūnaitė
PART IX In Hindsight
Chapter 23 Human Dignity in the Era of Counter-terrorism
Ted van Baarda and Désiree Verweij.


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