Casual warfare

Marvin Gandall marvin.gandall at
Thu Feb 20 11:11:15 MST 2003

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There's an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books by
Duke University international law professor Michael Byers. Byers
describes how the US’s cavalier approach to starting wars and the new
methods it is using to fight them are both in violation of international
law and morality.

It's the result of the breakthrough in military technology, which has
given the US the capacity to wage war from safe distances at much less
cost in blood and treasure to itself. The new high-tech weaponry thus
serves as an an incentive to launch wars for reasons other than
self-defence, the only permissible grounds for doing so, and to bypass
pitched battles with opposing armed forces to strike directly at power
grids, water filtration plants, and other infrastructure in a bid to
break the will of the civilian population and provoke internal

This development, which first manifested itself in the Gulf War and
Kosovo, has since led the Pentagon, encouraged by Donald Rumsfeld, to
re-evaluate the conventions of war prohibiting the direct or indirect
targeting of civilians, as well as the use of nuclear and other banned
weapons against enemy troops.

You can access the LRB site directly (I think it's a non-sub article),
or read it on . Sorry for any cross-posting.

Marv Gandall   

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