Accession Number : ADA515192
Title : Lawfare: A Decisive Element of 21st-Century Conflicts?
Descriptive Note : Journal article
Corporate Author : NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Personal Author(s) : Dunlap, Jr, Charles J
Report Date : Jan 2009
Pagination or Media Count : 7
Abstract : If anyone doubts the role of law in 21st-century conflicts, one need only pose the following question: what was the U.S. military's most serious setback since 9/11? Few knowledgable experts would say anything other than the detainee abuse scandal known as Abu Ghraib. That this strategic military disaster did not involve force of arms, but rather centered on illegalities, indicates how law has evolved to become a decisive element -- and sometimes the decisive element -- of contemporary conflicts. It is not hard to understand why. Senior commanders readily characterized Abu Ghraib in customary military terms as clearly a defeat because its effect is indistinguishable from that imposed by traditional military clashes. No one debates that the revelations energized the insurgency and profoundly undermined the ability of U.S. forces to accomplish their mission. The exploitation of the incident by adversaries allowed it to become the perfect effects-based, asymmetrical operation that continues to present difficulties for American forces. In early 2009, for instance, a senior Iraqi official conceded that the name Abu Ghraib still left a bitter feeling inside Iraqis' heart. For international lawyers and others involved in national security matters, the transformational role of law is often captured under the aegis of the term lawfare. In fact, few concepts have risen more quickly to prominence than lawfare. As recently as 2001, there were only a handful of recorded uses of the term, and none were in today's context. By 2009, however, an Internet search produces nearly 60,000 hits. Unfortunately, lawfare has also generated its share of controversy.
Descriptors : *CONFLICT , *MILITARY LAW , NATIONAL SECURITY , ASYMMETRIC WARFARE , LAW ENFORCEMENT , INSURGENCY , REPRINTS , MILITARY FORCES(UNITED STATES) , MILITARY COMMANDERS
Subject Categories : Military Forces and Organizations
Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE