Accession Number:

ADA525893

Title:

Morality and Modern Air War

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES

Report Date:

2000-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

6.0

Abstract:

The Armed Forces should promote morality in warfare, consistent with our cultural norms and national strategy of advancing democracy and the rule of law. Air operations can be conducted on the strategic and operational levels under just war principles while minimizing casualties on both sides and bringing a swift end to conflicts. This may require the military to institutionalize certain changes, develop new weaponry, and reconsider some operational procedures. There are two fundamental areas of just war theory jus ad bellum justification for going to war and jus in bello just conduct of war. In executing air campaigns, dilemmas revolve around the latter and focus on questions of military necessity and proportionality. Targets must not be attacked unless they are necessary to the outcome of a war. According to one writer, the necessity for war can only justify the killing of people we already have reason to think are liable to be killed. This present requires that noncombatant casualties be avoided. Non-combatants are personnel who do not directly serve in or support the military, such as those working in industry, supply, or administration. Bombardment that adversely affects noncombatants disproportionately to the necessity of destroying the intended targets is deemed immoral. Such effects range from targeting and striking noncombatants directly to inflicting short- or long-term detrimental effects on them. Simply stated, proportionality means that commanders must use appropriate weapons and tactics for the task at hand. Weapons that produce more damage than is required are prohibited. Proportionality is not only about excessive harm but weighing injury to the permanent interests of mankind against the contribution that mischief makes to the end of victory.

Subject Categories:

  • Weapons Effects (Biological)
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE