Concerns for the lives of soldiers and innocent civilians have come to underpin Western, and particularly American, warfare. Yet this new mode of conflict faces a dilemma: these two norms have opened new areas of vulnerability that have been systematically exploited by non-state adversaries. This strategic behaviour creates a trade-off, forcing decision-makers to have to choose between saving soldiers and civilians in target states. Sebastian Kaempf examines the origin and nature of this dilemma, and in a detailed analysis of the US conflicts in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, investigates the ways the US has responded, assessing the legal, moral, and strategic consequences. Scholars and students of military and strategic studies, international relations and peace and conflict studies will be interested to read Kaempf's analysis of whether the US or its adversaries have succeeded in responding to this central dilemma of contemporary warfare.
Sebastian Kaempf is Senior Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. His research interests are in international security, peace and conflict studies, the ethics and the laws of war, and the impact of digital new media technology on contemporary security. He has won an Australian national award for teaching excellence (AAUT) and is the convener of the massive open online course (MOOC) 'MediaWarX'.
Introduction; 1. US warfare and civilian protection; 2. US warfare and casualty-aversion; 3. The interactive dynamics of asymmetric conflicts; 4. Case study I: the US intervention in Somalia; 5. Case study II: the US war in Afghanistan; 6. Case study III: the US war in Iraq; Conclusion.