Images from Baghdad's now notorious Abu Ghraib prison have come to define the ill-starred occupation of Iraq, but they also remind us of war's undiminished brutality and indiscriminate excess. Yet, what happened in Abu Ghraib took place, sometimes on a huge scale, during World War II and later in Kenya, Algeria, Vietnam, Bosnia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Chechnya, bearing witness to our capacity to act in barbarous ways if circumstances permit. What drives people to mistreat, humiliate and torment each other? In an age when violence and torture are becoming addictive media spectacles, now more than ever should we investigate brutality and inhumanity in times of war. With original contributions from world-class scholars, this book raises disturbing questions: Can warfare be anything other than barbaric? Are we all human, or are some of us less human than others in wartime? Can torture ever be justified? "The Barbarisation of Warfare" is a provocative and hard-hitting analysis of the human misery and complex moral dimensions of modern warfare.
George Kassimeris is a Senior Research Fellow in Conflict and Terrorism at the University of Wolverhampton, England. He is currently working on a biography of Greece's first socialist prime minister Andreas Papandreou, to be published by Hurst. He writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal Europe, the International Herald Tribune and the Independent.