Moral Conduct in War

Topics: Laws of war, War, Asymmetric warfare Pages: 6 (2262 words) Published: December 3, 2013

The Conduct of War
The tensions between the United States and Canada have been extremely high, since the accusations started by both countries of sending terrorists into eachs countries oil production facilities. On June 2017 after mysterious explosions and fired destroyed the North Dakota town of Willistin, the united states, claiming self defense, declared war on Canada. The European union negotiated a truce but irritated Canadian civilians are now waging guerilla warfare in hopes of restarting the American-Canadian War. The Combat Brigade Team (CBD) is in charge of launching a counterinsurgency campaign against the Canadian guerillas that want to provoke the US military into war, and has asked me to prepare rules of engagement brief for the brigade. I will have to undertake the different positions between the two junior officers, Michael L. Gross and Steven P. Lee, and explain what conduct in war and the rules of war should be in, in terms of the jus in bello principles and the basic tenants of international humanitarian law (IHL). Explaining how war should be conducted is based on using the jus in bello principles of the just war tradition along with the principles of IHL, and how Gross and Lee consider these guidelines in conducting war. While both Gross and Lee use the jus in bello principles and IHL to justify and explain their stances on conducting warfare, they view them very differently as Gross wants to expand the number of people who can be targeted, Lee is looking to do the exact opposite, saving more innocent lives, while holding the same goal of conducting a counterinsurgency campaign to stop the Canadian guerillas. “Sides will always ask whether they might violate humanitarian imperatives to gain a military advantage”, says junior officer lieutenant Michael L. Gross. (Gross 239). This is a rather touch accusation and important point to research and understand. In recognizing the rules and conduct of war, we must realize how important the jus in bello principles and the IHL are in this discussion. A war is justly fought only if the military means used to wage it are proportionate to the tasks of winning the war and cause no gratuitous harm or unnecessary suffering. This takes into account the principles of proportionality and military necessity. In terms of military necessity Gross states “necessity forces us to redraw the lines of who is an acceptable target” (Gross 91). Gross asks what is necessary in order to wage asymmetric conflict and then how necessity as newly defined by fighting a non-conventional enemy is forcing us to reconsider humanitarian principles in asymmetric warfare. “While torture, assassination, and blackmail may have started their lives as exceptions to the established norms of conventional warfare, there are many signs that they are evolving into rules” (Gross 234). Because of the new ways of war, old principles have to change and one of the principles that must shift is necessity, where a fighting power must use almost unlimited ways to beat the enemy. This sole statement is giving humanitarian principles second importance in discussing what the conduct of war should be. Humanitarianism prohibits unnecessary harm to combatants and unnecessary and direct harm to noncombatants. “Asymmetric war does not change these principles” Gross states, “but it does strongly affect how we define their terms” (Gross 246). Here the U.S. will be fighting Canadian guerillas and it will be difficult to separate combatants from non-combatants. Instead of looking for a way to not risk harming innocent civilians, Gross says that these civilians find themselves at risk from many different types of harm, and declares, “The principle of non-combatant immunity protects civilian noncombatants from direct lethal harm but may expose them to nonlethal injuries” (Gross 247). The fact that since these innocent civilians are not exposed to the risk of lethal harm, their risk of nonlethal harm will be a must if...

Cited: Gross, Michael L. Moral Dilemmas of Modern War. New York City: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Lee, Steven P. Ethics and War An Introduction. New York City: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Woods, Mark. Handout Proportionality. 2013. 1-2.
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