Targeting civilians and U.S. strategic bombing norms : plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ?
Neta C. Crawford
The American way of bombing : changing ethical and legal norms, from flying fortresses to drones
Ithaca (Etats-Unis) ; London : Cornell University Press, 2014
In this chapter Neta C. Crawford analyses the evolution of United States leaders' normative beliefs about targeting civilians with conventional strategic bombing and the evolution of the practices themselves. She argues that these have changed dramatically, from the belief that targeting civilians was militarily necessary and effective to the emergence of the norm of civilian immunity, with the Vietnam War being the turning point. She explores possible reasons for this change, including a new understanding of military necessity and the negative political effects of the loss of moral legitimacy that occurs when civilians are harmed through carelessness or deliberate intention, The Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Bosnia and Kosovo campaigns as well as post 9/11 wars provide further evidence to support these explanations for the change in bombing norms and practices.