Military strategy : the blind spot of international humanitarian law
Host item entries:
Harvard national security journal, Vol. 8, issue 2, 2017, p. 333-378
The stated agenda of IHL is to humanize the theater of war. Since the strategic level of war most affects war’s conduct, one might have expected IHL to focus upon it. Paradoxically, the prevailing law generally ignores the strategic plane and assesses the conduct of war through a tactical lens. This disregard of military strategy has a price that can be clearly observed in the prevailing law of targeting. This Article challenges the current blind spot of the law: its disregard of the direct consequences of war strategy and the war aims deriving from it. It asks those who want to comprehensively reduce war’s hazards to leverage military strategy as a constraining tool. The effect of the suggested approach will be demonstrated through and analysis of targeting rules, where the restrictive attributes of military strategy, which could play a key role in limiting targeting, have been overlooked.