This essay contends that while the increasing influence of law on armed conflict since 9/11 generally operates to diminish the human suffering that warfare traditionally occasions, there are nevertheless some disturbing trends that deserve considered attention. Among the concerns are misplaced actions that encourage behaviors that may, over time, prove profoundly inimical to the fundamental purposes of International law of armed conflict (ILOAC). In particular, this article contends that ILOACs efforts to grapple with the challenge of non-state actors engaged in armed conflict and terroristic acts is too often having the perverse effect of seeming to reward noncompliance with ILOAC, and thus—paradoxically—incentivizing further violations of the law. All the same, this article will also point out positive evolutions such as the increasing importance of military lawyers, and their growing ability to influence military operations. Finally, the essay will offer some predictions as to the direction of the law in the next decade and beyond.
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