The counterinsurgent's constitution : law in the age of small wars
Oxford [etc.] : Oxford University Press, 2013
XV, 328 p. ; 25 cm
Since the "surge" in Iraq in 2006, counterinsurgency effectively became America's dominant approach for fighting wars. Yet many of the major controversies and debates surrounding counterinsurgency have turned not on military questions but on legal ones. The Counterinsurgent's Constitution tackles this wide range of legal issues from the vantage point of counterinsurgency strategy. Ganesh Sitaraman explains why law matters in counterinsurgency: how it operates on the ground and how law and counterinsurgency strategy can be better integrated. Counterinsurgency, Sitaraman notes, focuses on winning over the population, providing essential services, building political and legal institutions, and fostering economic development. So, unlike in conventional war, where law places humanitarian restraints on combat, law and counterinsurgency are well aligned and reinforce one another. Indeed, following the law and building the rule of law is not just the right thing to do, it is strategically beneficial. Moreover, reconciliation with enemies can both help to end the conflict and preserve the possibility of justice for war crimes. Following the rule of law is an important element of success.