Bugsplat : US standing rules of engagement, international humanitarian law, military necessity and noncombatant immunity
Neta C. Crawford
Just war, authority, tradition and practice
Washington : Georgetown University Press, 2013
p. 231-249 : graph.
This article examines how the United States (US) military’s organizational level processes shape, enable, and constrain its actions on the ground. These processes are especially relevant with regards to noncombatant immunity and civilian protection. The article shows how the jus in bello considerations of discrimination and proportionality are institutionalized in the US rules of engagement and standard operating procedures. These considerations shape targeting decisions by dictating the intensity, duration, and magnitude of force to be used, as well as permissible degrees of collateral damage. This article also explores the tension between the prohibition on harming civilians and the exceptions created for military necessity, arguing that the US generally views military necessity as the overriding principle. In light of this prioritization, the article questions what moral responsibility is owed for the incidental and unintended killing of noncombatants, both at the organizational level and on the ground. Also discussed is how the use of algorithms and operations has diffused moral responsibility. The article highlights the importance of critically examining the impact these processes have on the ground in order to recognize military processes that function as imperfect moral agents. [Summary by students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (IHRP)]
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