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Executive & Military

“Proportionate” Collateral Damage and Why We Should Care About What Civilians Think

In their recent blog post “Surveying Proportionality: Whither the Reasonable Military Commander?” Laurie Blank, Geoffrey S. Corn, and Eric Jensen level three criticisms against the study of collateral damage with surveys, in general, and against the survey I recently started circulating entitled “The Meaning of Proportionate Collateral Damage” in particular.…   continue »

Surveying Proportionality: Whither the Reasonable Commander?

At least two surveys gathering information about “public perceptions” of proportionality and collateral damage are making their way around the international arena by way of blogs, social media, and email. The surveys (one of which is available here, the other appears to have been taken down from here.) present hypothetical targeting scenarios with varying amounts of civilian casualties and ask the responder to assess whether the attack is proportionate.…   continue »

No, Disguising Military Equipment As Civilian Objects to Help Kill Isn’t Perfidy

I read with great interest my friend Rogier Bartels’ long post arguing that it is perfidious to use a bomb planted in a civilian car to kill an enemy soldier. As Rogier notes, the post is his more formal contribution to a recent debate — here and in Opinio Juris — concerning the nature of perfidy involving him, me, Ian Henderson, Ryan Goodman, and Sarah Knuckey.…   continue »

Killing With Military Equipment Disguised as Civilian Objects is Perfidy, Part II

On Friday, I concluded that modifying a civilian-looking vehicle into a military object to attack an adversary could indeed amount to perfidy during an international armed conflict. This question was triggered by Ryan Goodman and Sarah Knuckey’s post on the 2008 killing of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah by the US and Israel where, among other things, they ask how using a car bomb differs from certain other means and methods of surprise attacks.…   continue »

Preparing for Cyber War: A Clarion Call

This post is the latest installment of our “Monday Reflections” feature, in which a different Just Security editor examines the big stories from the previous week or looks ahead to key developments on the horizon.

In every War College in the world, two core principles of military planning are that “hope is not a plan” and “the enemy gets a vote.” Any plan developed without sensitivity to these two maxims is doomed to fail.…   continue »