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Killing Civilians

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Killing Civilians

Method, Madness, and Morality in War



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Killing Civilians: Method, Madness, and Morality in War by Hugo Slim
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When civilians suffer in war, it is often a deliberate act. Massacres, rape, displacement, famine, and disease are the strategic decisions of political and military leaders who make civilians their targets in order to gain the upper hand in battle. Yet there still exists the precious and fragile belief-ingrained in modern international law-that unarmed and innocent people should be protected in war, even if, in practice, the principle of civil immunity is often ignored or rejected. Hoping to rectify this injustice, Hugo Slim uses detailed historical and contemporary examples to reveal the many ways civilians suffer in war. A leading commentator on international humanitarian action and the protection of civilians in war, Slim analyzes the anti-civilian ideologies that encourage and perpetuate suffering and exposes the exploitation of moral ambiguity that is used to sanction extreme hostility. At what point does killing civilians become part of winning a war? Why are some methods of killing used while others are avoided? Bolstering his claims with hard fact, Slim argues that civilian casualties are not only morally reprehensible but also bad military science. His book is a clarion call for action and a passionate defense of civil immunity, a concept that is more urgent and necessary today than ever before.

Table of Contents

Contents:PART I: DIFFERENT ATTITUDES TO WAR1. Limited Warfare and Its RivalsPART II: SEVEN SPHERES OF CIVILIAN SUFFERING2. Killing and Rape3. Movement, Impoverishment, Famine, Disease, and DistressPART III: REASONS FOR KILLING CIVILIANS4. Anti-civilian Ideologies5. Civilian Ambiguity6. Doing the KillingPART IV: ARGUING FOR LIMITED WAR7. Promoting Civilian Protection

Author Biography

Hugo Slim was recently the chief scholar at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, a conflict resolution organization that mediates in civil wars and advises on peace processes.
Release date Australia
February 15th, 2010
Country of Publication
United States
Columbia University Press
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