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[casi] U.S. doctrine, ethics and legality

Dear Colleagues,

Here is a non-anonymous source to help us judge the attitude of the U.S.
government towards destroying Article 54 infrastructure. My greatest concern
is that the slaughter of civilians (indirect but predictable to the point of
inevitability) of 1991 will repeat unless we act to prevent it. If you feel
that the arguments are credible and humane, may I suggest rotating the nouns
-- would an attack to render useless the water system of a Western power ever
be ethical and legal?
   Note that while the author cites Protocol 1, he artfully refrains from
citing Article 54 of Protocol 1.

   For a really tragic irony, note at page 9, the humane effects of smart
munitions which reduced the number of civilians killed directly to "only"

   Question: is the article seriously proposing that bombing to reduce
civilian morale DOES NOT contravene international norms re terrorism?

   Finally, please note the disclaimer at the end of the article and assess
its  cogency if it had appeared at the end of a similar article from an
offical rogue state from the axis of evil. Would the disclaimer prevent a Bush
posse + poodle preemtive strike?

Here's the start of the article, followed by the url for the entire article.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Document created: 1 May 01
Air & Space Power Chronicles - Contributor's Corner

Bombing Dual-Use Targets:
Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal Perspectives
Kenneth R. Rizer

With the technological development of precision-guided munitions (PGMs),
stealth technology, and satellite-aided navigation, aerial bombardment has
become more precise than ever before. A US stealth fighter with a single,
laser-guided bomb, for example, can now destroy a target that in WWII required
4500 B-17 sorties dropping 9000 bombs.1 While this increased precision is a
welcome development for air campaign planners wishing to apply the military
principle of ‘economy of force,’ it has the added benefit of simplifying
compliance with legal and ethical requirements to minimize ‘collateral
damage,’ or the unintended bombing of non-combatants and non-military

One might think that this precision would silence all but the most pacifistic
of airpower critics, shifting debate from jus in bello arguments of just and
legal means of using airpower to the jus ad bellum regime of justifying force
in the first place. Instead, the success of precision attack has highlighted a
gray area within the jus in bello paradigm: the legitimacy of destroying
targets, such as electrical power facilities, that impact both military
operations and civilian lives. A key example of such dual-use targeting was
the destruction of Iraqi electrical power facilities in Desert Storm. While
crippling Iraq’s military command and control capability, destruction of these
facilities shut down water purification and sewage treatment plants. As a
result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out,2 leading
to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant
mortality rate.3 Given such effects on non-combatants, are electrical power
facilities legitimate military targets? Does airpower doctrine acknowledge,
support, or condemn such indirect effects? Must air campaign planners weigh
these indirect effects in their target selection process?

For the entire article please go to:


T. Nagy, Ph.D.
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
where the "reliable but unnamed source" is the norm.

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