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‘Non-lethal’ weapons and the occupation of Iraq: technology, ethics and law

‘Non-lethal’ weapons and the occupation of Iraq: technology, ethics and law
‘Non-lethal’ weapons and the occupation of Iraq: technology, ethics and law
The occupation of Iraq is a challenging task for the United States (US) military, which is considering resort to options other than lethal force as a possible just response. From the outset, the notion that a weapon can be deemed ‘non-lethal’ is problematic. Some weapons intended to leave their target alive often have lethal consequences and other weapons intended to have lethal effects often do not kill their target. This article explores ethical and legal challenges that arise from the potential use by US forces in Iraq of two classes of so-called ‘non-lethal’ weapons: incapacitating chemical agents and dazzling laser devices. Such challenges are highly relevant to questions about the role of Just War theory in the context of modern warfare. In particular, they beg the question whether the use of non-lethal weapons supports or subverts the jus in bello requirement that war be waged in a discriminate and proportionate fashion.
0955-7571
199-215
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6

Enemark, Christian (2008) ‘Non-lethal’ weapons and the occupation of Iraq: technology, ethics and law. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21 (2), 199-215. (doi:10.1080/09557570802020974).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The occupation of Iraq is a challenging task for the United States (US) military, which is considering resort to options other than lethal force as a possible just response. From the outset, the notion that a weapon can be deemed ‘non-lethal’ is problematic. Some weapons intended to leave their target alive often have lethal consequences and other weapons intended to have lethal effects often do not kill their target. This article explores ethical and legal challenges that arise from the potential use by US forces in Iraq of two classes of so-called ‘non-lethal’ weapons: incapacitating chemical agents and dazzling laser devices. Such challenges are highly relevant to questions about the role of Just War theory in the context of modern warfare. In particular, they beg the question whether the use of non-lethal weapons supports or subverts the jus in bello requirement that war be waged in a discriminate and proportionate fashion.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 13 April 2008
Published date: June 2008
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400218
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400218
ISSN: 0955-7571
PURE UUID: ffddb0da-5c8f-4114-b65b-ba8ff9432b65
ORCID for Christian Enemark: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1833-0927

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Sep 2016 15:35
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:15

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