Home » The Law of War: Can 20th-Century Standards Apply to the Global War on Terrorism? by US Army (Retired) Lieutenant Colonel David P. Cavaleri
The Law of War: Can 20th-Century Standards Apply to the Global War on Terrorism? US Army (Retired) Lieutenant Colonel David P. Cavaleri

The Law of War: Can 20th-Century Standards Apply to the Global War on Terrorism?

US Army (Retired) Lieutenant Colonel David P. Cavaleri

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118 pages
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 About the Book 

The Law of War: Can 20th-Century Standards Apply to the Global War on Terrorism? is the ninth offering in the Combat Studies Institute’s (CSI) Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) Occasional Papers series. Mr. David Cavaleri, a retired Armor lieutenantMoreThe Law of War: Can 20th-Century Standards Apply to the Global War on Terrorism? is the ninth offering in the Combat Studies Institute’s (CSI) Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) Occasional Papers series. Mr. David Cavaleri, a retired Armor lieutenant colonel and CSI historian, has produced a study that examines the evolution and continued applicability of the corpus, both conventional and customary, that constitutes the law of war. As background, Mr. Cavaleri provides a theoretical framework and the development of the law within Western and, specifically, US Army doctrine and regulation. He then presents a case study of the British suppression of the Mau Mau insurgency in 1950s Kenya, a conflict with particular resonance today. Some of the more relevant characteristics of the “emergency,” as it was called, include the clash between Western and non-Western cultures and an initially asymmetric fight between conventional security forces and loosely organized, poorly equipped insurgents.The genesis of this study is the public discourse, both explicit and implicit, asserting the possibility that the GWOT may require new rules and new law-of-war prescripts. This important discussion is fraught with complexities and long-term implications- the moral force in warfare is incredibly significant and any changes to the legal framework in place must be very carefully considered.Do we follow the law of war to the letter, do we remain “consistent with the principles of Geneva,” or do we approach the conflict as a new challenge requiring fundamental revisions to the law? These are the options Mr. Cavaleri addresses, and we are pleased to contribute this Occasional Paper to the debate.Thomas T. SmithColonel, InfantryDirector, Combat Studies Institute