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The Impact of Law on Contemporary Military Operations–Sacrificing Security Interests on the Altar of Political Correctness?

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Chapter Summary

The law of armed conflict aims at "alleviating as much as possible the calamities of war". This chapter starts from the premise that governments continue to make use of their armed forces for legitimate-and sometimes illegitimate-reasons. In extreme cases the deployment of armed forces is advertised as a purely humanitarian operation. The fact that they are armed, trained and instructed to neutralize an enemy, i.e. to use deadly force, is concealed or only casually admitted. According to the position taken here, governments should be abundantly clear about the tasks assigned to their armed forces. If there is a political necessity for their deployment governments are under an obligation-vis-à-vis their allies, their civil societies and their armed forces-openly to admit that a certain political goal can only be achieved by the use of force even if that use of force is supplementary to political and other measures.

Keywords:armed forces; law of armed conflict; political necessity



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