The American way of bombing

I’ve argued elsewhere (in ‘Lines of Descent’ [DOWNLOADS tab] and in ‘The American way of bombing?‘) that it’s important to situate any critical account of drones in a much longer history of air war, and a new book just out from Cornell University Press promises to do just that: The American Way of Bombing: changing ethical and legal norms from Flying Fortresses to drones, edited by Matthew Evangelista and Henry Shue.  And unlike rip-off academic-commercial publishers (most of them in the UK), this is available as an e-edition (Kindle, etc) at a perfectly reasonable price.

Here are the details:

Aerial bombardment remains important to military strategy, but the norms governing bombing and the harm it imposes on civilians have evolved. The past century has seen everything from deliberate attacks against rebellious villagers by Italian and British colonial forces in the Middle East to scrupulous efforts to avoid “collateral damage” in the counterinsurgency and antiterrorist wars of today. The American Way of Bombing brings together prominent military historians, practitioners, civilian and military legal experts, political scientists, philosophers, and anthropologists to explore the evolution of ethical and legal norms governing air warfare.

Focusing primarily on the United States—as the world’s preeminent military power and the one most frequently engaged in air warfare, its practice has influenced normative change in this domain, and will continue to do so—the authors address such topics as firebombing of cities during World War II; the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the deployment of airpower in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya; and the use of unmanned drones for surveillance and attacks on suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and elsewhere.

American way of bombing

Introduction: The American Way of Bombing
by Matthew Evangelista

Part I. Historical and Theoretical Perspectives

1. Strategic Bombardment: Expectation, Theory, and Practice in the Early Twentieth Century
by Tami Davis Biddle

2. Bombing Civilians after World War II: The Persistence of Norms against Targeting Civilians in the Korean War
by Sahr Conway-Lanz

3. Targeting Civilians and U.S. Strategic Bombing Norms: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?
by Neta C. Crawford

4. The Law Applies, But Which Law?: A Consumer Guide to the Laws of War
by Charles Garraway

Part II. Interpreting, Criticizing, and Creating Legal Restrictions

5. Clever or Clueless?: Observations about Bombing Norm Debates
by Charles J. Dunlap Jr.

6. The American Way of Bombing and International Law: Two Logics of Warfare in Tension
by Janina Dill

7. Force Protection, Military Advantage, and “Constant Care” for Civilians: The 1991 Bombing of Iraq
by Henry Shue

8. Civilian Deaths and American Power: Three Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan
by Richard W. Miller

Part III. Constructing New Norms

9. Proportionality and Restraint on the Use of Force: The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations
by Margarita H. Petrova

10. Toward an Anthropology of Drones: Remaking Space, Time, and Valor in Combat
by Hugh Gusterson

11. What’s Wrong with Drones?: The Battlefield in International Humanitarian Law
by Klem Ryan

12. Banning Autonomous Killing: The Legal and Ethical Requirement That Humans Make Near-Time Lethal Decisions
by Mary Ellen O’Connell

One thought on “The American way of bombing

  1. Pingback: Legitimate targets? | geographical imaginations

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