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The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islamby Akbar Ahmed
Synopses & Reviews
During the past decade, armed drones have entered the American military arsenal as a core tactic for countering terrorism. When coupled with access to reliable information, they make it possible to deploy lethal force accurately across borders while keeping oneandrsquo;s own soldiers out of harmandrsquo;s way. The potential to direct force with great precision also offers the possibility of reducing harm to civilians. At the same time, because drones eliminate some of the traditional constraints on the use of forceandmdash;like the need to gain political support for full mobilizationandmdash;they lower the threshold for launching military strikes. The development of drone use capacity across dozens of countries increases the need for global standards on the use of these weapons to assure that their deployment is strategically wise and ethically and legally sound.
Presenting a robust conversation among leading scholars in the areas of international legal standards, counterterrorism strategy, humanitarian law, and the ethics of force, Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict takes account of current American drone campaigns and the developing legal, ethical, and strategic implications of this new way of warfare. Among the contributions to this volume are a thorough examination of the American governmentandrsquo;s legal justifications for the targeting of enemies using drones, an analysis of American drone campaignsandrsquo; notable successes and failures, and a discussion of the linked issues of human rights, freedom of information, and government accountability.
Former secretary of defense Leon Panetta once described cyber warfare as andldquo;the most serious threat in the twenty-first century,andrdquo; capable of destroying our entire infrastructure and crippling the nation.
Already, major cyber attacks have affected countries around the world: Estonia in 2007, Georgia in 2008, Iran in 2010, and most recently the United States. As with other methods of war, cyber technology can be used not only against military forces and facilities but also against civilian targets. Information technology has enabled a new method of warfare that is proving extremely difficult to combat, let alone defeat.
And yet cyber warfare is still in its infancy, with innumerable possibilities and contingencies for how such conflicts may play out in the coming decades. Brian M. Mazanec examines the worldwide development of constraining norms for cyber war and predicts how those norms will unfold in the future. Employing case studies of other emerging-technology weaponsandmdash;chemical and biological, strategic bombing, and nuclear weaponryandmdash;Mazanec expands previous understandings of norm-evolution theory, offering recommendations for U.S. policymakers and citizens alike as they grapple with the reality of cyber terrorism in our own backyard.
About the Author
David Cortright is director of policy studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books, including Ending Obama's War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan. Rachel Fairhurst and Kristen Wall are former research assistants at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
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History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception