Academic journal article Military Review

The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars

Academic journal article Military Review

The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars

Article excerpt

THE COUNTERINSURGENT'S CONSTITUTION: Law in the Age of Small Wars Ganesh Sitaraman, Oxford University Press, New York, 2012, 352 pages

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Ganesh Sitaraman's book tackles the complex issue of the application of law, not only during small wars in the modern age, but also during the development of said law from the ground up. He approached his subject via three distinct "gates" in which each provides background and structure for the next; this method presents and develops his arguments. His sections: "The Law of War," "From War to Peace" and "The Reconstruction of Order," are in and of themselves incredibly complex and worthy of comprehensive individual examination.

The author's central theme throughout the book focuses on the critical interdependence between the three pillars of his Counterinsurgency Constitution: legitimacy, law, and war. While undertaking counterinsurgent operations, all three of these aspects must be approached concurrently if conditions are to be achieved whereby the counterinsurgent can revert responsibility back to the central government, police, and national judiciary and, ultimately, stand down. As one progresses through Sitaramans book, it becomes increasingly clear how challenging and difficult it is to achieve the tenants he is espousing; he is, in effect, providing a framework within which the nature of warfare, as traditionally understood, is realigned.

The ideas are presented to the reader in a linear fashion but with multiple "lanes" That is to say, the author identifies a concept and pursues it to a logical and linear conclusion, facilitating understanding for the reader. …

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