Academic journal article Military Review

The American Way of Bombing: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms, from Flying Fortresses to Drones

Academic journal article Military Review

The American Way of Bombing: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms, from Flying Fortresses to Drones

Article excerpt

THE AMERICAN WAY OF BOMBING: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms, from Flying Fortresses to Drones

Edited by Matthew Evangelista and Henry Shue, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 2014, 328 pages

The book The American Way of Bombing provides an analysis of the American aerial bombing philosophy since it was introduced as a means to wage war; it offers a discourse on the second- and third-order effects that have been created--specifically in the areas of legality, morality, and the establishment of norms. The author and his contributors completed extensive research and analysis on these topics.

The book is arranged in three parts. Part 1 examines the historical and theoretical perspectives of aerial bombing during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and since 9/11; it goes into detail of how aerial bombing was used and what targets it was used against. The editors also lay out the appropriate international legal frameworks and address the various aspects of the laws that attempted to create acceptable norms for bombing during war.

In part 2, Evangelista and Shue attempt to interpret, and to look critically, at the existing laws governing the use of aerial bombing. They examine the impact of bombing on the civilian population and the geographic infrastructure, and they delve into how the extensive damage done by bombing has an order of magnitude effect on the population for years to come. The editors make numerous claims that the effects of aerial bombing often far outweigh the military necessity cited as the reason for the bombing's authorization. …

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