Non-Fiction Books:


The Politics of Collateral Damage in Western Armed Conflicts


Paperback / softback

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Bugsplat by Bruce Cronin

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Why do states who are committed to the principle of civilian immunity and the protection of non-combatants end up killing and injuring large numbers of civilians during their military operations? Bugsplat explains this paradox through an in-depth examination of five conflicts fought by Western powers since 1989. It argues that despite the efforts of Western military organizations to comply with the laws of armed conflict, the level of collateral damage produced by Western military operations is the inevitable outcome of the strategies and methods through which their military organizations fight wars. Drawing on their superior technology and the strategic advantage of not having to fight on their own territory, such states employ highly-concentrated and overwhelming military force against a wide variety of political, economic, and military targets under conditions likely to produce high civilian casualties. As a result, collateral damage in western-fought wars is largely both foreseeable and preventable. The book title is derived from the name of a computer program that had been used by the Pentagon to calculate probable civilian casualties prior to launching air attacks.

Author Biography

Bruce Cronin is Professor of Political Science at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and conducted his post-doctoral research at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. He has published extensively on international law, human rights, international organization, and international security. He is the author of Institutions for the Common Good: International Protection Regimes in International Society; Community Under Anarchy: Transnational Identity and the Evolution of Cooperation; and co-editor of The UN Security Council and the Politics of International Authority.
Release date NZ
April 18th, 2018
Country of Publication
United States
Oxford University Press Inc
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