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Title: Discrimination in modern asymmetric conflict : a Christian moral analysis
Author: Gliniecki, Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 0947
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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The task of discrimination in war is a non-static phenomenon. It changes with the character of war, which itself changes with developments in cultures, international relations, how states organise for war, innovations in doctrines, technologies and tactics etc. Fundamental changes to war's character necessitate some moral revision, and modern asymmetric conflict (MAC) is the latest fundamental change. MAC is characterised by forces from developed countries fighting unconventional, often non-state adversaries that flout moral and legal norms, and deliberately exploit immoral, unlawful and repugnant tactics. My analysis of the relevant ethics of Paul Ramsey, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and James Turner Johnson - which, respectively, treats the form of war most similar to MAC, addresses an earlier fundamental change in the character of war, and comprises an important assessment of MAC - as well as touching on other Christian and secular contributions, discerns that there is insufficient Christian moral guidance to address the questions raised about discrimination in MAC. Thinking out of Christian just-war tradition, I focus on the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) network to expose novel ethical issues concerning discrimination in MAC. I argue that by not revealing their combatant status, those enabling the prosecution of IED attacks, and by extension broader combat functions, should lose or at least jeopardise any absolute non-combatant immunity. I then proceed to explain how conventional forces can discriminate morally, while their irregular and less scrupulous adversaries do not. This includes enhancing the rule of double effect by exploiting predictive analytics; overcoming the enemy's erosion of non-combatant immunity and the inviolability of national borders; empowering soldiers to act discriminately through a simple, moral foundation; equalising the legal accountability of the opposing forces, rather than unfairly pursuing soldiers only from developed countries; and, finally, establishing a level of military supererogation that reflects this new form of conflict, where minimising civilian casualties is a key measure of success.
Supervisor: Biggar, Nigel Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Discrimination ; Christian Just-War Tradition ; Asymmetric War