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Pursuing Moral Warfare: Ethics in American, British, and Israeli Counterinsurgency, Marcus Schulzke

Reviewed by Steven Metz

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Most advanced militaries are optimized for conventional warfighting against the armed forces of other nations, but recently, some have been used for counterinsurgency. This is a challenge: even under the best of circumstances, counterinsurgency is difficult, but especially for a military organized and trained for something different. In conventional warfighting, success comes from rapid maneuver and from identifying and destroying enemy military targets. Often superior training and advanced weaponry decide the outcome. Counterinsurgency is different. While killing enemy fighters may be necessary, it is not the key to success—creating support for the government and sustainable security are. The psychological battlespace is decisive. And because much of counterinsurgency takes place among the local people, the ethical dimension is crucial.

Despite this, the ethics of counterinsurgency have not been analyzed deeply and rigorously, either in academic studies or military doctrine. Pursuing Moral Warfare addresses this lacuna by weaving together ethical theory, recent history, and solid empirical research. Marcus Schulzke begins with a grounding in the major schools of ethical thought, providing enough explanation that even a reader who has not explored philosophy in depth can grasp his argument. The body of the book then applies this theoreti

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