Two Dogmas of the New War Thesis

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This article argues that the new war thesis has promulgated at least two dogmas that permeate present day military ethical discourse. First, since the early 20th century, civilian casualties have gradually come to represent an increasing percentage of the overall casualties in warfare. The second dogma is that there has been an increase in 'risk-transfer war' , which assumes that governments are more willing to risk the lives of noncombatants than the lives of their soldiers. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate why these empirical claims are problematic. First, we do not yet have the kind of reliable data that would allow us to make accurate claims about trends in civilian casualties. And secondly, a cursory glance at the history of warfare provides us with numerous examples of risk transfer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Military History and Historiography
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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