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Cambridge University Press
Death by Moderation: The U.S. Military's Quest for Useable Weapons

Death by Moderation: The U.S. Military's Quest for Useable Weapons

by David A. Koplow


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Death by Moderation: The U.S. Military's Quest for Useable Weapons

This book addresses an important but little-noticed phenomenon in the revolutionary world of military technology. Across a wide range of otherwise-unrelated weapons programs, the Pentagon is now pursuing arms that are deliberately crafted to be less powerful, less deadly, and less destructive than the systems they are designed to supplement or replace. This direction is historically anomalous; military forces generally pursue ever-bigger bangs, but the modern conditions of counter-insurgency warfare and military operations "other than war" (such as peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance) demand a military capable of modulated force. By providing a capacity to intervene deftly yet effectively, the new generations of "useable" weaponry should enable the U.S. military to accomplish its demanding missions in a manner consistent with legal obligations, public relations realities, and political constraints. Five case studies are provided, regarding precision-guided "smart bombs," low-yield nuclear weapons, self-neutralizing anti-personnel land mines, directed-energy anti-satellite weapons, and non-lethal weapons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521119511
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/31/2009
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David A. Koplow is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and Director of the Center for Applied Legal Studies, in which students represent refugees who seek political asylum in the United States due to persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion in their homelands. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1978, he served the U.S. government in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1978–81, as Attorney-Adviser and as Special Assistant to the Director) and in the Department of Defense (1997–99, as Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs). In the latter capacity, he was the senior legal specialist for top Pentagon leadership on the full array of international legal issues, including the use of military force in the Persian Gulf and in Kosovo, the negotiation and implementation of treaties, the law of the sea, the programs of military cooperation and assistance, and the law of outer space. He has published many articles in law journals dealing with treaties and U.S. constitutional law and published books on national security and arms control policy.

Table of Contents

1. Revolutionary weapons and transformed war; 2. Deterrence and self-deterrence; 3. The law of armed conflict; 4. Precision-guided munitions; 5. Low-yield nuclear weapons; 6. Smart anti-personnel land mines; 7. Anti-satellite weapons; 8. Non-lethal weapons; 9. What to do about useability.

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