Bugsplat: The Politics of Collateral Damage in Western Armed Conflicts

Bugsplat: The Politics of Collateral Damage in Western Armed Conflicts

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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.