Precision-Guided Munitions and Human Suffering in War

by James E. Hickey

Book cover for Precision-Guided Munitions and Human Suffering in War

James Hickey proceeds from the premise that throughout history, humans have demonstrated a proclivity for using violence against one another as a means to achieve an end, means enabled, in many respects, by the technologies available at the time. Advancing technology has often been a prime enabler of ever-increasing levels of violence and attendant human suffering. At a few junctures in history, however, certain technologies have seemingly provided the armed forces that possess them the ability to fight wars with decreasing levels of violence and suffering. Today, precision-guided munitions (PGMs) with their high degree of discrimination and accuracy again hold such promise. This book seeks to answer the question: Do PGMs mitigate suffering in war, and have these weapons changed the way decisions regarding war and peace have been made? Answering this question helps us understand possible shifts in emphasis in modern warfare, both in terms of methods employed and of the greater concern placed on limiting human suffering during conflict. This book will help students of ethics, just war and military history and senior military and civilian leaders to understand the possible outcomes and wider implications of their strategic choices to use such technology.

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