Conferences: 2001

Humanitarian Challenges in Military Intervention – November 29-30, 2001

NSHR Conference ParticipantThis workshop focused on the United States' use of airpower during the past decade in the Persian Gulf, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. While these operations were highly successful, they raised strategic and tactical concerns about airpower's impact on civilians.

Airpower has been lauded for its ability to produce results while limiting collateral damage, and it has been criticized as a risk-adverse military response that falls short of its promise to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. Workshop participants discussed the ways in which the use of airpower has changed over time, the impact of international law, target selection, tradeoffs between humanitarian concerns and operational success, the process of evaluating and learning from military operations, and the challenges of creating a dialogue between the military and human rights communities.

agenda  |  participant list  |  conference report

Working Papers

Air War and Humanitarian Concerns
By Phillip Meilinger

Colonel Meilinger addresses early theories regarding air war's probable effects on noncombatants, and describes what happened to civilians from World War II and onward in practice. He also identifies changing perceptions of what is permissible in war, and describes some future challenges to air operations.

Operation Deliberate Force:
A Case Study on Humanitarian Constraints in Aerospace Warfare

By Colonel Robert C. Owen, USAF

Colonel Owen examines Operation Deliberate Force, the 1995 NATO air campaign against the Bosnian Serbs, as a case study to evaluate the implementation and impact of humanitarian constraints in air warfare. On the whole, humanitarian constraints did not debilitate the tactical execution of Deliberate Force, and the humanitarian conduct of the campaign was a vital underpinning of its strategic success.

Law and Military Interventions: Preserving Humanitarian Values in 21st Century Conflicts
By Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF

Colonel Dunlap aims to show that law is not - and can never be - the vehicle to ameliorate the horror of war to the extent its advocates hope and, indeed, seem to expect; and that there is disturbing evidence that the rule of law is being hijacked into just another way of fighting (lawfare), to the detriment of humanitarian values as well as the law itself.

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