Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=482027
 


 



The Role of the United States Military Lawyer in Projecting a Vision of the Laws of War


Kenneth Anderson


American University - Washington College of Law; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; Brookings Institution - Governance Studies


Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 2003

Abstract:     
This article discusses the role of the United States military lawyer in projecting a moral vision of the laws of war, rather than simply acting in a technical and purely lawyerly fashion. The article argues that it is essential that US military lawyers acting in laws of war matters, and especially acting in diplomacy related to laws of war treaties, be willing to project the moral vision which underlies US military interpretations of the laws of war, beyond pure legalism, in order to compete with the moral visions of the laws of war expressed by human rights and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who, believing that they represent humanity in the abstract, rather than some set of parochially national interests, therefore believe that the interpretation, enunciation, evolution, and ownership of the laws of war properly belongs to NGOs and not to military establishments, and not to the US military establishment in particular. The article considers the cases of the Ottawa convention banning landmines, the International Criminal Court debates, and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo to critique the failure of US military lawyers to assert a moral vision of the laws of war that goes beyond mere national interest or the interest of the United States as a client. It concludes with a call for US military lawyers and their institutional government client to find a role for military lawyers to express a moral vision based around the core concept of the protection of noncombatants, and move beyond mere legalism.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: Laws of War, international humanitarian law, Geneva Conventions, military lawyers, nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, human rights, war, International Criminal Court, Protocol I, landmines, Guantanamo detainees

JEL Classification: K33, L30, L31

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Date posted: December 30, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Kenneth, The Role of the United States Military Lawyer in Projecting a Vision of the Laws of War. Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=482027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.482027

Contact Information

Kenneth Anderson (Contact Author)
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
Brookings Institution - Governance Studies
1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
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