The Role of Military Culture in Civilian Victimization during Counterinsurgency: Examining the Ugandan Civil Wars
51 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2012 Last revised: 22 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
Abstract: What is the role of military culture in shaping state civilian victimization in counterinsurgency? In this paper I focus on the historical cases of the 1980s Ugandan civil wars to conduct two tests of the validity of MCCR theory: first, a comparative case study of the Ugandan National Liberation Army (UNLA) and National Resistance Army (NRA), and second, a least-likely test of the NRA counterinsurgency. I find that a military culture of civilian respect (MCCR) can explain state military behavior toward civilians better than competing theories of civilian victimization. Moreover, I find that MCCR seems to explain the NRA’s behavior better than the resource endowment theory of rebel behavior, despite the NRA’s being a central case for the resource endowment theory. Additionally, I show how the NRA case leads to a broadened conceptualization of MCCR: military cultures of civilian respect may govern even non-professionalized military behavior. Finally, I examine how the NRA case demonstrates three mechanisms by which MCCR may be established: high-level military leadership interest, pervasive norm training programs, and norm enforcement structures. Thus, the NRA case opens the door to future research on the mechanisms and effects of MCCR.
Keywords: Uganda, counterinsurgency, civilian victimization
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