Rules of Engagement and Abusive Citizens

PRISM 4, No. 4. pp. 87-102.

16 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2014

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: April 22, 2014


In light of contemporary asymmetric conflicts, the concept that combatants necessarily distinguish themselves from the civilian population is obsolete. International law and normative consensus, however, have so far failed to accommodate this shift and continue to assume that war takes place between national troops that clearly identify themselves as such. This article examines the rules of engagement in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2011 and advocates the creation of a new category of "abusive citizens" to encompass those individuals who sporadically engage in combat while simultaneously seeking to benefit from their civilian status. The article further holds that this new normative precept should be codified in international law through a new Geneva Convention and should furthermore be adopted in the media.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, Rules of Engagement and Abusive Citizens (April 22, 2014). PRISM 4, No. 4. pp. 87-102. . Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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