The Moral Foundations of Restraint: Partisanship, Military Training, and Norms of Civilian Protection

Published in Journal of Peace Research (2022): https://doi.org/10.1177/00223433211059061

41 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2021 Last revised: 26 May 2022

See all articles by Andrew M. Bell

Andrew M. Bell

Indiana University- Bloomington; University College London

Thomas Gift

University College London

Jonathan Monten

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA)

Date Written: August 11, 2021

Abstract

How does partisan identification shape the attitudes of U.S. military officers toward targeting civilians in war? Drawing on unique surveys of soon-to-be commissioned officers in twelve Army ROTC programs, we find that Democratic-leaning soldiers exhibit greater emphasis on norms of civilian protection -- known also as norms of restraint -- than Republican-leaning soldiers. This gap remains partially resilient after sustained exposure to military training and socialization. We attribute these partisan differences to insights from Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), which suggests that the moral values of Democrats and Republicans guide their views toward the individual use of force in combat. Our findings have implications for the impact of military training and socialization on restraint toward civilians in war.

Keywords: IHL, military, military training, politics, ideology, norms of restraint

Suggested Citation

Bell, Andrew M. and Gift, Thomas and Monten, Jonathan, The Moral Foundations of Restraint: Partisanship, Military Training, and Norms of Civilian Protection (August 11, 2021). Published in Journal of Peace Research (2022): https://doi.org/10.1177/00223433211059061, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3903657

Andrew M. Bell (Contact Author)

Indiana University- Bloomington ( email )

Bloomington, IN
United States
9192369583 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://andrewmbell.com/

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Thomas Gift

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Jonathan Monten

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy St.
Mailbox 134
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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