Military Effectiveness, Moral Injury, and the Just War Tradition in Western History
A nation’s military effectiveness is a key factor in that nation’s decision to start and fight a war. Because Western liberal democracies normally attempt to make war in accordance with the Just War Tradition, the relationship between military effectiveness and that tradition would be of great interest to political and military leaders. Yet, to date, no one has conducted research to explore this relationship.This study uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore this relationship. Specifically, military morale and moral injury are considered to be factors in determining military effectiveness. Practice of jus ad bellum (“the right to war”) and jus in bello (“the law in waging war”) is considered a component of military morale while moral injury (experienced by a combatant who perpetrates or observes acts contrary to his own morality) is considered inversely proportional to morale. It is postulated that practice of jus ad bellum and jus in bello enhances morale and, therefore, military effectiveness. Moral injury, however, always diminishes morale and, therefore, military effectiveness. Military effectiveness, therefore, is proportional to the degree to which a warring nation practices the laws of war and inversely proportional to the degree to which its combatants suffer moral injury.This hypothesis is tested in four post-Second World War counterinsurgency campaigns conducted by Western liberal democracies: (1) the British effort to suppress the Mau Mau insurgency in colonial Kenya, (2) the French effort to suppress the native Algerian insurgency to gain independence, (3) the United States counterinsurgency effort in Iraq following the fall of Sadaam Hussein’s Sunni Islamic regime, and (4) the United States effort to defeat Al ‘Qaeda and remove the Islamic fundamentalist regime of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Qualitative analysis is used to evaluate the impact of application of the Just War Tradition and moral injury on the military effectiveness of the Western counterinsurgencies. Quantitative methods are employed to model the impact of application of the Just War Tradition and moral injury on the military effectiveness of the United States counterinsurgency in Iraq. Conclusions are derived from the tested hypotheses and suggestions for further research are indicated.
Military studies|International law|Military history|International Relations
Beall, Thomas Reagan, "Military Effectiveness, Moral Injury, and the Just War Tradition in Western History" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI30694366.
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