Recently China has provided the WZ-10 attack helicopter to Pakistan to help defend and police it’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).bThe WZ-10 is replacing the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter operated by the Pakistani Army. Replacement has given us a first time opportunity to see the WZ-10 up close (photos courtesy of the China Defense Blog):
I’ve given lawfare (that is, the endless discussion of the law of war right in the middle of a fight) quite a bit of thought, but my every attempt to write about it has bogged down. I find it an incredibly frustrating topic. My squad level orientation means the mere mention of lawfare makes my blood pressure spike. But I’m also smart enough to know that in our age of instant communications that a scrupulous attention to the laws of war are an absolute necessity not only from a moral perspective, but also from a political and operational view. The increasing presence of non-state actors on the field of battle are having quite a bit of influence on current thought on the topic. Having said that, Kenneth Anderson has an interesting post at The Volokh Conspiracy about how views on the law of war are evolving.
Start with technology. The rise of more and more precise targeted killing technology does two things in the legal frame. First, because it reduces collateral damage, naturally civilians become less of an issue and proportionality less of an issue as well. One might reject the claim that in fact collateral damage is reduced and continue to say that this perception is factually incorrect. But without proposing to argue about it here, I’d simply say that the technology is getting more and more precise, and when Panetta says the drone targeted killing technology is the most precise thing in the history of warfare, I think it is basically right and getting more so with new technological developments. That is relative, however — relative to the realistic alternatives, not by comparison to zero. It is certainly far from perfect, so please, human rights monitors, don’t start getting eager (or more eager than you already are) to demand zero collateral damage and impose strict liability, overt or “function.”
We’ve got some big brains reading here from time to time. What say you?
Many of you may have noticed that the war in Afghanistan isn’t going well. And recently, the US has taken to making raids into Pakistan that have that nation somewhat upset.
We are please to claim an ethnic Pakistani as one of our internet correspondents. Muslihoon is on a somewhat more cerebral level than we are, but we hope to use him to address some of these issues in the near future.
I consider the fight in Pakistan the key to winning the war in Afghanistan. History shows that an insurgency that has a sanctuary is very tough to defeat. In effect, Pakistan has ceded sovreignity in some of its territory to the Taliban and Al Queda. The US and Afghanistan can ill afford to allow that state of affairs to continue. We hope to draw Muslihoon into the discussion in the near future, but for now, be sure to read what he has to say.