The Use of Explosives in Cities: A Grim but Lawful Reality of War

Orde Kittrie
1st October 2017 - Quoted by Thomas Ayres - Joint Force Quarterly

Refugees flowing out of the Middle East pose a serious humanitarian crisis for Europe and the world at large. The indiscriminate use of violence by the so-called Islamic State (IS), the unlawful actions of the Syrian regime, and the conduct of some of the warring factions precipitated and continue to fuel this crisis.


Orde Kittrie, in his thought-provoking book Lawfare, discusses the idea of compliance-leverage disparity.7 The term is easily understood considering the terrorist organizations we now face. Their tactics to protect themselves purposely induce civilian casualties. They hide in civilian areas and invariably wear civilian clothes while conducting their operations. Kittrie contrasts “the painstaking law-abiding practices of the U.S. military and the dismissive practices of at least some of its adversaries.” Kittrie notes that these opposite approaches originate from different ideologies and tendencies regarding the levels, means, and disparity in the transparency and accountability in the use of force. The costs of compliance-leverage disparity are many, with the most insidious result being hesitance by law-abiding armies to use force even when such use is legal and required by military necessity. This is a great jeopardy to lawful missions and ultimately results in lengthier conflicts and even greater loss of lives.


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