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Accountability for KillingMoral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars$
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Neta Crawford

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199981724

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199981724.001.0001

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Command Responsibility, Due Care, and Moral Courage

Command Responsibility, Due Care, and Moral Courage

(p.266) 5 Command Responsibility, Due Care, and Moral Courage
Accountability for Killing

Neta C. Crawford

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the legal doctrine of command responsibility and continues to explore the overlapping terrain of individual and group responsibility. Focusing on the role of military and top civilian commanders in preventing deliberate and collateral damage, the chapter the frameworks of role and shared moral responsibility. Commanders are morally and legally responsible, but like individual soldiers, commanders operate within a military organization and we can only understand their moral responsibility by attending to ways individual agency is constrained by the organization. The chapter uses two cases to explore how commanders’ oversight and attitudes can promote or fail to promote respect for non-combatants — U.S. air operations in Bosnia in 1995 and the siege of Fallujah in 2004. In the first instance, civilian protection was a priority and operations were designed and redesigned to avoid collateral damage. In Fallujah, there was less concern about collateral damage and even a loss of distinction. The chapter concludes with discussions of ways that commanders can exercise greater moral responsibility in war.

Keywords:   command responsibility, command oversight, individual moral agency, Bosnia, Fallujah

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