During the Vietnam War, U.S. military leaders infamously used the number of enemy killed — body counts — as the measure of U.S. battlefield accomplishment. Even if accurate, these numbers were a spectacular failure as a touchstone of success.
It was ironic that Vietnam War opponents used a similar but opposite body count to undermine the war effort — that of civilians killed. The iconic image of protesters chanting, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?” foreshadowed a paradigm shift in how the U.S. military approaches the issue of civilian casualties, particularly in asymmetric conflicts. Now, “civilian protection” is, appropriately, central to both the international law of war and the legitimacy of U.S.… Seguir leyendo »