End of Proportionality   [open pdf - 286KB]

"The 2006 Israel-Lebanon war generated the first large-scale and systemic references to a heretofore mostly ignored law of war concept, the doctrine of proportionality. Occasional references to proportionality are found in accounts of the Iraq War and in histories or scholarly works of the last century. In general, prior to Israel's 2006 campaign the proportionality doctrine received little scholarly interest and even less attention among the governing classes and international media. In all likelihood, critics of American action in Iraq or Afghanistan would have more thoroughly employed this doctrine in their efforts to end or limit US military involvement had they simply thought of it. But by 2006, when the doctrine was widely known, the major battles in Iraq and Afghanistan were finished. Israel's December 2008 to January 2009 campaign in Gaza renewed drumbeat accusations in the media and from much of the international community that the Israel Defense Force (IDF) used disproportionate force against Palestinian terrorists and guerrillas. The George W. Bush Administration expressed concern for innocent civilians caught in the crossfire but resisted labeling Israeli actions as disproportionate. President Bush generally defended Israeli actions and declined to join the European Union and even close allies such as the United Kingdom in labeling Israel's tactics as disproportionate. A year before the Gaza offensive, in February 2008, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined a reporter's invitation to label Israeli retaliatory action as 'disproportionate.'"

2009 Jonathan F. Keiler.
Retrieved From:
U.S. Army War College, Parameters: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/
Media Type:
Parameters: United States Army War College Quarterly (Spring 2009), v.39 no.1, p.53-64
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