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When civilians suffer in war, it is often a deliberate act. Massacres, rape, displacement, famine, and disease are the strategic decisions of political and military leaders who make civilians their targets in order to gain the upper hand in battle. Yet there still exists the precious and fragile belief-ingrained in modern international law-that unarmed and innocent people should be protected in war, even if, in practice, the principle of civil immunity is often ignored or rejected.
Hoping to rectify this injustice, Hugo Slim uses detailed historical and contemporary examples to reveal the many ways civilians suffer in war. A leading commentator on international humanitarian action and the protection of civilians in war, Slim analyzes the anti-civilian ideologies that encourage and perpetuate suffering and exposes the exploitation of moral ambiguity that is used to sanction extreme hostility. At what point does killing civilians become part of winning a war? Why are some methods of killing used while others are avoided?
Bolstering his claims with hard fact, Slim argues that civilian casualties are not only morally reprehensible but also bad military science. His book is a clarion call for action and a passionate defense of civil immunity, a concept that is more urgent and necessary today than ever before.