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Who may we bomb?

Do people get the governments they deserve? It's not always possible to dinstinguish between guilty governments and innocent civilians

By Barry Buzan   December 2001

When war breaks out, who is a legitimate target? The near universal revulsion at the attack on civilians in the World Trade Centre shows that they were not a legitimate target-even for those who oppose US power. With the shift of the conflict to Afghanistan, the question of who can be attacked has become central to the legitimacy of the campaign against terrorism. Once again, we are seeing a shrinkage in the circle of legitimate targets-something which has been a feature of western rhetoric and military policy since the end of the cold war. Indeed, the idea that in war,…

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