Author: Loos, Steven C
Date published: January 1, 2012
DEATH BY MODERATION: The U.S. Military's Quest for Useable Weapons, David A. Koplow, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2010, 263 pages, $28.99.
Conflicts of the world cannot usually be solved with large-scale military intervention. The use of military force must be precise and calculated, including the elimination of threats with limits on collateral damage. During the U.S. military's quest for usable weapons, "we must strive to make the best possible weapon tailored for the fi ght on today's battlefi elds." Both the Iraq and Afghanistan confl icts have stressed the need to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, while still accomplishing the mission.
David A. Koplow's Death by Moderation underlines the importance of paying attention to how the United States modernizes its weapon systems. Koplow's topics include antipersonnel land mines, nuclear weapons, and emerging technologies labeled as nonlethal weapons. He also discusses law of armed confl ict and military affairs, outlining how the United States fi ghts today's wars and how operations will be conducted and new weapons will be used by future forces. The author's coverage of these topics is indicative of his substantial knowledge of these problems. The topics are relevant to the defense community.
Koplow believes in the more precise use of force and reduced collateral damage caused by the weapons of our future. However, the deterrence associated with large explosive-power weapons is lost when weapons are made for use against pinpoint targets. The use of such weapons by countries around the world may replace the need for more powerful weapons, thereby decreasing the self-deterrence or reluctance to use weapons in retaliation. The frequency of wars around the world may increase and the military advantage held by some countries may be lost. A balanced approach in developing new technologies and maintaining certain traditional military advantages should always be practiced.
CPT Steven C. Loos, USA, RC-North, Afghanistan