Military Review English Edition September-October 2014 - Page 108

Figure 3. Responsibility to Protect.28 Decision making under this proposal might appear as figure 3. It is within this space where I suggest that moral justification for state-sponsored unconventional warfare emerges. Of note, understanding how and when to determine moral justification for this type of irregular warfare policy option still requires adherence to strict just war theory criteria to sustain this validation and ultimately, legitimacy. The purpose of the unconventional warfare operation must be limited to defeating the military capabilities of the oppressive state, not imposing new political systems. After a political community rises from oppression through achieving military victory, its struggle for legitimacy is not complete, but it must build its own sovereign political identity. The intervening nation would find no moral basis for pushing its own political agenda during this process. Doing so delegitimizes the key element of independent self-help and, consequently, places the legitimacy of the entire effort in jeopardy. Choosing to assist a resistance movement requires a distinct decision-making process. Moral reasons alone do not justify intervention. The culture of the oppressed group and a practical assessment of its ability (with assistance) to carry out its intent to become independent must be considered. In addition, the joint force must be prepared to help assess the group’s military capabilities so senior defense leaders can make informed recommendations to policy makers. Opposing views. Critics might argue that a sixth revision to the legalist paradigm is a convenient way 106 to justify interventions meant only to achieve national interests—or even to mask their intent behind a façade of morally just language. They might insist that the proposed revision serves to justify preemptive wars and forcible regime change. Opponents might also say that the clandestine nature of unconventional warfare makes it morally suspect from the outset. My response to these arguments rests on the legalist paradigm. Unconventional warfare is a means to support what should be regarded as legitimate communities in their violent struggles against government oppression and deliberate harm. The overarching moral intent is to foster a better future environment and better peace for them, and possibly for us. Additionally, unconventional warfare methods emphasize economy of force with small special forces operational detachments helping indigenous resistance movements. In contrast, the larger scale of operations to be conducted by conventional forces to support such an undertaking would raise doubts about U.S. goals as well as the legitimacy of the resistance movement. Any resistance movement needs to struggle and achieve its own ends—legitimacy and influence—rather than having an outside military force do the fighting on its behalf. The initial campaign in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks is an example of unconventional warfare. This campaign enabled the Northern Alliance to topple the Taliban government. It demonstrated the effectiveness of conducting unconventional warfare as an initial strategic offensive through the specialized landpower capabilities of the U.S. military. September-October 2014  MILITARY REVIEW