Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording by Taylor B. Seybolt

By Taylor B. Seybolt

A favored delusion emerged within the past due Nineteen Nineties: in 1900, wars killed one civilian for each 8 infantrymen, whereas modern wars have been killing 8 civilians for each one soldier. The neat reversal of numbers used to be memorable, and educational courses and UN files on a regular basis mentioned it. The extra it used to be brought up, the extra depended on it grew to become. in reality, notwithstanding, next examine stumbled on no empirical proof for the concept that the ratio of civilians to squaddies killed in struggle has replaced dramatically. yet whereas the ratios won't have replaced, the political importance of civilian casualties has risen tremendously.

Over the previous century, civilians in struggle have long gone from having no specific rights to having criminal protections and rights that start to rival these accorded to states. the worry for civilians in clash has develop into so powerful that governments sometimes adopt humanitarian interventions, at nice threat and tremendous expense, to guard strangers in far away lands. I n the early Nineteen Nineties, the UN safeguard Council licensed army interventions to aid feed and guard civilians within the Kurdish region of Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia. And in may perhaps 2011 , Barack Obama 's nationwide protection consultant defined the USA' determination to aid NATO's army intervention in those phrases "When the president made this determination, there has been a right away chance to 700,000 Libyan civilians within the city of Benghazi. we now have had a hit right here when it comes to with the ability to guard these civilians."

Counting Civilian Casualties aims to advertise open medical discussion via excessive lights the strengths and weaknesses of the main common casualty recording and estimation options in an comprehensible structure. Its 13 chapters, each one authoritative yet obtainable to nonspecialists, discover quite a few ways, from direct recording to statistical estimation and sampling, to amassing facts on civilian deaths attributable to clash. The members additionally speak about their respective benefits and downsides, and examine how figures are used (and misused) via governments, rebels, human rights advocates, warfare crimes tribunals, and others. as well as supplying analysts with a wide diversity of instruments to supply exact info, this may be an in worthy source for policymakers, army officers, jou rnalists, human rights activists, courts, and traditional those who are looking to be extra informed--and skeptical--consumers of casualty counts.

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Additional resources for Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (Studies in Strategic Peacebuilding)

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Ix–xiv. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001. Guha-Sapir, Debra, and Olivier Degomme. 2007. Estimating Mortality in Civil Conflicts: Lessons from Iraq: Triangulating Different Types of Mortality Data in Iraq. Brussels: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. Hall, Katharine, and Dale Stahl. 2006. An Argument for Documenting Casualties: Violence against Iraqi Civilians. Washington, DC: RAND. Hayner, Priscilla B. 2011. Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions.

As sociologists Aryn Martin and Michael Lynch note: The work of counting involves determination of what counts as a possible object [to be] counted. Such determination often occurs at the very same time that a count is produced, contested, and reproduced. To count something is to make it 29 30 Who Counts? accountable as a member in a class of relevant objects. In this sense of the word, “counting” is both a calculative operation in which numbers are used, and also a case-by-case determination of what to count and, correlatively, of what counts as something to be counted, (Martin and Lynch 2009, 246) None of this should be surprising, for the process of quantifying and producing estimates has always been this way.

1993. ” PSR Quarterly 3(2): 57–66. Downes, Alexander B. 2008. Targeting Civilians in War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Feaver, Peter, and Christopher Gelpi. 2004. Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Gartner, Scott S. 2008. ” American Political Science Review 102(1): 95–106. Gelpi, Christopher, Peter D. Feaver, and Jason Reifler. 2005/2006. ” International Security 30(3): 7–46. Ghobarah, Hazem Adam, Paul Huth, and Bruce Russett.

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