War Law by Michael Byers
Understanding International Law and Armed Conflict

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International law governing the use of military force has been the subject of intense public debate. Under what conditions is it appropriate, or necessary, for a country to use force when diplomacy has failed? Michael Byers, a widely known world expert on international law, weighs these issues in War Law . Byers examines the history of armed conflict and international law through a series of case studies of past conflicts, ranging from the 1837 Caroline Incident to the abuse of detainees by U.S. forces at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Byers explores the legal controversies that surrounded the 1999 and 2001 interventions in Kosovo and Afghanistan and the 2003 war in Iraq; the development of international humanitarian law from the 1859 Battle of Solferino to the present; and the role of war crimes tribunals and the International Criminal Court. He also considers the unique influence of the United States in the evolution of this extremely controversial area of international law. War Law is neither a textbook nor a treatise, but a fascinating account of a highly controversial topic that is necessary reading for fans of military history and general readers alike.

About Michael Byers

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Michael Byers's story collection The Coast of Good Intentions won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Long for This World was featured on the History Channel's "Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine." The recipient of a Whiting Foundation Writer's Award, Byers lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and two children.
Published November 28, 2005 by Grove Press. 224 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical, War, History. Non-fiction

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A strict adherence to the letter of the law can yield disaster, of course, as Byers notes in the instance of Rwanda;

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London Review of Books

We also needed a success militarily to get Ministers to believe in what are could do because a lot of my job was trying to give the Cabinet confidence that the Services could deliver what they said they could deliver because we hadn’t had a war for a long time ...

Apr 22 2010 | Read Full Review of War Law: Understanding Intern...


As Byers shows, the changing nature of international politics has tested this resolve—especially in light of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and elsewhere—but nations have consistently rejected "humanitarian concern" or even "democratic reform" (a rationale the U.S. floated during its invasion of Pa...

Mar 02 2006 | Read Full Review of War Law: Understanding Intern...


International law expert Michael Byers uses case studies of wars and military actions to examine the role and evolution of laws surrounding armed conflict.

Apr 12 2007 | Read Full Review of War Law: Understanding Intern...

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