CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN AN ERA OF BIOTERRORISM: CRIME AND WAR IN THE MAKING OF MODERN CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS

Bioterrorism Preparedness, Attack and Response

ISBN: 978-0-76231-105-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-268-9

ISSN: 1474-8231

Publication date: 1 June 2004

Abstract

The United States of America is on the verge of a possible revolution in civil-military relations in an era marked by increased defensive alertness stemming from the attacks of 11 September 2001. As we anticipate the normalization of terror as a way of life, we are witnessing a paradigmatic shift from the use of violence towards some political end to the use of violence as an end in itself (Jenkins, 2001). 1 It is tempting to frame our analysis in terms of the broader notion of asymmetric warfare, since the arguments we make in this paper may be applied to a wide range of settings, including those in which vastly unequal forces are pitted against one another and one side may make use of irregular fighters employing unconventional tactics. However, this would serve only to shift the emphasis away from our central argument. Terrorism may be a form of asymmetric warfare, but what distinguishes it is the fact that it intentionally targets civilians, and that among civilians, it is indiscriminate in the devastation it wreaks. Terrorism is important because of the way in which it socializes danger, breaking down the barriers between combatant and noncombatant and subjecting all to the worst of harrowing and potentially lethal attacks. It is this socialization of danger produced by terrorism, in turn, that is critical in assessing whether and how civilian and military authorities elect to treat its use against their own societies not as a crime, but as an act of war. Bioterrorism in turn, as we argue below, has unique attributes that distinguish it from other forms of terrorism.1 And where, for most nations, homeland defense is the primary mission of the armed forces, the United States had to establish a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security due to the primarily expeditionary nature of American armed forces for the past half-century. The military has been a unique institution in modern societies. It has acted as the agent for the state’s possession of a monopoly on the means of large-scale organized violence and war-making. The establishment of a second executive agency responsible for homeland security makes the equation more complex. As a result, ever greater attention must be given to the balance of civil-military relations in American society.

Citation

Hunter, E.L., Kelty, R., Kestnbaum, M. and Segal, D.R. (2004), "CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN AN ERA OF BIOTERRORISM: CRIME AND WAR IN THE MAKING OF MODERN CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS", Blair, J., Fottler, M. and Zapanta, A.C. (Ed.) Bioterrorism Preparedness, Attack and Response (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 319-344. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-8231(04)04013-3

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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