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Ethics of Conduct for Peace and Stability Operations

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The US military is increasingly focused on the pursuit of peacekeeping, counterinsurgency, and other peace and stability operations. This demands a transformation in our moral perspective, as well as military capacity. Peace and stability operations present a very different moral terrain than large-scale interstate conflict: the distinction between enemy forces and civilians is blurred, military forces are expected to protect civilian populations, culture and ideology are theaters of operations as important as the physical battlefield, and personnel in the field must exercise great autonomy. The literature on peace and stability operations has focused on questions of when and whether to go to war, while questions of moral conduct in peace and stability operations have received relatively less attention. 

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