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Security, Strategy and the Quest for Bloodless War

Robert Mandel
Security, Strategy and the Quest for Bloodless War
ISBN: 978-1-58826-269-1
2004/205 pages/LC: 2004003786

"A fascinating and comprehensive examination of the causes, and consequences, of casualty aversion in war. Mandel addresses all the major conceptual issues surrounding the topic, including a cost/benefit analysis of employing technical means to minimize casualties. He has done us all a service in the process."—William D. Casebeer, U.S. Air Force Academy


In recent decades, government and military officials alike have pushed increasingly in the direction of "bloodless wars," where confrontations are undertaken—and ultimately won—with minimum loss of human life. Robert Mandel provides the first comprehensive analysis of this trend.

After exploring the moral, legal, military, and political bases of the desire to minimize wartime casualties, Mandel examines the actual strategies and tools involved; here, the focus is on nonlethal weapons, precision-guided munitions, and information warfare. He then addresses the sobering practical constraints on aspirations to minimize casualties. His concluding review of policy options draws lessons from premodern patterns of warfare and calls for a more realistic understanding of the strategies available in today's security environment.


Robert Mandel is professor of international affairs at Lewis and Clark College. His numerous publications include Armies Without States: The Privatization of Security and Deadly Transfers and the Global Playground: Transnational Security Threats in a Disorderly World.


  • Introduction.
  • The Quest for Bloodless War.
  • Means of Pursuing Bloodless War.
  • Precision-Guided Munitions.
  • Nonlethal Weaponry.
  • Information Warfare.
  • What Can Go Wrong.
  • Toward Effective Casualty Aversion.
  • Security Policy Implications.
No rights in South Asia