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The Commander's Dilemma – Violence and Restraint in Wartime - Cornell Scholarship Online
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The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime

Amelia Hoover Green


Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim—but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? This book argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting and believe in the ... More

Keywords: rebel groups, military groups, violence, armed groups, wartime, restraint, El Salvador, Liberia, Sierra Leone, political education

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9781501726477
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501726477.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Amelia Hoover Green, author
Drexel University