Making the Theory Travel: Prisoner Abuse in other Types of Armed Conflict

Although I have in this book concentrated on the treatment of prisoners during conflicts between states, my argument and evidence offer a number of extensions to prisoner abuse in other forms of warfare. Contemplating how the dynamics of wartime conduct may differ across various types of armed conflict is particularly instructive, since interstate wars have become less frequent in recent decades, even if claims of their impending demise may be overstated.29 Conflicts of different sorts have also become interrelated in many ways — developments in one zone of combat can spill over into others, and one type of conflict can later morph into another. Both of the insurgencies that raged throughout much of the last decade, first in Afghanistan and then Iraq, owed their origins to conventional interstate conflicts initiated by the United States. Similarly, the continuing rivalry between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region witnessed the outbreak of hostilities between their national armies in the Kargil district in 1999, but also fighting led by Pakistani insurgents that has ebbed and flowed over the years. The argument put forward for understanding patterns in the treatment of prisoners during interstate wars can also help inform conduct in other circumstances where groups resort to armed force.

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