This paper aims to discuss and apply the principle of proportionality (PoP) to the War on Terror (WoT). For this, vital characteristics and conditions of the PoP will be discussed in great detail. The paper argues that notions of the “just cause,” the “reasonable hope of success,” and the “requirement of the last resort” are incorporated within the PoP. This paper also defines how the harm caused by military actions is weighed against the direct military advantage to arrive at conclusions on the proportionality or disproportionality of an attack. After discussing the theoretical grounds of the PoP, this paper tries to apply the PoP to the WoT, most particularly in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. This paper is an attempt to calculate the damage caused by the direct or reverberating effects of these wars, by considering the costs casualties, and effects of these wars on terrorism, to check their efficacy and achievements against their military objectives. This paper concludes that the destruction caused by these wars greatly outweighs the military advantages they have achieved. For instance, several countries have been destabilized and destroyed. Millions of people have been killed and millions more have been displaced. The infrastructure and the economies of these countries have been devastated. As regime change agendas have been pursued, rebels have been given arms and support to fight their own states. All of these have contributed to the rise of destabilization, violence, and terrorism in these regions, which exceeds the military objectives. These wars have been proven to be inefficient and counterproductive. The military objective of the WoT was to decrease terrorism but terrorism has significantly increased, which was reasonably foreseeable owing to past experiences. Therefore, this paper concludes that these wars can be considered disproportionate to their direct military advantage.
Waseem A. Qureshi,
Applying the Principle of Proportionality to the War on Terror,
Rich. Pub. Int. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol22/iss3/4