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  • Cited by 1
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2023
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Book description

The field of military ethics has generally been attentive to emerging trends in modern warfare. Cyber, robotics and AI, for example, have inspired an abundant and flourishing literature. One trend, however, has been largely overlooked: the emergence of special operations as a prominent instrument of statecraft. Drawing extensively on historical cases and first-hand experience, the authors of this book call attention to qualities inherent in special operations – and special operators – that challenge the moral framework which has long informed conventional military operations. Moral theorists will find this analysis provocative, while practitioners – those who conduct or oversee special operations and have an interest in the moral wellbeing of special operators – can put the authors' insights to practical use. Those who simply view with fascination the opaque world of special operations will find this book illuminating.


‘This is a must-read book for anyone with an interest in the interplay of ethics, politics and military action in that diplomatic space before war breaks out. The conclusions are nuanced, well-argued and will provide many talking points for those who want to deal seriously with the moral dilemmas faced by governments and the Special Operators they send out into the murky darkness.'

Peter Lee - University of Portsmouth

‘The Ethics of Special Ops is ‘essential reading’. It should be read and enjoyed by all serious SOF operators and leaders, every politician involved in their use and serious scholars of modern warfare. Students of military history or international relations would greatly benefit too.’

Frank Ledwidg Source: RUSI Journal

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  • Chapter 2 - Raids
    pp 30-52


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