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Unformatted text preview: the battlefield, but also entail a transformation of the entire
Hooks also refers to Elias’ (1939 ) study of the civilising
process. Elias claims that modern Western culture, in which states, but
not private people, can wage wars, is a result of the transformation of the
military power and pacification of medieval warlords. Meyer et al. (1997)
extend this view and claim that the freedom of military action on the part
of nation states is further curbed, and can be interpreted as the civilising
of the state.7
When it comes to the evaluation of Roxborough’s position on the
American war with Iraq, Hooks dissents from the former’s classification
of this war as a defensive war on terror. He believes that, in fact it was an
aggressive war, whose main aim was to ascertain American domination in
the Middle East. This disagreement between two sociologists clearly
shows that the categorisation of war as defensive or aggressive is yet another artificial dichotomy, which can be used as a rhetorical exercise. The
multi-causal nature of war does not allow for such clear-cut labelling.
Hooks also distrusts the idea of sociologists working for the government. In his opinion such involvement may lead to a misuse of information on the part of the government, as was the case with the Project
Camelot he describes. Within this project, sociologists were to assist the
CIA in understanding the nature of social revolutions. However, the information gathered allowed the CIA to identify potential revolutionaries,
and to disclose their identity to their governments, which in turn led to
their capture, torture and murder.8
Abu-Lughod (2003) in her rejoinder to Roxborough hypothesised
that the destabilisation of Iraq might not result from a failure of American
7 The Second Gulf War in Iraq waged by the US without the UN or even NATO
mandate goes counter to this trend.
Knightly (1975) voices similar ethical concern when it comes to the role of war reporters. Some of them, by sharing information with their governments, come dangerously close to espionage, others become a propaganda instrument in the hands of censoring authorities, see also Section 6 of this chapter. 90 Chapter III state-re-construction policy, but may have been the political aim of the
military action. She also stresses that it is not enough to talk about political or military elites as the authors of war. In fact, particular politicians
should be held responsible for the war. In this, her position on war comes
close to the tendency identified by Meyer et al., and quoted by Hooks, i.e.
the civilising of the state. Her belief in the importance of agency in the
war-process also coincides with the understanding of history as constructed by the great leaders more, or at least as much as, by the unidentified social, economic, political and cultural forces.
Centeno (2003) once again focuses on the American military doctrine based on technological advantage and strategic management. He
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