Chapter 3 Case Studies

Here are five case studies for your purposes. Each of the case studies relates to a key class of conflict associated with the concept of dirty wars. The five selected case studies are picked because all elements of the core lecture series apply to them. Each lecture in the main lecture series will contain a section that directly ties the lecture theme to each of these case studies, so as to demonstrate the variation in each case. You are not expected to become an expert on all five cases, but you should understand the basic chronology and events of each, and read at least two in depth.

The readings for the five case studies are divided into four sections. The first section for each case study contains a small selection of readings designed to give you a quick overview of the conflict itself – the origins of the conflict and a broad outline of what happened. Please read these as soon as possible, as they are the effective minimum that will allow you to understand the relevance of the conflict to the individual lectures.

The second section contains readings that tie individual lectures to the case study. These are for you to connect the thematic lectures presented each week to each case study.

The third section provides wider contextual readings that are specific to each conflict, primarily focused on its long term effects and consequences. This material isn’t necessarily covered by the course, but allows you to consider the wider consequences of the kinds of wars we will be studying in this module.

The fourth section contains a selection of responses to the conflict, from non-fiction reportage, and documentaries through to films and works of fiction. This is provided to round out your understanding of these wars.

3.1 Argentina

This is a case study that lets you consider the framing of what we’re talking about - war, national security, or one-sided violence, state terrorism, and political repression? Argentina is one example of a cluster of related conflicts in south America during the cold war in which conservative governments, or military dictatorships, aimed to eliminate Communist or socialist challengers to the status quo. In many cases, Argentina included, the results were brutal.

  • Introductory Readings
    • Robben, Antonius CGM. “From Dirty War to Genocide: Argentina’s Resistance to National Reconciliation.” Memory Studies 5, no. 3 (2012): 305–15.
    • Lewis, Paul H. Guerrillas and Generals: The “Dirty War” in Argentina. Greenwood Publishing Group, (2002).
  • Thematic Readings
    • Conflict Status: Osiel, Mark J. “Constructing Subversion in Argentina’s Dirty War.” Representations 75, no. 1 (2001): 119–58. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/rep.2001.75.1.119.
    • Human Dignity and Political Community: Disappeared, Argentine National Commission on. “Nunca Mas: The Report of the Argentine National Commission on the Disappeared.” Faber & Faber, (1986). Available online here
    • Law and Conflict: Snyder, Frederick E. “State of Siege and Rule of Law in Argentina: The Politics and Rhetoric of Vindication.” Lawyer of the Americas 15 (1984): 503.
    • Reasons for Restraint: Lew, Ilan. “‘Barbarity’ and ‘Civilization’ According to Perpetrators of State Violence During the Last Dictatorship in Argentina.” Política Y Sociedad 50, no. 2 (2013): 501–15. https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2013.v50.n2.40018.
    • Sexual Violence in Conflict: Hollander, Nancy Caro. “The Gendering of Human Rights: Women and the Latin American Terrorist State.” Feminist Studies 22, no. 1 (1996): 41–80. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3178246.
    • National Security and Political Cleavages: Pion-Berlin, David. “The National Security Doctrine, Military Threat Perception, and the”Dirty War" in Argentina." Comparative Political Studies 21, no. 3 (1988): 382–407. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010414088021003004.
    • Population Control: Berman, Roger S., Maureen R. Clark. “State Terrorism: Disappearances.” Rutgers Law Journal 13 (1981–1982): 531.
    • Political Repression: Pion-Berlin, David, and George A. Lopez. “Of Victims and Executioners: Argentine State Terror, 1975–1979.” International Studies Quarterly 35, no. 1 (1991): 63–86. https://doi.org/10.2307/2600389.
    • Intelligence & Institutions: Kalmanowiecki, Laura. “Origins and Applications of Political Policing in Argentina.” Latin American Perspectives 27, no. 2 (2000): 36–56. https://doi.org/10.1177/0094582X0002700203.
    • Torture: Carlson, Eric Stener. “The Influence of French”Revolutionary War" Ideology on the Use of Torture in Argentina’s “Dirty War”." Human Rights Review 1, no. 4 (2000): 71–84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12142-000-1044-5.
    • One-Sided Violence: Brysk, Alison. “The Politics of Measurement: The Contested Count of the Disappeared in Argentina.” Human Rights Quarterly 16 (1994): 676.
  • Further Reading
    • Pion-Berlin, David. The Ideology of State Terror: Economic Doctrine and Political Repression in Argentina and Peru. L. Rienner Publishers, (1989).
    • Armony, Ariel C. “Producing and Exporting State Terror: The Case of Argentina.” In When States Kill: Latin America, the U.s., and Technologies of Terror, edited by Cecilia Menjívar and Néstor Rodríguez, 305–31. University of Texas Press, (2005).
  • Other material
    • El secreto de sus ojos[The Secret in Their Eyes], 2009. Directed by Juan José Campanella.

3.2 Britain, Ireland, and Northern Ireland

This is a case study that allows you to see the ‘grand sweep’ - how security institutions develop and change over time. Also, the Troubles feature most of the ‘dirty war’ elements that we’re talking about. This case study is as much about the development of the modern British state as it is about the changing patterns of resistance to British rule in Ireland and, latterly, Northern Ireland. A second role that this case study plays is that it provides a case study in accountability processes (and their failures). As such, gaining familiarity with the reports and inquiries that threaded through the conflict enables you to better analyse and reflect upon the line between the rule of law, and rule by law.

  • Introductory Readings
    • Kennedy‐Pipe, Caroline, and Colin McInnes. “The British Army in Northern Ireland 1969–1972: From Policing to Counter‐terror.” Journal of Strategic Studies 20, no. 2 (1997): 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/01402399708437676.
    • Kennedy-Pipe, Caroline. The Origins of the Present Troubles in Northern Ireland. Routledge, (2014).
  • Thematic Readings
    • Conflict Status: Dixon, Paul. Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace. Palgrave Macmillan, (2008). Chapter 1
    • Human Dignity and Political Community: Jackson, John. “Many Years on in Northern Ireland: The Diplock Legacy Rights and Justice: Essays in Honour of Professor Tom Hadden.” Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 60 (2009): 213.
    • Law and Conflict: Campbell, Colm, and Ita Connelly. “A Model for the ‘War Against Terrorism’? Military Intervention in Northern Ireland and the 1970 Falls Curfew.” Journal of Law and Society 30, no. 3 (2003): 341–75.
    • Reasons for Restraint: Hewitt, Christopher. “Catholic Grievances, Catholic Nationalism and Violence in Northern Ireland During the Civil Rights Period: A Reconsideration.” The British Journal of Sociology 32, no. 3 (1981): 362–80. http://www.jstor.org/stable/589283.
    • Sexual Violence in Conflict: McWilliams, Monica. “Violence Against Women and Political Conflict: The Northern Ireland Experience.” Critical Criminology 8, no. 1 (1997): 78–92.
    • National Security and Political Cleavages: McCleery, Martin J. Operation Demetrius and Its Aftermath: A New History of the Use of Internment Without Trial in Northern Ireland 1971-75. Manchester University Press, (2015).
    • Population Control: Byrne, Jonny, and Cathy Gormley-Heenan. “Beyond the Walls: Dismantling Belfast’s Conflict Architecture.” City 18, nos. 4-5 (2014): 447–54. https://doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2014.939465.
    • Political Repression: Rolston, Bill. “‘An Effective Mask for Terror’: Democracy, Death Squads and Northern Ireland.” Crime, Law and Social Change 44, no. 2 (2005): 181–203.
    • Intelligence & Institutions: Jackson, Brian A. “Counterinsurgency Intelligence in a”Long War“.” Military Review, nos. January-February (2007): 74–85.; Moran, Jon. “Evaluating Special Branch and the Use of Informant Intelligence in Northern Ireland.” Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 1 (2010): 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/02684521003588070.
    • Torture: Kennedy-Pipe, Caroline, and Andrew Mumford. “Torture, Rights, Rules and Wars: Ireland to Iraq.” International Relations 21, no. 1 (2007): 119–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047117807073772.
    • One-Sided Violence: Newsinger, John. “From Counter-Insurgency to Internal Security: Northern Ireland 1969-1992.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 6, no. 1 (1995): 88–111. https://doi.org/10.1080/09592319508423100.
  • Further Reading
    • Dixon, Paul. Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace. Palgrave Macmillan, (2008).
    • Dillon, Martin. The Dirty War. Routledge, (1999).
  • Other material
    • In the Name of the Father, 1993. Directed by Jim Sheridan.
    • Hunger, 2008. Directed by Steve McQueen.

3.3 The Vietnam Wars

The wars in Indochina that resulted in defeats for both France and America enable us to examine the concepts of the course in the context of open warfare. Taken together, the French and American involvement in Vietnam, and wars that ran in parallel to this main conflict, demonstrate the relevance of dirty wars to the analysis of war. A particular element of this case study is the analysis of military thought and strategy as it develops in response to the problem of insurgency in this case study, and the wider intersection of politics and warfare.

  • Introductory Readings
    • Porch, Douglas. “French Imperial Warfare 1945-62.” In Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare, edited by Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian. Osprey, (2008).
    • Andrade, Dale. “Westmoreland Was Right: Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Vietnam War.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 19, no. 2 (2008): 145–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/09592310802061349.
  • Thematic Readings
    • Conflict Status: Prados, John. The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War. Wiley, (1999).
    • Human Dignity and Political Community: McLeod, Mark W. “Indigenous Peoples and the Vietnamese Revolution, 1930-1975.” Journal of World History 10, no. 2 (1999): 353–89. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20078784.
    • Law and Conflict: Greenwood, Christopher. “The Concept of War in Modern International Law.” International and Comparative Law Quarterly 36, no. 2 (1987): 283–306. https://doi.org/10.1093/iclqaj/36.2.283.
    • Reasons for Restraint: Levie, Howard S. “Maltreatment of Prisoners of War in Vietnam.” Boston University Law Review 48 (1968): 323.
    • Sexual Violence in Conflict: Weaver, Gina Marie. Ideologies of Forgetting: Rape in the Vietnam War. SUNY Press, (2012).
    • National Security and Political Cleavages: Kalyvas, Stathis N., and Matthew Adam Kocher. “Ethnic Cleavages and Irregular War: Iraq and Vietnam.” Politics & Society 35, no. 2 (2007): 183–223. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032329207302403.
    • Population Control: Catton, Philip E. “Counter-Insurgency and Nation Building: The Strategic Hamlet Programme in South Vietnam, 1961–1963.” The International History Review 21, no. 4 (1999): 918–40. https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.1999.9640883.
    • Political Repression: Miller, Edward. “Religious Revival and the Politics of Nation Building: Reinterpreting the 1963 ‘Buddhist Crisis’ in South Vietnam.” Modern Asian Studies 49, no. 6 (2015): 1903–62. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X12000935.
    • Intelligence & Institutions: Andrade, Dale, and James H. Willbanks. “CORDS/Phoenix: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future.” Military Review, March-April (2006), 9–23.
    • Torture: Macmaster, Neil. “Torture: From Algiers to Abu Ghraib.” Race & Class 46, no. 2 (2004): 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306396804047722.
    • One-Sided Violence: Clodfelter, Mark. The Limits of Air Power: The American Bombing of North Vietnam. University of Nebraska Press, (2006).
  • Further Reading
    • Arreguín-Toft, Ivan. “How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict.” International Security 26, no. 1 (2001): 93–128. https://doi.org/10.1162/016228801753212868.
    • Ang, Cheng Guan. The Vietnam War from the Other Side. Routledge, (2002).
  • Other material
    • Hamburger Hill, 1987. Directed by John Irvin.
    • Herr, Michael. Dispatches. Picador, (1991).
    • Ninh, Bao. The Sorrow of War. Vintage Classics, (1994).

3.4 The Global War on Terror

Is the “War on Terror” a war? Does it count as a dirty war? This case study is selected to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of much of the core course material. One key difference between this case study and the others is that the war on terror draws attention to the unclear spatial and temporal boundaries of war, as well as the role of ideas, institutions, and technologies in the constitution of war itself. The definitional question of what, if anything, related to the war on terror actually counts as a war, and why, lies at the heart of this case study, with wider applicability to the rest of the course.

  • Introductory Readings
    • Carvin, Stephanie. “Caught in the Cold: International Humanitarian Law and Prisoners of War During the Cold War.” Journal of Conflict and Security Law 11, no. 1 (2012): 67–92. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcsl/krl005.
    • Savage, Charlie. Power Wars: The Relentless Rise of Presidential Authority and Secrecy. Little, Brown; Company, (2015).
  • Thematic Readings
    • Conflict Status: Schmitt, Michael N. “Charting the Legal Geography of Non-International Armed Conflict.” International Law Studies 90 (2014): 1–19.
    • Human Dignity and Political Community: Chesney, Robert. “Who May Be Killed? Anwar Al-Awlaki as a Case Study in the International Legal Regulation of Lethal Force.” Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 13 (2010): 3–60.
    • Law and Conflict: Bradley, Curtis A., and Jack L. Goldsmith. “Obama’s AUMF Legacy.” American Journal of International Law 110, no. 4 (2016): 628–45.
    • Reasons for Restraint: Elsea, Jennifer K. Treatment of ‘Battlefield Detainees’ in the War on Terrorism. DIANE Publishing, (2014).; Elsea, Jennifer K. “Presidential Authority to Detain”Enemy Combatants“.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 33, no. 3 (2003): 568–601. https://doi.org/10.1111/1741-5705.00007.
    • Sexual Violence in Conflict: Tétreault, Mary Ann. “The Sexual Politics of Abu Ghraib: Hegemony, Spectacle, and the Global War on Terror.” NWSA Journal, (2006): 33–50.
    • National Security and Political Cleavages: Fisher, Louis. Presidential War Power. Third. University Press of Kansas, (2013).
    • Population Control: Steyn, Johan. “Guantanamo Bay: The Legal Black Hole.” International & Comparative Law Quarterly 53, no. 1 (2004): 1–15.
    • Political Repression: Welch, Kyle. “The Patriot Act and Crisis Legislation: The Unintended Consequences of Disaster Lawmaking.” Capital University Law Review 43 (2015): 481.
    • Intelligence & Institutions: Blakeley, Ruth. “Dirty Hands, Clean Conscience? The CIA Inspector General’s Investigation of ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’ in the War on Terror and the Torture Debate.” Journal of Human Rights 10, no. 4 (2011): 544–61.
    • Torture: Luban, David. “Liberalism, Torture, and the Ticking Bomb.” Virginia Law Review 91 (2005): 1425–61.
    • One-Sided Violence: McDonald, Jack. Enemies Known and Unknown: Targeted Killings in America’s Transnational Wars. Oxford University Press, (2017).
  • Further Reading
    • Jordan, Javier. “The Effectiveness of the Drone Campaign Against Al Qaeda Central: A Case Study.” Journal of Strategic Studies 37, no. 1 (2014): 4–29.
    • Johnsen, Dawn. “The Lawyers’ War: Counterterrorism from Bush to Obama to Trump.” Foreign Affairs 96 (2017): 148.
  • Other material
    • -Wright, Evan. Generation Kill. Corgi, (2009).
    • Zero Dark Thirty, 2012. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

3.5 The Second Congo War

The Second Congo War was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the late 20th and early 21st Century. It is also a conflict demonstrating the relevance of the course topics to the study of civil wars. It is also a conflict that you could be forgiven for never having heard of, due to a relative lack of media coverage. The war featured war crimes and massacres on all sides, and drew in states from across the continent. To give some sense of the scale of the conflict, the debate about the death toll is whether the excess deaths caused by the conflict are between just under 1,000,000 or in the region of 5,400,000. In short, if you are looking for work on the logic of war crimes and attacks upon civilians, this is a good case study.

  • Introductory Readings
    • Reyntjens, Filip. “Briefing: The Second Congo War: More Than a Remake.” African Affairs 98, no. 391 Reyntjens (1999): 241–50. http://www.jstor.org/stable/723629.
    • Prunier, Gérard. Africa’s World Wwar: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. Oxford University Press, (2008).
  • Thematic Readings
    • Conflict Status: Carayannis, Tatiana. “The Complex Wars of the Congo: Towards a New Analytic Approach.” Journal of Asian and African Studies 38, nos. 2-3 (2003): 232–55. https://doi.org/10.1177/002190960303800206.
    • Human Dignity and Political Community: Smis, Stefaan, and Wamu Oyatambwe. “Complex Political Emergencies, the International Community & the Congo Conflict.” Review of African Political Economy 29, nos. 93-94 Smis and Oyatambwe (2002): 411–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/03056240208704630.
    • Law and Conflict: Davis, Laura. “Power Shared and Justice Shelved: The Democratic Republic of Congo.” The International Journal of Human Rights 17, no. 2 (2013): 289–306. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2013.752948.
    • Reasons for Restraint: Samset, Ingrid. “Conflict of Interests or Interests in Conflict? Diamonds & War in the Drc.” Review of African Political Economy 29, nos. 93-94 (2002): 463–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/03056240208704633.
    • Sexual Violence in Conflict: Baaz, Maria Eriksson, and Maria Stern. “Why Do Soldiers Rape? Masculinity, Violence, and Sexuality in the Armed Forces in the Congo (Drc).” International Studies Quarterly 53, no. 2 (2009): 495–518. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27735106.
    • National Security and Political Cleavages: Clark, John F. “A Constructivist Account of the Congo Wars.” African Security 4, no. 3 (2011): 147–70. https://doi.org/10.1080/19392206.2011.599262.
    • Population Control: Verweijen, Judith. “Military Business and the Business of the Military in the Kivus.” Review of African Political Economy 40, no. 135 (2013): 67–82.
    • Political Repression: Matti, Stephanie A. “The Democratic Republic of the Congo? Corruption, Patronage, and Competitive Authoritarianism in the Drc.” Africa Today 56, no. 4 (2010): 42–61. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/aft.2010.56.4.42.
    • Intelligence & Institutions: Meagher, Kate. “The Strength of Weak States? Non-State Security Forces and Hybrid Governance in Africa.” Development and Change 43, no. 5 (2012): 1073–1101. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7660.2012.01794.x.
    • Torture: Baaz, Maria Eriksson, and Maria Stern. “Making Sense of Violence: Voices of Soldiers in the Congo (Drc).” The Journal of Modern African Studies 46, no. 1 (2008): 57–86. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X07003072.
    • One-Sided Violence: Karstedt, Susanne. “Contextualizing Mass Atrocity Crimes: Moving Toward a Relational Approach.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 9, no. 1 (2013): 383–404. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-102612-134016.
  • Further Reading
    • Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges. The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History. Zed Books, (2002).
    • Berdal, Mats. “The State of UN Peacekeeping: Lessons from Congo.” Journal of Strategic Studies 41, no. 5 (2018): 721–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2016.1215307.
    • Reyntjens, Filip. The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006. Cambridge University Press, (2009)
  • Other material
    • Tansi, Sony Labou. Life and a Half: A Novel. Indiana University Press, (2011).
    • Dongala, Emmanuel. Johnny Mad Dog. Picador, (2006).
    • Wainaina, Binyavanga. “How to Write About Africa.” Granta 92 (2005). Available online here

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