The second lebanon war: Examining "democratization of war" theory

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Israel's Second Lebanon War (2006) is a typical manifestation of a flawed war fought by a democratic society. As such, it represents an important opportunity to provide significant evidence regarding the validity of theories that deal with the "democratization of war" syndrome, that is, the limitations imposed on the way democracies wage war and how they cope with these limitations. This article argues that the events of the war exhibit four theoretical propositions, all of which are drawn from the U.S. post- Vietnam experience: speedy decision making to avert public disputes, a weak "civilian" government that struggles to restrain the military, the proclivity to shorten the war and reduce its costs, and the setting of overly ambitious war goals as a means of mobilizing public support. In short, the imperatives derived from the democratization of war syndrome produce mechanisms that work to heighten belligerence rather than temper it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-803
Number of pages18
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Decision making
  • Democratization of war
  • War goals
  • War legitimacy
  • War sacrifi ce

RAMBI publications

  • Lebanon War, 2006


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