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Of the four generations of warfare outlined by William S. Lind in his article en

Of the four generations of warfare outlined by William S. Lind in his article entitled “Understanding Fourth Generation War”, I believe that of the four generations, the one that I find most “ethical” utilizing my own personal ethical code would be the First Generation of war.  The trait or defining factor that my personal code defines as ethical in these generations of war is the distinction between ““military” from “civilian” – uniforms, saluting, careful gradations or rank – were products of the First Generation and are intended to reinforce the culture of order” (Lind, 2004).  In my opinion, this is the one thing that defines whether a conflict is ethical or an exercise in butchery and murder.  Although there is a certain level of acceptability in civilian casualties depending on the objectives of an operation, the use of force deliberately towards a civilian populace leading to the unnecessary deaths of non-combatants to achieve military and political success crosses every line that I define as acceptable in the pursuit of victory through war.  The evolution of warfare into this Fourth Generation only serves to muddle the distinction between military forces and civilian non-combatants allowing the resurgence of guerilla tactics and insurgencies that lead to the further sheding of blood by those who are non-combatants.
One attribute of Fourth Generation warfare that will be crucial to future conflicts and one that until now has been an accepted norm in society and history is the “return to a world of cultures, not merely states, in conflict” (Lind, 2004).  Although historically this isn’t a new concept to warfare through the actions of groups not directly associated or representative to a particular defined state, country, or political entity, the rise of non-aligned or radical groups that hold more loyalty to a concept or an idea is more profound in Fourth Generation warfare unlike in the three previous generations.  Groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or the Abu Sayyef Group, both based in the southern islands of the Republic of the Philippines are armed militant groups who are more loyal to a specific cause rather than a particular nation.  As time has passed, we see more and more of these organizations grown from religious ideals or from particular nationalistic points of views that don’t associate directly with established nations but towards specific ideas and have separate but defined goals based upon those ideas.  Although these goals may be to form an independent nation whose laws reflect these founding ideals, the alarming rise of these groups may show a trend towards the success and longevity of these groups to exist and in some points achieve in their goals in the face of established nations with more military and technological resources. 
Lind, W. S. (2004, January 15). Understanding Fourth Generation War. Retrieved from
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Singh, D. (2014). Introduction. Southeast Asian Affairs. pix-xviii. p10.  Retrieved from
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