In the course of the century, the burden of war shifted increasingly from armed forces to civilians, …

In the course of the century, the burden of war shifted increasingly from armed forces to civilians, who were not only its victims, but increasingly the object of military or military-political operations. The contrast between the first world war and the second is dramatic: only 5% of those who died in the first were civilians; in the second, the figure increased to 66%. It is generally supposed that 80 to 90% of those affected by war today are civilians. The proportion has increased since the end of the cold war because most military operations since then have been conducted not by conscript armies, but by small bodies of regular or irregular troops, in many cases operating high-technology weapons and protected against the risk of incurring casualties. There is no reason to doubt that the main victims of war will continue to be civilians.

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