Keywords: Western way of war; Soldiers' death; Casualty aversion; Collateral damage.
Military thinkers and generals have devoted a great deal of attention to the logistical,
technological, and operational dimensions of strategy, rather than to the cultural and
social aspects of it. This article argues that in order to understand how Western
states fight, a major focus on cultural variables is crucial. The article aims to show
that the contemporary Western way of war is largely a reflection of the way Western
societies think about life and death. Indeed, the value that Western societies attribute
to their soldiers' lives is at the origin of a great cultural shift, which has contributed
to produce a peculiar way of fighting. In so doing, the article also explores the military
and moral shortcomings of the present Western way of war.