The present article discusses a well-known religious philosophical and partially legal doctrine of the “Just war”, developed in the Christian tradition by St. Augustine, St. Tomas Aquinas, Francisco de Vittoria, Francisco Suarez, Hugo Grotius and many other thinkers. The main thesis of the doctrine is that war will be just only if it corresponds to certain criteria, such as autoritas principi (waged by the sovereign), justa causa (on just aim) and with recta intentio (animus) or (...) the aim and will to wage war in order to restore justice and not because of personal hate, revenge, lust for glory, etc. However, the impact of the doctrine was not limited by the Middle Ages and the Christian philosophic discourse. This doctrine shaped both emerging international law and international humanitarian law in one or another way. Even though it did not survive intact through the changing reality of the world, it is not so hard to trace the reflections of this doctrine even in contemporary international law. For example, while evaluating the armed conflict we still use the autoritas principi principle (armed conflicts may be fought only by defined subjects such as states or militarily - politically organised dissidents), moreover, when we are dealing with the concept of combatancy, the same principle applies in establishing whether a person is a legal fighter in the conflict or not, because his status directly stems from his belonging to the party of the conflict. With its strictly limited possibilities to use force, the contemporary jus contra bellum also somewhat resembles the doctrine, not only in the sense of justa causa (such as a possibility of unilateral use of force by the state only in self-defence) but also in recta intentio (e.g. the United Nations Security Council may order the use of force only with the intention to re-establish peace). Therefore, even though the doctrine is the product of the Middle Ages thought, it is not forgotten in our days. The possible military strike against Iran in order to stop it from developing nuclear weapon is already discussed in the light of this doctrine. Moreover, authors (though mainly not lawyers) discussing inadequacies of current international legal framework for the use of force (e.g. the need for humanitarian intervention) find their inspiration in the doctrine. (shrink)
Plato arguably stands as one of the precursors to what we today know as the Just War Tradition, and he has more to say about ethics and the use of force than what is often acknowledged. In this article I try to show, by analyzing selected passages and perspectives from the Republic, that Plato regards the role of military ethics as crucial in the construction of the ideal city, and he sees limitation of brutality and more generally a philosophical (...) approach to the use of force as crucial elements of the city’s approach to warfare. Military power and, indeed, harsh preparations for it do occupy a central position in Plato’s political thought, but use of armed force is at the same time closely linked to the virtue of justice as well as the other virtues. (shrink)
Available Again! Long before the "shock and awe" campaign against Iraq in March 2003, debates swarmed around the justifications of the U.S.-led war to depose Saddam Hussein. While George W. Bush's administration declared a just war of necessity, opponents charged that it was a war of choice, and even opportunism. Behind the rhetoric lie vital questions: when is war just, and what means are acceptable even in the course of a just war? Originally published in 1991, in (...) the wake of the first war against Iraq, Just War Theory explores this essential dilemma. With a new preface by the editor, the essays in this indispensable collection move beyond the theoretical origins of just war theory to examine issues faced by military strategists, politicians, social theorists, and anyone concerned with the provocations and costs of military action. Popular wisdom once claimed that notions of just war would become obsolete with the onset of "total warfare," characterized by attacks on civilians and undiscriminating weapons of mass destruction. While the last decade has been ripe with brutality, just war theory is more critical than ever to the future of international relations and public discourse. This readable collection is an invaluable introduction to the debate. (shrink)
Introduction -- Just war theory -- Objections to just war theory -- Easy cases : Germany, Japan, Korea -- Harder cases : Serbia, Russia, Kosovo, Iraq -- Multiple reasons -- More problems with just war theory -- Prevention : Sri Lanka, Thailand -- Two just war theories -- Problems with just war theory I -- Problems for just war theory II -- Closing thoughts.
Contrary to what has been alleged, the moral equivalence of combatants (MEC) is not a doctrine that was expressly developed by the traditional theorists of just war. Working from the axiom that just cause is unilateral, they did not embrace a conception of public war that included MEC. Indeed, MEC was introduced in the early fifteenth century as a challenge to the then reigning just war paradigm. It does not follow, however, that the distinction between private (...) and public war had no place in the traditional teaching. Thomas Aquinas and his successors did not analyse just war by extrapolation from the related idea of self-defense. Rather, they likened just war to a legal proceeding that could solely be undertaken by persons possessed of legitimate authority. For this reason, just war was first and foremost public war. Private war was deemed ?war? only in a secondary and reduced sense of the term. It was accordingly understood that public war should be waged and its morality judged by reference to a set of norms that are not directly reducible to those governing private self (and other)-defense. (shrink)
In this essay, I reject the suggestion that the just war tradition (JWT) does not apply to cyberwarfare (CW). That is not to say CW will not include grey areas defying easy analysis in terms of the JWT. But analogously ambiguous cases have long existed in warfare without undercutting the JWT's broad relevance. That some aspects of CW are unique is likewise no threat to the JWT's applicability. The special character of CW remains similar enough to other kinds of (...) warfare; the distinctions are more differences of degree than of kind. (shrink)
Some recent authors have argued that Aquinas deliberately integrated a pacifist outlook into his just war theory. Others, by contrast, have maintained that his rejection of pacifism was unequivocal. The present article attempts to set the historical record straight by an examination of Aquinas's writings on this topic. In addition to Q. 40, A. 1 of Summa theologiae II–II, the text usually cited in this connection, this article considers the biblical commentaries where Aquinas explains how the Gospel “precepts of (...) patience,” especially Matthew 5:39, “Do not resist evil,” should be interpreted in light of the doctrine of just war. The article concludes that Aquinas formulated a two-stage theory whereby pacifism was rejected as a suitable form of agency for the state (respublica), while it was affirmed as the appropriate response to evil for the agency of the church (ecclesia). (shrink)
In what circumstances is it legitimate to use force? How should force be used? These are two of the most crucial questions confronting world politics today. The Just War tradition provides a set of criteria which political leaders and soldiers use to defend and rationalize war. This book explores the evolution of thinking about just wars and examines its role in shaping contemporary judgements about the use of force, from grand strategic issues of whether states have a right (...) to pre-emptive self-defence, to the minutiae of targeting. Bellamy maps the evolution of the Just War tradition, demonstrating how it arose from a myriad of sub-traditions, including scholasticism, the holy war tradition, chivalry, natural law, positive law, Erasmus and Kant's reformism, and realism from Machiavelli to Morgenthau. He then applies this tradition to a range of contemporary normative dilemmas related to terrorism, pre-emption, aerial bombardment and humanitarian intervention. (shrink)
In this chapter, I take up the question of whether one of the central principles of jus ad bellum – just cause – is relevant in a world in which cyberattacks occur. I argue that this principle is just as relevant as ever, though it needs modification in light of recent developments. In particular, I argue, contrary to many traditional just war theorists, that just cause should not be limited to physical attacks. In the process, I (...) offer an improved definition of cyberattack and show how some other principles of jus ad bellum constrain this widened notion of just cause. (shrink)
In his widely influential statement of just war theory, Michael Walzer exempts conscripted soldiers from all responsibility for taking part in war, whether just or unjust (the thesis of the moral equality of soldiers). He endows the overwhelming majority of civilians with almost absolute immunity from military attack on the ground that they aren't responsible for the war their country is waging, whether just or unjust. I argue that Walzer is much too lenient on both soldiers and (...) civilians. Soldiers fighting for a just cause and soldiers fighting for an unjust one are not morally equal. A substantial proportion of civilians in a democracy are responsible, to a significant degree, for their country's unjust war. Moreover, under certain (admittedly rare) circumstances, some of them are legitimate targets of military attack. This has bearing on settling moral accounts in the wake of war and the issue of forgiving the wrongs done in its course: possible candidates for such forgiveness are much more numerous than is usually assumed. (shrink)
The traditional requirements upon the waging of a just war are ostensibly independent, but in actual practice each tenet is subject ultimately to the interpretation of a legitimate authority, whose declaration becomes the necessary and sufficient condition. While just war theory presupposes that some acts are absolutely wrong, it also implies that the killing of innocents can be rendered permissible through human decree. Nations are conventionally delimited, and leaders are conventionally appointed. Any group of people could band together (...) to form a nation, and any person could, in principle, be appointed the leader of any nation. Because the just war approach assumes absolutism while implying relativism, the stance is paradoxical and hence rationally untenable. (shrink)
This paper explores the question of whether the United Nations should engage in preventive military actions. Correlatively, it asks whether UN preventive military actions could satisfy just war principles. Rather than from the standpoint of the individual nation state, the ethics of preventive war is discussed from the standpoint of the UN. For the sake of brevity, only the legitimate authority, just cause, last resort, and proportionality principles are considered. Since there has been disagreement about the specific content (...) of these principles, a third question also is explored: How should they be formulated? Moreover, these questions are addressed in the context of a particular issue: the goals of the non-proliferation and the abolition of weapons of mass destruction. (shrink)
A survey of just war theory literature reveals the existence of quite different lists of principles. This apparent arbitrariness raises a number of questions: What is the relation between ad bellum and in bello principles? Why are there so many of the former and so few of the latter? What order is there among the various principles? To answer these questions, I first draw on some recent work by Jeff McMahan to show that ad bellum and in bello principles (...) are not, as often portrayed, independent—the justice of conduct in war largely presupposes the justice of the recourse to war. Undermining this independence claim is one important step toward revealing the unified logical structure of just war theory. I then argue that we can see the dependence of the jus in bello upon the jus ad bellum , not just in the content of certain principles, but also in the structure of the two sets of principles: I construct a one-to-one mapping between ad bellum and in bello principles. In doing so, I argue also that the shared structure successfully finds place for the questions central to the evaluation of the morality of war: what is a sufficient provocation to use force, what objectives may be sought by force, why or for what ends, who has authority to decide to use force, and when or in what circumstances? Despite variations in expression, the theory allows for a coherent and comprehensive evaluation of morality in warfare. (shrink)
Frequently, the just war principle of noncombatant immunity is interpreted as morally prohibiting the intentional targeting of noncombatants. Apparently, many just war theorists assume that to target means to (intend to) kill. Now that effective nonlethal weapons have been envisaged, it should be evident that there is no conceptual connection between intentionally targeting and intentionally killing. For, using nonlethal weapons, there could be intentional targeting without intentional killing. This paper explores the question of whether the noncombatant immunity principle (...) should be revised, so as to allow uses of nonlethal weapons. Preliminary to answering this question, some other questions are explored, among which are the following. Why should a noncombatant immunity principle be accepted? Why is it morally permissible to intentionally target enemy combatants? Are noncombatants grievously harmed when they are incapacitated by nonlethal weapons? Is it morally permissible to intentionally incapacitate enemy combatants with nonlethal weapons, while knowingly but not intentionally incapacitating noncombatants? In order to focus on moral questions involving nonlethal weapons, questions about their effectiveness or legality are set aside. Instead of the idea of noncombatant immunity as expressed above, a delimited principle of noncombatant immunity is proposed—namely, that, in the conduct of war, the intentional grave injuring or killing of noncombatants is morally prohibited. Also proposed is a principle of noncombatant targeting, which would allow some uses of nonlethal weapons to intentionally incapacitate noncombatants. (shrink)
As it is traditionally conceived, Just War Theory is not well suited for dealing with nation vs non-nation wars. It thus makes sense to create a second Just War Theory to deal with these wars. This article explores the differences and similarities between the two theories.
Recent work in the ethics of war has done much to challenge the collectivism of the convention-based, Walzerian just war theory. In doing so, it raises the question of when it is permissible for soldiers to resort to force. This article considers this issue and, in doing so, argues that the rejection of collectivism in just war should go further still. More specifically, it defends the ‘Individual-Centric Approach’ to the deep morality of war, which asserts that the justifiability (...) of an individual’s contribution to the war, rather than the justifiability of the war more generally, determines the moral acceptability of their participation. It then goes on to present five implications of the Individual-Centric Approach, including for individual liability to attack in war. (shrink)
This essay challenges a "meta-theory" in just war analysis that purports to bridge the divide between just war and pacifism. According to the meta-theory, just war and pacifism share a common presumption against killing that can be overridden only under conditions stipulated by the just war criteria. Proponents of this meta-theory purport that their interpretation leads to ecumenical consensus between "just warriors" and pacifists, and makes the just war theory more effective in reducing recourse (...) to war. Engagement with the new meta-theory reveals, however, that these purported advantages are illusory, made possible only by ignoring fundamental questions about the nature and function of political authority that are crucial to all moral reflection on the problem of war. (shrink)
I offer an argument for why torture, as an act of state-sponsored force to gain information crucial to the well-being of the common good, should be considered as a tactic of war, and therefore scrutinized in terms of just war theory. I argue that, for those committed to the justifiability of the use of force, most of the popular arguments against all acts of torture are unpersuasive because the logic behind them would forbid equally any act of mutilating or (...) killing in battle. I will also argue that looking at torture through the perspective of the just war tradition forces us to place strictures on the practice that make it hard to justify, helps us to see why torture should never be legalized, helps us to clarify when circumstances might justify torture, and suggests what sort of character is required to recognize when those circumstances have occurred. (shrink)
What is, or should be, the role of defense in thinking about the justification of use of armed force? Contemporary just war thinking prioritizes defense as the principal, and perhaps the only, just cause for resorting to armed force. By contrast, classic just war tradition, while recognizing defense as justification for use of force by private persons, did not reason from self-defense to the justification of the use of force on behalf of the political community, but instead (...) rendered the idea of just cause for resort to force in terms of the sovereign's responsibility to maintain justice, vindicating those who had suffered from injustice and punishing evildoers. This paper moves through three major stages in the historical development of just war thinking, first examining a critical phase in the formation of the classical idea of just cause as the responsibility to maintain justice, then discussing the shift, characteristic of the modern period, to an idea of sovereignty as connected to the state and the prioritization of defense of the state as just cause for use of force, and lastly showing how this conception of the priority of defense became part of the recovery of just war thinking in the latter part of the twentieth century. The paper concludes by noting recent changes in thought on international law that tend to emphasize justice at the expense of the right of self-defense, suggesting that the roots of just war thinking imply the need for a similar rethinking of contemporary just war discourse. (shrink)
The article provides an account of the unlikely revival of the medieval Just War Theory, due in large part to the efforts of Michael Walzer. Its purpose is to address the question: What is a just war theorist? By exploring contrasts between scholarly activity and forms of international activism, the paper argues that just war theorists appear to be just war criminals, both on the count of aiding and abetting aggression and on the count of inciting (...) troops to commit war crimes. (shrink)
This article analyses current trends in and future expectations of nanotechnology and other key enabling technologies for security as well as dual use nanotechnology from the perspective of the ethical Just War Theory (JWT), interpreted as an instrument to increase the threshold for using armed force for solving conflicts. The aim is to investigate the relevance of the JWT to the ethical governance of research. The analysis gives rise to the following results. From the perspective of the JWT, military (...) research should be evaluated with different criteria than research for civil or civil security applications. From a technological perspective, the boundaries between technologies for civil and military applications are fuzzy. Therefore the JWT offers theoretical grounds for making clear distinctions between research for military, civil security and other applications that are not obvious from a purely technological perspective. Different actors bear responsibility for development of the technology than for resorting to armed force for solving conflicts or for use of weapons and military technologies in combat. Different criteria should be used for moral judgment of decisions made by each type of actor in each context. In addition to evaluation of potential consequences of future use of the weapons or military technologies under development, the JWT also prescribes ethical evaluation of the inherent intent and other foreseeable consequences of the development itself of new military technologies. (shrink)
This essay addresses one of the central questions in the ongoing debate about just war theory: are soldiers morally responsible for serving in unjust wars? Francisco de Vitoria addressed this question in the sixteenth century using the concepts of invincible and vincible ignorance. He excused soldiers serving in unjust wars, if they did not know the war was unjust and if they did not have the means to overcome their ignorance; if they had the means, they were morally culpable. (...) In modern just war theory, ignorance is still used both to blame and excuse military service in unjust wars. This essay identifies ten different ways that scholars have used ignorance to argue about the moral responsibilities of soldiers. It then applies the different meanings of ignorance to soldiers serving in Western nations and, using Vitoria’s means tests, evaluates if modern soldiers do indeed have the means to overcome their ignorance. Since many soldiers do have the means, invincible ignorance should no longer be used as an excuse for their service in unjust wars; furthermore, soldiers may, in fact, be morally culpable for serving in them. (shrink)
Pope John Paul II's opposition to the Iraq War was not that it failed to meet the conditions of Just War Theory. Indeed, we cannot tell from what he publicly said whether he thought it met those conditions or not, for he would have opposed it in any case. His thinking was rather that even just and necessary wars always come, as it were, too late, and are never able to solve the problems that made wars just (...) and necessary. He was not trying therefore to enter into the details of Just War Theory. He wanted to subsume the principles of war into the principles of peace and to do so, not by denying justice, but by transcending it with charity. This article shows how this thinking is to be understood and the many means the Pope devised for putting this thinking into practice. (shrink)
The idea of “just war” is not alien to Chinese thought. The term “yi zhan” (usually translated as “just war” or “righteous war” in English) is used in Mencius, was renewed by Mao Zedong, and is still being used in China today (zhengyi zhanzheng). The best place to start exploring this Chinese idea is in the enormous Art of War corpus in premodern China, of which the Seven Military Classics is the best representative. This set of treatises served (...) as the military bible in imperial China from 1078 CE. Ideas analogous to ius ad bellum and ius in bello can be found in these texts. These norms are present in these military texts, elaborated in subsequent commentaries, understood as a matter of fact in Chinese political history, and recently and briefly acknowledged by a few Chinese military scholars in the mainland and in Taiwan. This Chinese just war ethics has its distinctiveness vis-à-vis James Turner Johnson's articulation of the Western classic view. It differs from Johnson's claims that military lethal violence is intrinsically morally neutral and that last resort is not a primary consideration in deciding for war. Contemporary Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) military publications show that the PLA understands the general idea of just war, but they acknowledge only the ad bellum part, not the in bello components. (shrink)
In his Just and Unjust Wars, Michael Walzer claims that his theory of just war is based on the rights of individuals to life and liberty. This is not the case. Walzer in fact bases his theory of jus ad bellum on the supreme rights of supra-individual political communities. According to his theory of jus ad bellum, the rights of political communities are of utmost importance, and individuals can be sacrificed for the sake of these communal rights. At (...) the same time, Walzer bases his theory of jus in bello on the supreme rights of individuals to life and liberty. According to his theory of jus in bello, the rights of individuals are of utmost importance, and political communities can never permissibly violate them in war. Thus, Walzer’s theory of just war is based on two incompatible theories of justice. This explains why Walzer’s theory produces incoherent practical prescriptions in cases of supreme emergencies. Furthermore, it is impossible for Walzer to base his theory of jus ad bellum on the rights of individuals as he conceives them. The theory of jus ad bellum holds that soldiers are obligated to obey the commands of their political superiors. However, this obligation violates the rights of individuals in a number of respects. This is why Walzer does not base the theory of jus ad bellum on individual rights, and produces an incoherent theory. (shrink)
The usefulness of Just War Theory (JWT) has been called into question in recent years for two key reasons. First, military conflicts today less frequently fit the model traditionally assumed by JWT of interstate wars between regular armies. Second, there is a perception that JWT has lost its critical edge after its categories and principles have been co-opted by bellicose political leaders. This paper critically examines two responses to these concerns which shift the locus of responsibility for wars towards (...) either individual citizens or soldiers. Both attempts to revitalize JWT rely upon idealized conditions which preclude their pragmatic employment. I propose that, in order to arrive at a non-idealized JWT that individuals can apply in a critical fashion, an alternative focus upon a more basic question of political philosophy is required: Under what conditions, if any, are individual soldiers or citizens politically obligated to fight for their state? (shrink)
Vitoria and Suárez defend the categorical immunity of the innocent not to be intentionally killed. But they allow for inflicting collective punishment on the innocent and the noninnocent alike during and after a just war. So they allow for deliberately harming them. Inflicting harm on the innocent can often result in their death. Hence, holding both claims seems incoherent. First, the objections against using the term “innocent” are explained. Second, their views on just war are explored. And third, (...) by appealing to Aquinas' double-effect reasoning, it is shown how they try to avoid the above-mentioned incoherence. Still, their appeal might be insufficient to palliate the tension between the above-mentioned claims. If just wars are possible, the deliberate harming of the innocent is reasonably unavoidable for defeating and punishing those who wage them. Hence, defenders of just wars, whether from a religious or a secular perspective, must live with such a tension. (shrink)
This essay distinguishes two main forms of pacifism, personal pacifism and political pacifism. It then contrasts the views on self-defense of political pacifism and just war theory, paying special attention to notions of the state and sovereignty.
Drawing on examples from the history of warfare from the crusades to the present day, "The ethics of war" explores the limits and possibilities of the moral regulation of war. While resisting the commonly held view that 'war is hell', A.J. Coates focuses on the tensions which exist between war and morality. The argument is conducted from a just war standpoint, though the moral ambiguity and mixed record of that tradition is acknowledge and the dangers which an exaggerated view (...) of the justice or moral worth of war poses are underlined. In the first part, the broad image of the just war is compared with the competing images of realism, militarism and pacifism. In the second part, the moral issues associated both with the decision to go to war and with the manner in which war is conducted are explored. Was the allied decision to go to war in the Gulf premature? were economic sanctions a more effective and morally preferable option? was Britain justified in going to war over the Falklands? did the allied bombing of Germany in the Second World War constitute a war crime? should the IRA's claim to belligerent status be recognised? these questions and more are raised in this important book. (shrink)
This study of the comparative ethics of war seeks to open a discussion about whether there are universal standards in the ideologies of warfare between the major religious traditions of the world. The project looks at the ideology of war in the major Asian religious traditions. Does our exploration of the ethics of war in Asian civilizations have any bearing on the pressing questions of armed conflict today? It has become clear that Islamic ethics and law contain sophisticated concepts of (...) both just war (jus ad bellum) and just warfare (jus in bello) . The contributions of this work explore the central issues of just war in non-Western religious traditions. This new approach will be of interest to scholars of religion and war studies. (shrink)
What are the ethical principles underpinning the idea of a just war and how should they be adapted to changing social and military circumstances? In this book, Steven P. Lee presents the basic principles of just war theory, showing how they evolved historically and how they are applied today in global relations. He examines the role of state sovereignty and individual human rights in the moral foundations of just war theory and discusses a wide range of topics (...) including humanitarian intervention, preventive war, the moral status of civilians and enemy combatants, civil war and terrorism. He shows how just war theory relates to both pacifism and realism. Finally, he considers the future of war and the prospects for its obsolescence. His clear and wide-ranging discussion, richly illustrated with examples, will be invaluable for students and other readers interested in the ethical challenges posed by the changing nature of war. (shrink)
The primary purpose of government is to secure public goods that cannot be achieved by free markets. The Coordination Principle tells us to consolidate sovereign power in a single institution to overcome collective action problems that otherwise prevent secure provision of the relevant public goods. There are several public goods that require such coordination at the global level, chief among them being basic human rights. The claim that human rights require global coordination is supported in three main steps. First, I (...) consider Pogge's and Habermas's analyses as alternatives to Hobbesian conceptions of justice. Second, I consider the core conventions of international law, which are in tension with the primacy of state sovereignty in the UN system. Third, I argue that the just war tradition does not limit just causes for war to self-defense; it supports saving innocent third parties from crimes against humanity as a just reason for war. While classical authors focused less on this issue, the point is especially clear in twentieth-century just war theories, such as those offered by the American Catholic bishops, Jean Elshtain, Brian Orend, and Michael Walzer. Against Walzer, I argue that we add intractable military tyranny to the list of horrors meriting intervention if other ad bellum conditions are met. But these results require us to reexamine the "just authority" of first resort to govern such interventions. The Coordination Principle implies that we should create a transnational federation with consolidated powers in place of a treaty organization requiring near-unanimity. But to be legitimate, such a global institution must also be directly answerable to the citizens of its member states. While the UN Security Council is inadequate on both counts, a federation of democracies with a directly elected executive and legislature could meet both conditions. (shrink)
Introduction : Ethics in the real world -- An overview of applied ethics for the military -- Just war thinking (JWT) in historical perspective -- Philosophical foundations of military ethics -- Jus ad bellum today -- Jus in bello today -- Adapting to contemporary challenges -- Cultural ethical issues -- Modern military identity.
The new western way of war from Vietnam in Iraq -- Theories of the new western way of war -- The global surveillance mode of warfare -- Rules of risk-transfer war -- Iraq: risk economy of a war -- A way of war in crisis.
Although international law and the Charter of the United Nations define a doctrine of just war, some critics have argued that the U.S. has become an empire that can no longer be bound by such doctrine. On the contrary, I maintain that we must retain just war doctrine as a normative base from which to critique the U.S. and its preemptive wars against terrorism. Neither the Afghanistan nor the Iraq war has been a just (...) war. By its imperialist intentions and barbarous actions, the U.S. government has shown itself no longer to be a legitimate authority with the moral justification to begin or conduct a war. Such subversion of democratic deliberation requires a moral force to mobilize resistance from below. Since no war initiated by the undemocratic elite of the U.S. Empire could possibly be just, we have a conscientious obligation to become revolutionary pacifists against any wars called by such an illegitimate government. In contrast to universal pacifism, a context-justified revolutionary pacifism can be defended as a coherent moral and political position. (shrink)
Just war doctrine includes a stringent prohibition against killing and otherwise harming 'innocents', those of one's enemy population who are not engaged in the act of making war. This category includes most enemy civilians. The prohibition cannot reasonably prohibit all possible harms to these innocents. The doctrine of double effect is a way of limiting the prohibition to acts of intentionally harming innocents. This paper explores the application of double effect reasoning in this context, with a view (...) towards determining whether it contains resources to prevent rationalizing and mistaken applications. I argue that, although there are hard cases, the doctrine can be applied rigorously so as to expose rationalizing applications and mistakes. (shrink)
Introduction -- The meaning of war -- The historical context -- How do we know that we are at war? -- How do we know when a war is over? -- National security strategy and tactical art -- Who participates in war? -- What rules govern war? -- Why does it matter? -- The way ahead.