The Reluctant Mercenary: Vulnerability and the 'Whores of War'

Journal of Military Ethics 12 (3):235-251 (2013)
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Mercenaries are the target of moral condemnation far more often than they are subject of moral concern. One attempt at morally condemning mercenaries proceeds by analogy with prostitutes; mercenaries are ?the whores of war?. This analogy is unconvincing as a way of condemning mercenaries. However, careful comparison of mercenarism and prostitution suggests that, like many prostitutes, some mercenaries may be vulnerable individuals. If apt, this comparison imposes a consistency requirement: if one thinks certain prostitutes are appropriate subjects of moral concern in light of their vulnerability, then one must think that mercenaries who are likewise vulnerable are also appropriate subjects of moral concern. In this paper I elucidate the relevant, morally significant sense of ?vulnerability?, and present evidence suggesting that at least some mercenaries are vulnerable in this sense

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Benjamin James Fraser
Australian National University

Citations of this work

The New Veterans.John Riley & Michael Gambone - 2020 - Journal of Military Ethics 19 (3):201-219.

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