Peter Olsthoorn
Netherlands Defence Academy
This article deals with the notion of honor and its role in today’s military as an incentive in combat, but also as a check on the behavior on both the battlefield and in modern “operations other than war.” First, an outline will be given of what honor is and how it relates to traditional views on military courage. After that, the Roman honor-ethic, stating that honor is a necessary incentive for courageous behavior and that it is something worth dying for, is contrasted with today’s prevailing view which sees honor as something obsolete and archaic and not as a legitimate motive. The article then addresses the way honor continues to have a role in today’s military, despite its diminishing role in society at large. Subsequently, the drawbacks of the military’s use of the honor ethic are addressed, focusing also on the current operation in Iraq. The final section tries to find a solution to these problems
Keywords honor  military  cohesion  courage
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ISBN(s) 0739-098X
DOI 10.5840/ijap20062015
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