This anthology brings together material on two major related topics: the military profession, and morality and war. The revised and updated edition retains those sections that made the original version indispensable in the classroom, while incorporating new selections on topics of special concern for the 1980s and beyond. In particular, Colonel Wakin has included essays fo This anthology brings together material on two major related topics: the military profession, and morality and war. The revised and updated edition retains those sections that made the original version indispensable in the classroom, while incorporating new selections on topics of special concern for the 1980s and beyond. In particular, Colonel Wakin has included essays focusing on the relevance of nuclear deterrence and “just war” theory in the nuclear age. The articles in the first section stress the ethical dimensions of the military profession, considering topics such as the conflict between military values and societal norms, the relation of the military to the state, and the concepts of loyalty, honor, and integrity.
This has caused a predictable outburst of controversy among historians who believe they own the war and who, besides resenting any trespass on their terrain, are not predisposed to thinking in these terms about any aspect of our endeavours in 1939-45. I have always accepted this was a just war for the Allied side, against dangerous and wicked aggressors. Losing it would itself have been a crime, as well as a disaster. And yet, if we did do anything questionable in the course of that war, we should have the maturity and courage to acknowledge it, and learn from it, because we are still fighting wars, and may have to fight yet more. They defend the bombing campaign against Germany by saying that it hampered the Nazi war effort because it kept troops, guns and aircraft on the home front, thus weakening the eastern and western military fronts, and slowed industrial production. Second, they say that to describe area bombing of civilians as a war crime is to make a judgement of hindsight, using concepts - particularly that of the "war crime" - which did not come into existence until later. A vigorous debate about bombing had started as early as 1899, when the Hague Conference outlawed throwing grenades from balloons - even before manned flight began.
It sounds like the sort of thing a wise and omniscient Time Lord might say, speaking from the vantage of hindsight and foresight simultaneously. But in fact the words were uttered by US President John F. Kennedy, in an address to the United Nations on September 25, 1961. A finite moment in time, and one situated at the height of that post-WWII period of confrontation and tension known as the Cold War. From the looming fear of apocalyptic nuclear war, to the proliferation of conventional proxy wars between Soviet and American allies in much of the developing world, the 40-year span following World War II was very much a product of Cold War tensions between the United States (and its NATO allies) and the Soviet Union (and its Warsaw Pact allies).
, the hero, Pierre Bezukhov, arrives at the battlefield of Borodino to find that the fog of war has descended, obscuring everything he had expected to be clear. There is no order, there are no familiar patterns of action, all is contingency. He could not, Count Bezukhov admits, “even distinguish our troops from the enemy’s.” And the worst is yet to come, for once the real fighting begins, chaos takes over in full. From the brought this ancient truth home to a new generation of Americans: in even the most brilliantly planned military campaign, such as the Allied invasion of Normandy, contingency is soon king, and overcoming it draws on a man’s deepest reserves of courage and wit. Some analysts, however, take the trope of “the fog of war” a philosophical step further and suggest that warfare takes place beyond the reach of moral reason, in a realm of interest and necessity where moral argument is a pious diversion at best and, at worst, a lethal distraction from the deadly serious business at hand.
Any philosophical examination of war will center on four general questions: What is war? What is the relationship between human nature and war? Defining what war is requires determining the entities that are allowed to begin and engage in war. And a person's definition of war often expresses the person's broader political philosophy, such as limiting war to a conflict between nations or state. Alternative definitions of war can include conflict not just between nations but between schools of thought or ideologies. " largely depend on the philosopher's views on determinism and free will. If a human's actions are beyond his or her control, then the cause of war is irrelevant and inescapable. On the other hand, if war is a product of human choice, then three general groupings of causation can be identified: biological, cultural, and reason.
After war has been begun, and during the whole period thereof up to the attainment of victory, it is just to visit upon the enemy all losses which may seem necessary either for obtaining satisfaction or for securing victory, provided that these losses do not involve intrinsic injury to innocent persons, which would be in itself an evil. Suarez, The Three Theological Virtues Murder, some may suggest, is to be defined as the intentional and uncoerced killing of the innocent; and it is true by definition that murder is wrong. Yet wars, particularly modern wars, seem to require the killing of the innocent, e.g., through antimorale terror bombing. The above line of argument has a certain plausibility and seems to lie behind much philosophical and theological discussion of such problems as the Just War and the nature of war crimes. If accepted in full, it seems to entail the immorality of war (i.e., the position of pacifism) and the moral blameworthiness of those who participate in war (i.e., warmakers and uncoerced soldiers are all murderers). To avoid these consequences, some writers will challenge some part of the argument by maintaining that contributing to the death of innocents is morally blameless so long as it is only foreseen but not intended by those involved in bringing it about (the Catholic principle of the Double Effect) or I shall avoid making any final judgments on the morality of war (modern wars or otherwise) since such judgments would involve not just philosophical claims but also empirical claims, e.g., the claim that in fact modern wars cannot be waged so as to avoid the killing of the innocent.
On the back cover the book is advertised as "The authoritative anthology on the ethics and law of war." This might be an overstatement. While the best-edited volumes on just war theory focus on a particular issue (for instance, preventive war, humanitarian intervention, or legitimate authority), this volume does not really form a coherent whole. In fact, Nancy Sherman's "Moral Recovery After War" has very little to do with either the laws or the ethics of war, dealing instead, as she herself acknowledges, with "philosophical moral psychology" (244). Moreover, the contributions by Adil Ahmad Haque on the principle of discrimination, of Kai Draper on the doctrine of double effect, and of Larry May on the rights of soldiers have appeared in very similar if not almost identical versions in other publications by these authors (as chapters of their books in the first two cases, and as a contribution to another edited volume in the latter case.) There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these three chapters (on the contrary, all are intelligent contributions). But in my view, such extensive recycling would only be justified if the three chapters had either established themselves as classics, which is certainly not the case given that these publications are very recent, or would clearly contribute to an "authoritative" or at least representative picture of the ethics of war. In any case, given that these chapters have appeared in similar form elsewhere, I will not discuss them further here.