An Introduction to Military Ethics: A Reference Handbook

Overview

An Introduction to Military Ethics: A Reference Handbook presents the philosophical and conceptual foundations of military ethics, offering an excellent foundation for exploration and discussion of these issues. It focuses first on the 2,500-year legacy of the "just war theory" and its application through history. It then moves to the application of that tradition in the modern era, showing how acts of terrorism by nonstate participants require a new theory and way of thinking about when and how armed force can ...

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Overview

An Introduction to Military Ethics: A Reference Handbook presents the philosophical and conceptual foundations of military ethics, offering an excellent foundation for exploration and discussion of these issues. It focuses first on the 2,500-year legacy of the "just war theory" and its application through history. It then moves to the application of that tradition in the modern era, showing how acts of terrorism by nonstate participants require a new theory and way of thinking about when and how armed force can be justifiably employed. Further, the author analyzes how new theories might alter the fundamental identity of traditional defensive military forces.

The book also addresses peacetime ethical issues, such as gender integration and the role of religion in the military. The book is essential reading for military officers and students, as well as those policymakers who confront decisions about how to deploy military force during the War on Terror.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Rhodes has taught philosophy and professional ethics for over 16 years to military service members. Here, he offers an introduction to the study of military ethics, written for military officers, policymakers, and students. After a review of fundamental concepts, he focuses on the legacy of the "just war theory" and its application through history, then examines the application of that tradition in the modern era, with discussion of the use of military force in the name of a political community, and the ethical underpinnings of the rules of warfare. He also looks at emerging controversies faced by modern militaries, such as humanitarian intervention and dealing with nonstate actors, such as terrorists. Final chapters look at cultural issues in the modern military, including integration of women into the services, and address issues of professional identity. A glossary and a chronology are provided."

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Reference & Research Book News

"…a thoughtful introductory survey for nonspecialists. Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates, general readers, and professionals."

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Choice

"With the Army refocusing on its ethic, Bill Rhodes' handbook comes at a good time. The book is an excellent introduction to professional military ethics and a valuable resource to military professionals as we begin to seriously reexamine a critical component of the Army's foundation. … Because of its focus, the book is a good choice for those interested in exploring the topic of professional military ethics for the first time and those who want to reflect on their current views. The various topics and issues are laid out clearly and concisely and numerous examples illustrate and clarify the points being made. … Rhodes provides an excellent introduction to military ethics and he stimulates further reflection and research by the reader."

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Military Review

"Rhodes's ability to translate often intricate and jargon-laden concepts into language that a midshipman or cadet could read and understand (or that faculty could walk into a classroom and teach) is one of this book's greatest strengths. One does not need to read far before being struck by how clearly and economically the author is able to communicate important issues of military ethics. With so much of the ethics literature hampered by overly academic language, this contribution alone is enough to commend the book. … Without question, An Introduction to Military Ethics should be required reading at the nation's service academies and ROTC programs. Discussing these issues as Rhodes presents them will not guarantee the proper moral formation of America's next generation of military leaders, but it will certainly prepare them to understand what is required of them morally as they enter and mature in their profession."

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction Ethics in the real world 1

Ch. 1 An overview of applied ethics for the military 2

Ch. 2 Just war thinking (JWT) in historical perspective 23

Ch. 3 Philosophical foundations of military ethics 49

Ch. 4 Jus ad bellum today 77

Ch. 5 Jus in bello today 102

Ch. 6 Adapting to contemporary challenges 119

Ch. 7 Cultural ethical issues 130

Ch. 8 Modern military identity 147

Selected bibliography 157

Index 163

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