Ethics of War and Peace / Edition 3

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Overview

This classic introduction to the ethics of war and peace explores the legal and moral issues of when and how to use force to achieve political objectives. The just war tradition, the legal position of war, moral issues in war, and professional and humanitarian obligations. Ethicists, military personnel, and political analysts.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a very good and useful book for both undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with just war and the ethics of war. It is attractive because it is brief ...but contains a high concentration of substance and encourages class discussions and further explorations in the field." — Fariborz L. Mokhtari, Norwich University

"Soldier-scholar Paul Christopher contributes a significant book, applying philosophical insight to military practice, which resonates meaningfully against the din of the usual pabulum on the subject. An ideal textbook, it's important to the citizen but indispensable to the soldier." — LTC (Ret.) Tim Challans, Associate Professor, Combat Studies Institute, USACGSC

"This text is energetically evaluative ...urging students to tackle real and serious war/peace implications of law and morality." — Louis R. Beres, Purdue University

"I especially appreciate Christopher's historical discussion of the origins [of the Just War tradition in the classical era and the linkage he makes between just war and the development of international law." — Wayne S. Osborn, Iowa State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130923837
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The most important decision that nations make is whether to use force for political objectives. In a democracy, all responsible citizens feel the weight of such decisions. The most important decision that military leaders have to make is how to fight the wars that their governments have authorized. I believe both that (1) human beings should not intentionally harm other human beings and (2) human beings may sometimes employ violence to protect themselves or others from harm. I call these two claims moral truths and, if one accepts both of them, it is obvious that they will occasionally conflict with one another. A central theme of this book is how conflicts between these two truths are best resolved. Specifically, I discuss those conditions that justify the use of force, and what the limits should be on the amount and types of force that may be used.

Because reasoning about moral and ethical issues does not lend itself to the same precision as mathematics, we must learn how to make responsible judgments based on relevant principles instead of learning how to plug facts into a formula for decision making. Rather than being a book about right answers, this is a book about right reasoning. My goal is for my readers to know not just what I believe but to understand why I believe as I do. I wish to thank my colleagues and students at the United States Military Academy, who steadfastly refused to accept any of my claims uncritically and whose incessant, detailed, always thoughtful, and sometimes brutal criticisms constantly forced me to reevaluate and refine my thinking on Just War. I especially benefited from discussions with A1 Bishop, Tim Challans, Gary Coleman, Randy Dipert, Merritt Drucker, Peter Fromm, Cathy Haight, Anthony Hartle, Bryan Keifer, Van Martin, Wallace Matson, Mark Mattox, David Newell, John Petrik, Louis Pojman, Rainer Spencer, Steve Tryon, Sandra Visser, Scott Weaver, Ted Westhusing, Robert Williams, and Dan Zupan. Others who read the entire manuscript and made numerous worthwhile suggestions include Lin Bredenfoerder, Gareth Matthews, Fariborz Mokhtari, and Alan Schactman.

The author also thanks the following reviewers for their constructive criticism: Louis R. Beres, Purdue University; Major Kristine V. Nakutis, U.S. Military Academy; Fariborz L. Mokhtari, Norwich University; and Wayne S. Osborn, Iowa State University.

Even as I send this manuscript to press, I am aware that some of my beliefs are probably false. Unfortunately, I don't know which ones they are. I trust that readers of this third edition will continue the tradition of accepting nothing I say uncritically, and that by engaging in a rigorous, open-minded dialectic we can all learn to think more clearly and competently about issues relevant to war and peace.

Paul Christopher
Lunenburg, Massachusetts

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

I. THE JUST WAR TRADITION.

1. The Just War in Antiquity.

2. Christianity and the Just War.

3. Saint Augustine and the Tradition of Just War.

4. Secularization of the Just War Tradition.

II. THE LEGAL POSITION OF WAR.

5. Hugo Grotius: Father of International Law.

6. Hugo Grotius and the Just War.

7. Problems for International Law.

III. MORAL ISSUES IN WAR.

8. The Responsibility for War Crimes.

9. Military Necessity.

10. Reprisals.

11. Terrorism and War.

12. The Just War and Weapons of Mass Destruction.

IV. PROFESSIONAL AND HUMANITARIAN OBLIGATIONS.

13. The Military as a Profession.

14. Unjust Wars and Professional Responsibility.

15. The Role of the United Nations.

Glossary.

Selected Bibliography.

Index.

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Preface

The most important decision that nations make is whether to use force for political objectives. In a democracy, all responsible citizens feel the weight of such decisions. The most important decision that military leaders have to make is how to fight the wars that their governments have authorized. I believe both that (1) human beings should not intentionally harm other human beings and (2) human beings may sometimes employ violence to protect themselves or others from harm. I call these two claims moral truths and, if one accepts both of them, it is obvious that they will occasionally conflict with one another. A central theme of this book is how conflicts between these two truths are best resolved. Specifically, I discuss those conditions that justify the use of force, and what the limits should be on the amount and types of force that may be used.

Because reasoning about moral and ethical issues does not lend itself to the same precision as mathematics, we must learn how to make responsible judgments based on relevant principles instead of learning how to plug facts into a formula for decision making. Rather than being a book about right answers, this is a book about right reasoning. My goal is for my readers to know not just what I believe but to understand why I believe as I do. I wish to thank my colleagues and students at the United States Military Academy, who steadfastly refused to accept any of my claims uncritically and whose incessant, detailed, always thoughtful, and sometimes brutal criticisms constantly forced me to reevaluate and refine my thinking on Just War. I especially benefited from discussions with A1 Bishop, Tim Challans, Gary Coleman, Randy Dipert, Merritt Drucker, Peter Fromm, Cathy Haight, Anthony Hartle, Bryan Keifer, Van Martin, Wallace Matson, Mark Mattox, David Newell, John Petrik, Louis Pojman, Rainer Spencer, Steve Tryon, Sandra Visser, Scott Weaver, Ted Westhusing, Robert Williams, and Dan Zupan. Others who read the entire manuscript and made numerous worthwhile suggestions include Lin Bredenfoerder, Gareth Matthews, Fariborz Mokhtari, and Alan Schactman.

The author also thanks the following reviewers for their constructive criticism: Louis R. Beres, Purdue University; Major Kristine V. Nakutis, U.S. Military Academy; Fariborz L. Mokhtari, Norwich University; and Wayne S. Osborn, Iowa State University.

Even as I send this manuscript to press, I am aware that some of my beliefs are probably false. Unfortunately, I don't know which ones they are. I trust that readers of this third edition will continue the tradition of accepting nothing I say uncritically, and that by engaging in a rigorous, open-minded dialectic we can all learn to think more clearly and competently about issues relevant to war and peace.

Paul Christopher
Lunenburg, Massachusetts

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2004

    Hard work, but worth it.

    I especially like the way the author uses historical examples to explain the evolution of international law. Additionally there is much grist for the mill in the discussion questions at the end of each chapter--enough to last one a lifetime. This book is a tour de force on the topic of when to use force to achieve political ends, and how.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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