Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations / Edition 4

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From the Athenian attack on Melos to the My Lai Massacre, from the wars in the Balkans through the first war in Iraq, Michael Walzer examines the moral issues surrounding military theory, war crimes, and the spoils of war. He studies a variety of conflicts over the course of history, as well as the testimony of those who have been most directly involved--participants, decision makers, and victims. In his introduction to this new edition, Walzer specifically addresses the moral issues surrounding the war in and occupation of Iraq, reminding us once again that "the argument about war and justice is still a political and moral necessity."

Updated in light of recent events, this classic work--with more than 60,000 copies sold in previous editions--presents "a clear, humane, and startlingly original survey of the moral issues that complicate modern warmaking."--The Atlantic.New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Review of Books
A magnificent book, an honor to its writer.
A reprint with a new preface of Walzer's respected treatment of the morality of war. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465037070
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 134,243
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Walzer is Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, and the author of many widely heralded books, including Spheres of Justice, Exodus and Revolution, and The Company of Critics, all available from Basic Books. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fourth Edition
Part 1 The Moral Reality of War
1 Against "Realism" 3
The Realist Argument 4
The Melian Dialogue
Strategy and Morality 13
Historical Relativism 16
Three Accounts of Agincourt
2 The Crime of War 21
The Logic of War 22
The Argument of Karl von Clausewitz
The Limit of Consent 25
The Tyranny of War 29
General Sherman and the Burning of Atlanta
3 The Rules of War 34
The Moral Equality of Soldiers 34
The Case of Hitler's Generals
Two Sorts of Rules 41
The War Convention 44
The Example of Surrender
Part 2 The Theory of Aggression
4 Law and Order in International Society 51
Aggression 51
The Rights of Political Communities 53
The Case of Alsace-Lorraine
The Legalist Paradigm 58
Unavoidable Categories 63
Karl Marx and the Franco-Prussian War
The Argument for Appeasement 67
Czechoslovakia and the Munich Principle
5 Anticipations 74
Preventive War and the Balance of Power 76
The War of the Spanish Succession
Pre-emptive Strikes 80
The Six Day War
6 Interventions 86
Self-Determination and Self-Help 87
The Argument of John Stuart Mill
Secession 91
The Hungarian Revolution
Civil War 96
The American War in Vietnam
Humanitarian Intervention 101
Cuba, 1898, and Bangladesh, 1971
7 War's Ends, and the Importance of Winning 109
Unconditional Surrender 111
Allied Policy in World War II
Justice in Settlements 117
The Korean War
Part 3 The War Convention
8 War's Means, and the Importance of Fighting Well 127
Utility and Proportionality 129
The Argument of Henry Sidgwick
Human Rights 133
The Rape of the Italian Women
9 Noncombatant Immunity and Military Necessity 138
The Status of Individuals 138
Naked Soldiers
The Nature of Necessity (1) 144
Submarine Warfare: The Laconia Affair
Double Effect 151
Bombardment in Korea
The Bombing of Occupied France and the Vemork Raid
10 War Against Civilians: Sieges and Blockades 160
Coercion and Responsibility 161
The Siege of Jerusalem, 72 A.D.
The Right to Leave 165
The Siege of Leningrad
Taking Aim and the Doctrine of Double Effect 170
The British Blockade of Germany
11 Guerrilla War 176
Resistance to Military Occupation 176
A Partisan Attack
The Rights of Guerrilla Fighters 179
The Rights of Civilian Supporters 186
The American "Rules of Engagement" in Vietnam
12 Terrorism 197
The Political Code 197
The Russian Populists, the IRA, and the Stern Gang
The Vietcong Assassination Campaign
Violence and Liberation 204
Jean-Paul Sartre and the Battle of Algiers
13 Reprisals 207
Deterrence Without Retribution 207
The FFI Prisoners at Annecy
The Problem of Peacetime Reprisals 216
The Attack on Khibye and the Beirut Raid
Part 4 Dilemmas of War
14 Winning and Fighting Well 225
"Asinine Ethics" 225
Chairman Mao and the Battle of the River Hung
The Sliding Scale and the Argument from Extremity 228
15 Aggression and Neutrality 233
The Right to Be Neutral 234
The Nature of Necessity (2) 239
The Rape of Belgium
The Sliding Scale 242
Winston Churchill and Norwegian Neutrality
16 Supreme Emergency 251
The Nature of Necessity (3) 251
Overriding the Rules of War 255
The Decision to Bomb German Cities
The Limits of Calculation 263
17 Nuclear Deterrence 269
The Problem of Immoral Threats 269
Limited Nuclear War 274
The Argument of Paul Ramsey
Part 5 The Question of Responsibility
18 The Crime of Aggression: Political Leaders and Citizens 287
The World of Officials 289
Nuremberg: "The Ministries Case"
Democratic Responsibilities 296
The American People and the Vietnam War
19 War Crimes: Soldiers and Their Officers 304
In the Heat of Battle 306
Two Accounts of Killing Prisoners
Superior Orders 309
The My Lai Massacre
Command Responsibility 316
General Bradley and the Bombing of St. Lo
The Case of General Yamashita
The Nature of Necessity (4) 323
The Dishonoring of Arthur Harris
Conclusion 325
Afterword: Nonviolence and the Theory of War 329
Notes 337
Index 355
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