Long before the "shock and awe" campaign against Iraq in March 2003, debates swarmed around the justifications of the U.S.-led war to depose Saddam Hussein. While George W. Bush's administration declared a just war of necessity, opponents charged that it was a war of choice, and even opportunism. Behind the rhetoric lie vital questions: when is war just, and what means are acceptable even in the course of a just war?
Originally published in 1991, in the wake of the first war against Iraq, Just War Theory explores this essential dilemma. With a new preface by the editor, the essays in this indispensable collection move beyond the theoretical origins of just war theory to examine issues faced by military strategists, politicians, social theorists, and anyone concerned with the provocations and costs of military action.
Popular wisdom once claimed that notions of just war would become obsolete with the onset of "total warfare," characterized by attacks on civilians and undiscriminating weapons of mass destruction. While the last decade has been ripe with brutality, just war theory is more critical than ever to the future of international relations and public discourse. This readable collection is an invaluable introduction to the debate.