Proportionality and the conduct of war
in The ethics of war
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In the just war tradition the specific requirements of just conduct are those of proportionality and noncombatant immunity. The just war tradition expects moral analysis to be informed by an empathic awareness of military and political realities. Economy or restraint is the basic imperative, and combatants are required to employ only as much force as is necessary to achieve legitimate military objectives and as is proportionate to the importance of those targets. Readily and understandably, the destruction of the General Belgrano came to be regarded as a military necessity, and its preservation as a dereliction of duty. It was not just the specific threat posed by the General Belgrano that gave cause for concern, but the overall threat posed to the task force by the deployment of Argentine warships and their aircraft around the Falklands.

The ethics of war

Second edition

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