Though the just war tradition has an ancient pedigree, like any tradition of thought, it is subject to historical highs and lows. Drawing on examples from the history of warfare from the Crusades to the present day, this book explores the limits and possibilities of the moral regulation of war. It focuses on the tensions which exist between war and morality. The moral ambiguity and mixed record of that tradition is acknowledged and the dangers which an exaggerated view of the justice or moral worth of war poses are underlined. The adoption of a 'dispositional' view of ethical life, in which moral character and moral culture play a decisive part, widens and transforms the ethics of war. Realism resists the application of morality to war. Pacifism harms and benefits the just war tradition in about equal measure. In opposition to the amoral and wholly pragmatic approach of the 'pure' realist, the just war theorist insists on the moral determination of war where that is possible, and on the moral renunciation of war where it is not. Moral realism is what the just war tradition purports to be about. Legitimate authority has become entirely subordinated to the concept of state sovereignty. If moderate forms of consequentialism threaten the principle of noncombatant immunity, more extreme or purer forms clearly undermine it. The strategic and the ethical problems of counterterrorism are compounded by the emergence of a new and more extreme form of terrorism.
Introduction to the first edition
Introduction to the first edition
This is a book about the ethicsofwar, about war in its moral or
normative aspect.1 The central question that it addresses is how
(if at all) moral reasoning might be brought to bear upon the
activity of war. The very notion that morality may be applicable
to such a destructive enterprise as war will strike some as bizarre,
even perhaps as scandalous. The contrary assumption that war
lies beyond any moral pale is not only a common one, but one that,
particularly in the light of twentieth
war (the first broad area of concern
so far as any ethicsofwar is concerned, and the one to which the
just war category of ius ad bellum corresponds) realism argues
that morality is a poor guide. The moralist is a man of extremes.
Resisting war when he should embrace it and embracing it when he
should resist it, his tendency is either to abhor war or to turn it into
a moral crusade. The decision to go to war should be dictated not by
the vagaries of moral sentiment but by pragmatic considerations of
power and interest. Unfortunately, realists argue, the reverse
interest to revisionist critics. The
reason for this neglect seems clear. Most critics belong to the school
of analytic philosophy which has dominated contemporary ethics,
including the ethicsofwar and just war theory. This is a form of
philosophy that, like science (which in some respects it may seek
to emulate), appears largely indifferent to its history. The past is a
matter for the historian not the philosopher. ‘The standard assumption’, writes Bernard Williams, ‘is that philosophical enquiry does
not need to bother much with that history: the distinctive business
This book challenges the assumptions that reporters and their audiences alike have about the way the trade operates and how it sees the world. It unpacks the taken-for-granted aspects of the lives of war correspondents, exposing the principles of interaction and valorisation that usually go unacknowledged. Is journalistic authority really only about doing the job well? Do the ethics of war reporting derive simply from the ‘stuff’ of journalism? The book asks why it is that the authoritative reporter increasingly needs to appear authentic, and that success depends not only on getting things right but being the right sort of journalist. It combines the critical sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and interviews with war correspondents and others with an active stake in the field to construct a political phenomenology of war reporting—the power relations and unspoken ‘rules of the game’ underpinning the representation of conflict and suffering by the media.
bellum (when resorting to war is justified and just)
but later included jus in bello (appropriate conduct in the use of
force). The idea of a just war can be seen as a middle road between the
tradition of Realpolitik , which regards moral dilemmas and the ethicsofwar
as irrelevant in international politics, and the alternative world view of pacifism.
According to this middle road, war is deplorable but under certain circumstances
justified and necessary as a last
Relations and International Political Theory. Current frameworks
of just war traditions, ethicsofwar or international law, for example, all
struggle to grasp, let alone challenge, the ethical implications of lethal drone
strikes and the drive to establish killer robot armies. And where scholarly
debates over the ethics of such weapons do take place, they are often confined to
discussions of legality and effectiveness, ending up mired in problematic
hypermoralism,’ wrote Maritain, ‘is
not better than political amoralism and . . . in the last analysis it
answers the very purpose of political cynicism’ (Maritain 1954,
p. 56). Like realism, just war theory acknowledges the dangers
attendant upon the attempt to subject war to morality. To keep
war within moral bounds the moral impulse itself needs to be kept
in check. Where realism is seen to err, however, is in regarding all
moral analysis of war as moralistic. While resisting the moral scepticism of the realist, the just war theorist accepts that the ethicsofwar must be
Eighth International Kant
Congress, Memphis 1995 (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1995), vol.
II, 73; Franceschet, ‘Kant, International Law, and the Problem of
Humanitarian Intervention’, 8; Williams, ‘Back from the
USSR’, 31, 37–8.
Laberge, ‘Humanitarian Intervention’,
All quoted in B. Orend, ‘Kant’s EthicsofWar
This work demonstrates that resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during the Second World War has to be seen through a transnational, not a national, lens. It explores how people often resisted outside their country of origin because they were migrants, refugees or exiles who were already on the move. It traces their trajectories and encounters with other resisters and explores their experiences, including changes of beliefs, practices and identities. The book is a powerful, subtle and thought-provoking alternative to works on the Second World War that focus on single countries or on grand strategy. It is a ‘bottom up’ story of extraordinary individuals and groups who resisted oppression from Spain to the Soviet Union and the Balkans. It challenges the standard chronology of the war, beginning with the formation of the International Brigades in Spain and following through to the onset of the Cold War and the foundation of the state of Israel. This is a collective project by a team of international historians led by Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance (Faber & Faber, 2015). These have explored archives across Europe, the USA, Russia and Israel in order to unearth scores of fascinating individual stories which are woven together into themed chapters and a powerful new interpretation. The book is aimed at undergraduates and graduates working on twentieth-century Europe and the Second World War or interested in the possibilities of transnational history.