The Future of Just War

The Future of Just War: New Critical Essays

Caron E. Gentry
Amy E. Eckert
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    The Future of Just War
    Book Description:

    Just War scholarship has adapted to contemporary crises and situations. But its adaptation has spurned debate and conversation-a method and means of pushing its thinking forward. Now the Just War tradition risks becoming marginalized. This concern may seem out of place as Just War literature is proliferating, yet this literature remains welded to traditional conceptualizations of Just War. Caron E. Gentry and Amy E. Eckert argue that the tradition needs to be updated to deal with substate actors within the realm of legitimate authority, private military companies, and the questionable moral difference between the use of conventional and nuclear weapons. Additionally, as recent policy makers and scholars have tried to make the Just War criteria legalistic, they have weakened the tradition's ability to draw from and adjust to its contemporaneous setting.The essays inThe Future of Just Warseek to reorient the tradition around its core concerns of preventing the unjust use of force by states and limiting the harm inflicted on vulnerable populations such as civilian noncombatants. The pursuit of these challenges involves both a reclaiming of traditional Just War principles from those who would push it toward greater permissiveness with respect to war, as well as the application of Just War principles to emerging issues, such as the growing use of robotics in war or the privatization of force. These essays share a commitment to the idea that the tradition is more about a rigorous application of Just War principles than the satisfaction of a checklist of criteria to be met before waging "just" war in the service of national interest.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4653-3
    Subjects: Political Science, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
    (pp. 1-14)
    Caron E. Gentry and Amy E. Eckert

    Critical scholarship questions the ontological and epistemological constructions that are taken to be “natural,” a “given,” or too long-standing to question.¹ Like security studies, terrorism studies, or international relations, the Just War tradition also contains such assumptions.² The Just War tradition assumes a particular epistemic perspective: in this current global system, the state isthelegitimate authority able to possess right intention, justify cause, and maneuver last resort and is the sole entity in possession of the ability to direct proportionate and discriminate violence. The presumptions in favor of the state can quickly lead to further presumptions that the state...

  4. SECTION ONE. Jus ad Bellum
    • CHAPTER ONE Epistemic Bias: Legitimate Authority and Politically Violent Nonstate Actors
      (pp. 17-29)
      Caron E. Gentry

      FROM THE EARLIEST Western articulations to current understandings of legitimate authority,jus ad bellumcriterion has been granted to a political entity with the most sovereign power, while said entity has also been imbued with a perceived moral competency. Within both the classical and contemporary writings on the Just War tradition, legitimate authority is often presented as having dual elements: the first element reflects a political or procedural “authority” to declare war; the second is a moral investiture of what it means to be “legitimate,” “right,” or “competent.” Thus, this chapter traces the historical development of political authority and then...

    • CHAPTER TWO Strategizing in an Era of Conceptual Change: Security, Sanctioned Violence, and New Military Roles
      (pp. 30-47)
      Kimberly A. Hudson and Dan Henk

      MILITARY PROFESSIONALS EXERCISE the state’s monopoly on the “management of violence,”¹ a role that remains important in the early twenty-first century. Yet violence is manifestly not the only expectation of contemporary military establishments and, in light of significant expansions in thinking about security and sovereignty violence, may no longer be the military’s primary role. There is a striking modern irony in the escalating transformation of institutions created to win armed conflict into those now equally responsible for attenuating, intervening in, or preventing it.

      This chapter explores some of the conceptual shifts behind the changes in roles and missions of security...

    • CHAPTER THREE Is Just Intervention Morally Obligatory?
      (pp. 48-61)
      Luke Glanville

      THE IDEA THAT HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION is not only permissible but obligatory is a central tenet of the “responsibility to protect” that has rapidly emerged in international discourse over the last decade. This concept was first developed by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2001.¹ As numerous scholars had done in the 1990s,² the ICISS laid out principles for humanitarian intervention according to widely accepted Just War criteria. These included just cause, right intention, last resort, proportionality, reasonable prospects for success, and right authority.³ However, whereas earlier scholars had suggested that the satisfaction of Just War criteria...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Private Military Companies and the Reasonable Chance of Success
      (pp. 62-76)
      Amy E. Eckert

      ASSESSING THE REASONABLE CHANCE of success, one of the ancillary criteria ofjus ad bellum, has become more complicated with the increasing reliance of states on private force. With the emergence of the private military industry, states and other actors can now hire additional capabilities to augment their own forces. Private military companies (PMCS) provide a range of services from logistical support to combat, all of which enhance their clients’ ability to wage war. The capabilities that actors can secure on the open market can transform their ability to wage war, and these potentially transformative services are available to both...

  5. SECTION TWO. Jus in Bello
    • CHAPTER FIVE Postheroic U.S. Warfare and the Moral Justification for Killing in War
      (pp. 79-97)
      Sebastian Kaempf

      THIS CHAPTER INVESTIGATES the theoretical challenges that the advent of “risk-free” (casualty-averse and posthuman) American warfare poses to both the laws of war and the ethics of the use of force. It thereby focuses on thejus in belloquestion of when it is permissible for a soldier to kill another combatant in war rather than the more specific question of when it is permissible for the same soldier to kill a civilian. If the fundamental principle of the morality of warfare that legitimizes the killing of another soldier arises exclusively on the basis that such killing constitutes the right...

    • CHAPTER SIX From Smart to Autonomous Weapons: Confounding Territoriality and Moral Agency
      (pp. 98-114)
      Brent J. Steele and Eric A. Heinze

      ADVANCES IN MILITARY TECHNOLOGY today are frequently described in terms of the extent to which they remove the soldier from the battlefield and increase the precision of the application of force, therefore reducing the costs and suffering associated with waging war. This capability has been further enhanced by the well-documented use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) by the United States in the “global war on terror.”¹ The use of unmanned and increasingly autonomous weapons systems, according to some observers, will inevitably lead to autonomous robots being deployed in the battlefield and entrusted with decisions about target identificationanddestruction.²...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN An Alternative to Nuclear Weapons? Proportionality, Discrimination, and the Conventional Global Strike Program
      (pp. 115-129)
      Alexa Royden

      IN THE SPRING OF 2010, the White House confirmed that President Obama supports the development of Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS), a “super” conventional ballistic missile program that would serve as an alternative to, and possible long-term replacement for, U.S. nuclear weapons. Ostensibly, a conventional ballistic missile system would be free of the disadvantages that make nuclear weapons so problematic: indiscriminate destructive power and radiation. And yet, on closer examination, CPGS poses serious problems of its own. These problems stem largely from the fact that CPGS is designed to be used—and used under conditions in which it may be...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Rethinking Intention and Double Effect
      (pp. 130-147)
      Harry D. Gould

      CONSIDER A SCENARIO almost too commonplace to think of as hypothetical: military planners must decide whether to attack a site that contributes significantly to their enemy’s war efforts—a site located amid noncombatants. The planners must decide whether to attack the site despite foreseeing that noncombatants will unavoidably be killed as a direct result of that attack. Destroying the enemy facility will contribute significantly to ending the war, but it will do so only at the cost of these noncombatants’ lives.

      Perhaps the oldest line of reasoning when confronting such situations relies simply on military-instrumental calculation: if the destruction of...

    • CHAPTER NINE Just War without Civilians
      (pp. 148-164)
      Laura Sjoberg

      WHEN CRITICS OF U.S. PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s inaction in Syria suggest that failing to intervene results in the tragedy that “innocent women and children end up in pools of their own blood” and mix a call to arms, based on the issue of women’s rights, against the Syrian government with the language of just cause in the Just War tradition, the gendered nature of such justifications is not unique, coincidental, or aberrant to the tradition itself.¹ Quite the contrary, they echo recent declarations of President Bill Clinton on Kosovo and President George W. Bush on Afghanistan, advocating interventionist policy.²


  6. SECTION THREE. Jus post Bellum
    • CHAPTER TEN Jus post Bellum: Justice in the Aftermath of War
      (pp. 167-180)
      Robert E. Williams Jr.

      “FOR AS LONG AS MEN AND WOMEN have talked about war, they have talked about it in terms of right and wrong.”¹ With this simple but important observation Michael Walzer begins his modern classic on Just War theory,Just and Unjust Wars. There is, as he reminds us, a language of justification associated with war that has been as persistent and as important as the language of strategy. And out of the many efforts to justify war and the way it is fought have come the principles of the Just War tradition.

      However irrational war may seem, particular wars always...

    (pp. 181-184)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 185-192)