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Ethics Beyond War's End

Eric Patterson

Publication Year: 2012

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have focused new attention on a perennial problem: how to end wars well. What ethical considerations should guide war's settlement and its aftermath? In cases of protracted conflicts, recurring war, failed or failing states, or genocide and war crimes, is there a framework for establishing an enduring peace that is pragmatic and moral?

Ethics Beyond War's End provides answers to these questions from the just war tradition. Just war thinking engages the difficult decisions of going to war and how war is fought. But from this point forward just war theory must also take into account what happens after war ends, and the critical issues that follow: establishing an enduring order, employing political forms of justice, and cultivating collective forms of conciliation. Top thinkers in the field -- including Michael Walzer, Jean Bethke Elshtain, James Turner Johnson, and Brian Orend -- offer powerful contributions to our understanding of the vital issues associated with late- and post conflict in tough, real-world scenarios that range from the US Civil War to contemporary quagmires in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the Congo.

Published by: Georgetown University Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book begins with a question, ‘‘Where is the jus post bellum?’’ It was 2004 and the setting was a month-long seminar for scholars on ‘‘War and Morality: Rethinking the Just War Tradition’’ on the campus of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. My doctorate was less than two...

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pp. 1-16

In October 1944 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill flew to Moscow to meet with Soviet leader Josef Stalin. Part of their discussion centered on British and Soviet spheres of influence following an Allied victory over the Axis powers...

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1. Moral Responsibility After Conflict: The Idea of Jus Post Bellum for the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 17-33

Just war thinking is commonly described today as having two main elements: the jus ad bellum, which deals with the question of moral responsibility in the resort to the use of force, and the jus in bello, which deals with moral responsibility in how such force is actually used during...

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2. The Aftermath of War: Reflections on Jus Post Bellum

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pp. 35-46

As a distinct category, jus post bellum is not part of classic just war theory. But it isn’t entirely missing from the theory either. The original idea was probably that post bellum justice was included in the criteria for ad bellum justice. The inclusion would have been twofold: first, a war can...

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3. Jus Ante and Post Bellum: Completing the Circle, Breaking the Cycle

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pp. 47-64

Nature offers two versions of what the noted astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington called the ‘‘arrow of time’’—namely, physical processes that are either irreversible or reversible. Irreversible processes embody the linear vector that Eddington himself had in mind with this phrase...

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4. In My Beginning is my End

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pp. 65-76

Near Bayeux, France, the site of the massive D-Day invasion of World War II, there is a small British cemetery. It holds the remains of British soldiers who fell a generation earlier, liberating France during the First World War. A Latin inscription on the monument translates...

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5. A More Perfect Peace: Jus Post Bellum and the Quest for Stable Peace

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pp. 77-96

Just south of the Department of the Treasury near the Ellipse in Washington, DC, stands a monument to General William Tecumseh Sherman. Although Sherman is best known for his statement that ‘‘war is hell,’’ a claim used to justify the scorched-earth policies he adopted on the...

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6. Ethics in the Times of War

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pp. 97-121

This chapter focuses on ethical principles found in just war theory as they are practiced and applied during the different phases of war. The underlying assumption is that understanding the role ethics plays throughout a conflict will contribute to a more durable just peace...

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7. Just War and an Ethics of Responsibility

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pp. 123-144

Just war is not just about war. It is about a way of thinking about political life more generally, especially where the use of coercive force is contemplated and, sometimes, activated. The political vision or framework that just war is nestled within and helps to constitute is best called...

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8. Ending the US Civil War: Reconciliation and Transitional Justice

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pp. 145-174

In his widely acclaimed study of the ending of the US CivilWar, historian Jay Winik dramatically narrates the war’s last month and argues that Northern and Southern leaders ended this deadly conflict well.1 During a mere but momentous thirty days, these political and military...

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9. Justice After War: Toward a New Geneva Convention

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pp. 175-195

The topic of the aftermath of war has only recently been getting the attention it deserves. Historically, it was assumed that, as the old saying goes, to the victor go the spoils of war. As a result of this widespread belief, there is actually next to no clear international law regulating...

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10. ‘‘Just Peace’’: An Elusive Ideal

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pp. 197-219

Absolutely central to the case for a theory of jus post bellum that has garnered support only relatively recently is the ideal of a just peace. This centrality is evident in both types of context in which we may invoke the tenets of such a theory. The first is where...

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Conclusion: Toward a Twenty-First Century Jus Post Bellum

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pp. 221-229

In May 2009 the national military of Sri Lanka convincingly smashed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after nearly three decades of war. The conflict was particularly bloody, killing many thousands of civilians, landmines contaminating vast swathes of agricultural regions...


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pp. 231-235


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pp. 237-246

E-ISBN-13: 9781589018976
E-ISBN-10: 1589018974
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589018884
Print-ISBN-10: 1589018885

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012