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CONCLUSION Toward a Twenty-First Century Jus Post Bellum eric patterson 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, terrorism haunting major cities, and introducing black widows (female suicide bombers) to the global lexicon. However, the end was decisive: The Tamil Tigers were bested on the battlefield and their senior leaders were killed, and at the time of this writing—two years later—there is no question that the government won and the LTTE has essentially ceased to exist. Unlike many other contemporary conflicts, this one ended definitively with a horizon open to peace, security, economic development, and political representation, although it is unclear whether the national government is committed to working through the dilemmas of justice and conciliation. These principles—order, justice, and conciliation—were broached in the introduction of this book as a threefold framework for conceptualizing the overlapping issues inherent in any discussion of the ethics of postconflict. Order is the environment of security and rule of law necessary for a society to get back on its feet: domestic security (stopping the bullets), governance (basic institutions for law and order), and international security (freedom from direct external threat). The second and third elements of the framework, justice and conciliation (or reconciliation ), spark considerable debate about their conception and implementation when applied to real-world cases. In order to get at some of the issues 221 222 eric patterson raised as well as the points of controversy that need further research, this chapter compares key themes from the volume’s contributors along the three dimensions of order, justice, and conciliation. Order When it comes to the need for some form of postconflict order and security , there is no disagreement between the contributors to this book: order is necessary. Michael Walzer, for instance, argues that the immediate postconflict environment will require provision (meeting the survival needs of human beings) and reconstruction (infrastructure, homes, livelihoods ). Certainly provision and reconstruction are critical dimensions of the postconflict order; otherwise, the populace will starve and the region will be prey to internal and external security challenges. Nonetheless, from the perspectives of policy and ethics, a number of issues immediately come to the fore. First, who has an obligation to do what? Some form of political authority assumes an obligation to provide for the postconflict order, from law enforcement to provision for the survival needs of the populace to protecting the borders. But how far does that obligation extend in practice? Providing potable water? Combating disease? Pensions for military veterans? Pensions for senior citizens? University education? The what is challenging to define without getting at the who. Obligation implies relationship—there is a benefactor and a beneficiary. How do these relationships form in contemporary postconflict? The issue is further problematized, as Walzer suggests, because many of the contemporary wars that the West has engaged in are armed humanitarian interventions rather than classic conflicts between state governments. In classic warfare, the roles of the protagonists were clear and there was little sense of moral obligation at war’s end. In contrast, for much of the past quarter century the West has chosen a different postconflict approach, one where there is not a winner and a loser, victor and vanquished but rather aggressors, victims, and the international community. The Balkan wars of the 1990s are cases in point: aggressor Serbs, victimized Bosnian Muslims, and the international community to the rescue. The international community (i.e., NATO) did not claim the mantle of victor in Bosnia or Kosovo, but neither did it absorb conclusion 223 the loser or simply go home. Instead, following a precedent set after World War II but neglected for much of the Cold War, the intervening powers—at great expense to themselves and with little sense of vital interests —chose to not only provide provision and reconstruction, but provided billions in an attempt to transform Bosnia and Kosovo into capitalist democracies, as well as East Timor, Afghanistan, and a half dozen other cases. James Turner Johnson argues that all of this discussion occurs, in part, because of what has been lost by the wider just war tradition. Historic just war theory was rooted in much wider moral structures that we today call political philosophy, questions and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781589018976
Related ISBN
9781589018884
MARC Record
OCLC
782879893
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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