Rethinking the Just War Tradition

Edited by Michael W. Brough, John W. Lango, and Harry van der Linden

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series, Ethics and the Military Profession
Paperback : 9780791471562, 278 pages, March 2007
Hardcover : 9780791471555, 278 pages, March 2007

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Table of contents

Michael W. Brough, John W. Lango, and Harry van der Linden
1. The Nature of War and Peace: Just War Thinking, Environmental Ethics, and Environmental Justice
Mark Woods

 2. Jus Post Bellum and International Conflict: Order, Justice, and Reconciliation
Eric Patterson

3. Just War Theory and U.S. Military Hegemony
Harry van der Linden

4. Generalizing and Temporalizing Just War Principles: Illustrated by the Principle of Just Cause
John W. Lango
5. Just War Theory and Killing the Innocent
Frederik Kaufman

6. When Less Is Not More: Expanding the Combatant/Noncombatant Distinction
Pauline Kaurin

7. Just War Theory and Child Soldiers
Reuben Brigety II and Rachel Stohl
8. Dehumanization of the Enemy and the Moral Equality of Soldiers
Michael W. Brough
9. Rethinking the Ban on Assassination: Just War Principles in the Age of Terror
Whitley R. P. Kaufman
10. Preventive War and Lawful Constraints on the Use of Force: An Argument against International Vigilantism
Jordy Rocheleau

11. Faith, Force, or Fellowship: The Future of Right Authority
Hartley S. Spatt
12. Violent Civil Disobedience: Defending Human Rights, Rethinking Just War
Robert W. Hoag
Just War Principles: An Introduction with Further Reading

Contributors seek to promote reasoned debate about emerging security threats and potential military responses.


The just war tradition is an evolving body of tenets for determining when resorting to war is just and how war may be justly executed. Rethinking the Just War Tradition provides a timely exploration in light of new security threats that have emerged since the end of the Cold War, including ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, threats of terror attacks, and genocidal conflicts within states. The contributors are philosophers, political scientists, a U.S. Army officer, and a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information. They scrutinize some familiar themes in just war theory from fresh and original angles, and also explore altogether new territory. The diverse topics considered include war and the environment, justice in the ending of war, U.S. military hegemony, a general theory of just armed-conflict principles, supreme emergencies, the distinction between combatants and noncombatants, child soldiers, the moral equality of all soldiers, targeted assassination, preventive war, right authority, and armed humanitarian intervention. Clearly written and free of jargon, this book illustrates how the just war tradition can be rethought and applied today.

Michael W. Brough is a major in the United States Army. John W. Lango is Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College, the City University of New York and the author of Whitehead's Ontology, also published by SUNY Press. Harry van der Linden is Professor of Philosophy at Butler University and the author of Kantian Ethics and Socialism.


"Readers seeking the correlation between military ethics and their professional lives will find this new addition to the State University of New York series on 'Ethics and the Military Profession' most enlightening and instructive." — Parameters

"This book challenges the existing just war framework and offers some very interesting alternative ways of framing issues." — Martin L. Cook, author of The Moral Warrior: Ethics and Service in the U.S. Military

"The contributors provide a broad overview of the issues confronting soldiers and policymakers in the twenty-first century and the difficulties presented by war and terrorism." — Jeffrey D. McCausland, author of "Squaring the Circle": Cooperative Security and Military Operations