This book examines the moral choices faced by U.S. political and military leaders in deciding when and how to employ force, from the American Revolution to the present day.
Specifically, the book looks at discrete ethical dilemmas in various American conflicts from a just war perspective. For example, was the casus belli of the American Revolution just, and more specifically, was the Continental Congress a "legitimate" political authority? Was it just for Truman to drop the atomic bomb on Japan? How much of a role did the egos of Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon play in prolonging the Vietnam War? Often there are trade-offs that civilian and military leaders must take into account, such as General Scott’s 1847 decision to bombard the city of Veracruz in order to quickly move his troops off the malarial Mexican coast. The book also considers the moral significance and policy practicalities of different motives and courses of action. The case studies provided highlight the nuances and even limits of just war principles, such as just cause, right intention, legitimate authority, last resort, likelihood of success, discrimination, and proportionality, and principles for ending war such as order, justice, and conciliation.
This book will be of interest for students of just war theory, ethics, philosophy, American history and military history more generally.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
part I|2 pages
The ethics of going to war
part II|2 pages
The ethics of how war is fought
part III|3 pages
Bringing war to a morally and politically satisfying end