Friday, 15 March 2013

Just and Unjust Wars - Michael Walzer

Title: Just and Unjust Wars
Author: Michael Walzer
Publisher: Basic Books
Pages: 361

Content: What constitutes a just war? What are the moral imperatives that define a soldiers actions when faced with situations far outside of those experienced by society at large? Has the nature of war changed such that it no longer holds boundaries within which combatants engage? What war does may be defined very simply: it kills. The rules surrounding how and when have become almost the exclusive realm of the international lawyer. Walzers book takes a step back from the legalistic and looks at war from the perspective  of moral dilemmas that fallible soldiers have actually faced. Utilizing historical illustrations running from warfare in Athens to the My Lai Massacre, he analyses the questions of end versus means in the decisions that people have made in time of battle and war.  An uncomfortable subject but one that speaks to the heart of the challenge faced by the soldier in times of conflict: is justice or winning the end goal.

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