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The Morality of War: A Reader

David Kinsella and Craig L. Carr, editors
The Morality of War: A Reader
ISBN: 978-1-58826-377-3
ISBN: 978-1-58826-353-7
2007/415 pages/LC: 2006024725
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"Useful reading for courses in the field, as well as a handy overview for those seeking to understand the most burning current issues associated with the ethics of armed conflict."—Henrik Syse, Journal of Peace Research

"A highly useful core text for courses in the field—as well as an invaluable reference for any serious student of the ethics of war."—Albert Pierce, US Naval Academy

"Ideally suited to serve as a core text for any survey course examining morality in warfare."—Eric Wester, Parameters


When and why is war justified? How, morally speaking, should wars be fought? The Morality of War confronts these challenging questions, surveying the fundamental principles and themes of the just war tradition through the words of the philosophers, jurists, and warriors who have shaped it.

The collection begins with the foundational works of just war theory, as well as those of two competing perspectives, realism and pacifism. Subsequent selections focus on issues related to the resort to war, the conduct of war, and the judgment of war crimes. Both traditional just war concerns and those that have emerged in response to contemporary development—such as the U.S. "war on terror"—are thoroughly covered.

With articles that are crucially relevant to today's world paired with contextual introductions to each section, the reader is ideally constructed to inform and guide students as they consider the morality of past and current military actions.


David Kinsella is professor of political science at the Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University. He is editor of International Studies Perspectives and coauthor of World Politics: The Menu for Choice. Craig L. Carr is professor of political science at the Hatfield School of Government. He is author of On Fairness and editor of The Political Writings of Samuel Pufendorf.


  • Introduction.
  • Realism: Introduction.
  • The Talks at Melos—Thucydides.
  • Political Power and International Morality—H.J. Morgenthau.
  • Pacifism: Introduction.
  • The Complaint of Peace—D. Erasmus.
  • Last Message to Mankind—L. Tolstoy.
  • War and Non-Resistance—B. Russell.
  • Just War Theory: Introduction.
  • The City of God—St. Augustine.
  • War and Killing—St. Thomas Aquinas.
  • On the Law of War—F. de Vitoria.
  • The Rights of War and Peace—H. Grotius.
  • On the Law of War—S. Pufendorf.
  • Aggression and Self-Defense: Introduction.
  • The Legal Status of War—Y. Dinstein.
  • Resort to Coercion—M.S. McDougal and F.P. Feliciano.
  • Charter of the United Nations.
  • Resolution 3314: Definition of Aggression.
  • Preemption and Prevention: Introduction.
  • National Security Strategy of the United States of America.
  • Preemption, Prevention, and Jus ad Bellum.
  • Self-Defense and the Use of Force—M.A. Drumbl.
  • An Unnecessary War—J.J. Mearsheimer and S. Walt.
  • Terrorism: Introduction.
  • Terrorism, Rights, and Political Goals—V. Held.
  • The Morality of Terrorism—I. Primoratz.
  • Terrorism Without Intention—D. Rodin.
  • Intervention: Introduction.
  • A Few Words on Non-Intervention—J.S. Mill.
  • The Moral Basis of Humanitarian Intervention—T. Nardin.
  • The Responsibility to Protect—G. Evans and M. Sahnoun.
  • Combatant Rights: Introduction.
  • Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
  • Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (Part III).
  • Should the Ticking Bomb Terrorist Be Tortured?—A.M. Dershowitz.
  • Noncombatant Rights: Introduction.
  • Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 Part IV).
  • Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
  • Supreme Emergency—M. Walzer.
  • Maintaining the Protection of Noncombatants (Part 1)—J.T. Johnson.
  • Blockades and Sanctions: Introduction.
  • Maintaining the Protection of Noncombatants (Part 2)—J.T. Johnson.
  • Economic Sanctions and the Just-War Doctrine—D. Christiansen and G.F. Powers.
  • Economic Sanctions and the "Fearful Spectacle of Civilian Dead"—J. Gordon.
  • Technology and War: Introduction.
  • The Hatfields and the Coys—P. Ramsey.
  • War and Peace in the Modern World—US Catholic Bishops.
  • The Legitimization of Violence—R. Normant and C. af Jochnick.
  • War and Crime: Introduction.
  • Charter of the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg).
  • The Law of the Nuremberg Trials—Q. Wright.
  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  • Comparative Complementarity—M.A. Newton.
  • Judgment and Enforcement: Introduction.
  • Dissent from the US Supreme Court's Ruling in Yamashita v. Styer—Justice F. Murphy.
  • Responsibility for Crimes of War—S. Levinson.
  • The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals—G.J. Bass.
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