My New Book Is Out

Titled A Conservative’s View of the Conduct of Just Wars, it’s available in Kindle format here.  It presents this Conservative’s view of the proper conduct of a just war: when it’s appropriate to join one, how it should be fought once joined (regardless of how or why it was joined), and importantly, what should be done with the nation that unjustly attacked.

Since St Augustine of Hippo’s exegeses of the early 5th century, Western thinkers have attempted to define Just War in their recognition that war is a part of the human condition. Through this, they hoped to limit the onset and scope of war and its damage to those innocently caught in it.

Many Just War theories center on the idea that human lives are God’s to take. Thus, war as a human endeavor begins inherently immoral and unjust, and it’s the war fighters’ responsibility to make the case that their war—this war, this time—is just and then to fight it justly.  My argument proceeds from that point.

Unfortunately, Just War arguments generally stop short of war’s true completion. The war is entered, it’s fought, it’s won or lost. But then…what? Just War theories until very recently haven’t asked that question, much less essayed an answer.

Is that all there is, though? Is a conflict over just because the enemy has been utterly defeated or a peace treaty signed? No, the conflict simply slides into a post-war recovery effort by the victor which may or may not include the loser.

In truth, peace by itself cannot be a just end of war; mere restoration of quietude is not a proper goal of victory. Nor can mere victory be the goal of war. True victory, victory in a just war must entail the restoration or creation of justice and freedom—of both, since neither can exist without the other.

Given justice in entering the war, the defender then must fight to a conclusion that not only redresses the wrong inflicted by the war’s attacker but also maximizes the probability that the aggressor will not—cannot—aggress again for a reasonably foreseeable future. Notice the implication: this requires the defender to fight to total, unconditioned victory.

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