In the past, having a horse trained for war was a feature of the warrior class that also served to point out social differences and, moreover, gave a noble character to the battles fought by knights and enshrined them instead of portrayed them as slaughters Braudy, Cavalry also served to ensure military masculinity whilst evoking traditional power Braudy, For the chivalric ideal, a skilful use of close-combat weapons, such as the sword, elevated the value of a knight, whose greatest honour was to fight in hand-to-hand battles Braudy It was this fascination with romantic ideals and old-school combats that influenced the initial resistance for the use of firearms despite later on, armies developed a strong interest in making modern weapons:.
Theoretically, honour is an inner code of personal behaviour Braudy, Hence, if war becomes impersonal, its function as a school for knightly character would be ruined Vale Braudy argues that chivalric masculinity was used by the government as propaganda during World War I to evoke the Arthurian ideal and his quest for the Holy Grial, thus demonstrating that civilizations and individuals hold onto archaic types of masculinity in the same way armies refused to adopt new technologies on the grounds of masculine myths.
Images of knights in shining armours have been said Braudy, to support the impression that, unlike modern wars, past wars were more honourable and humane. A shallow impression nonetheless, given that past wars were extremely violent as shown in the following passage:. Is it because it allegedly undermines reciprocity or because it undermines masculinity?
OAPEN Library - The Future of Just War : New Critical Essays
Moving to a different point, regarding self-defence, in the context of international relations between countries, it does not apply to individuals, but to a nation or a group of nations:. Conditions to exercise the right to self-defence are set in Article 51 of the United Nations UN Charter and they refer to an armed attack. Nonetheless, it is a legal concept that does not always play a key part in the hands-on issue of war and can be used as a political excuse for the deployment of military forces Dinstein, As Kahn himself pointed out, there are some reasons for a combatant to be morally innocent, such as being a victim of the regime or complying with a legal obligation.
In both cases, contenders on either sides may not have freedom of choice. Equally their first concern is survival, thus soldiers in the trench do not even think about self-defence, but staying alive. In this regard, Braudy claims that combatants act in the name of national interests.
As a result of these factors, one could say that combatants have been used as errand boys to deliver messages on behalf of their nations and whose personal objective, without self-defence considerations, is surviving. Unlike ideals, war is a reality covered in blood. Still, based on the medieval cult of chivalry and honour, Kahn considers that a high-tech war is incompatible with the self-defence principle of a just war and eliminates the possibility of chivalry. At this point it is worth asking the identity of the canon fodder sent to war.
Are they mature high-ranked adult soldiers or young and frightened boys? Most likely the latter, and in that case sending those expendables to war does not seem a better option than sending robots. According to Kahn , an asymmetrical high-tech warfare embodies a profound challenge that takes us out of the ethics of warfare and eliminates the expectation of loss as a restrains to military actions.
Actually his reasoning poses a challenge to the just war theory. Traditionally, the just war theory indicated that the reasons for going to war should be examined first and then subsequently an analysis of the way force is used. It is possible that the deployment of high-tech military forces make obsolete the traditional concept of just war Steele and Heinze, The fact that one of the biggest problems about the deployment of such force is the lack of loss demonstrates a lack of ability to think beyond past war experiences and impedes the development of new useful doctrines Singer, This point is well illustrated in the way the British army adapted insufficiently to airplanes from in comparison to the German army:.
The force soon centered on a doctrine that would later be called blitzkrieg. It is important to think about war in terms of its suitable to current times instead of being attached to what has been considered necessary circumstances of war. A warrior like that may not meet the traditional definition of soldier, so a paradigm change is required to keep up with the pace of fast moving technology Singer, This new warfare may have positive consequences and should not be obstructed by the old-fashioned values that are automatically attributed to a soldier Singer, especially considering, as we saw above, that those values are romantic ideals.
As Sharkey noted, unmanned weapons are not new. However, there are no legal provisions allowing or prohibiting them, nor guidelines for their use. But probably it is possible to make use of the existing current provisions to cover them. Superfluous injury is related to perfidy; unnecessary suffering is not a clear term and, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC , p.
This worrying commentary makes clear that we have not foreseen all the potential benefits that robotic technology may bring and instead we have concentrated on the commonplace opposition from an apocalyptic Skynet-like scenario. However, it made a vey interesting point when referring to the ban of new weapons because it stresses the fact that they have helped to move from obsolete systems.
However this sensible comment comes alongside with a useless reiteration about the complexity of the problem:.
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Nevertheless, they were used and have contributed to the disintegration of an outdated social order. This makes it difficult to pass judgment. Just war theory resolutely opposes any surprise attack, such as that of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, precisely because such an unanticipated action can never be a last resort.
Sneak attacks do not provide the prospective enemy with an ultimatum that it can meet and thereby avert the catastrophe of war. A just war against Iran, therefore, would have to be a declared war. Given the United States Constitution, it is the sole prerogative of the Congress to issue any ultimatum with a declared state of war among its threatened consequences.
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The president lacks the constitutional authority to issue such an ultimatum or declaration. Consequently, no action either by American or allied forces authorized solely by the president can be just. However, it is hard to believe that an attack involving the use of nuclear weapons could truly be imminent before a single one of those weapons has actually been built.
By the nature of human free will and the structure and pacing of decision-making, the Iranian leadership cannot already intend those steps in a concrete and specific form. Consequently, they are not yet unjust aggressors, and so not yet the legitimate target of defensive action. Why is the condition of last resort so important, given that following this principle brings with it a significant risk of great harm?
Last resort matters because when we go to war prematurely, we cannot act with the right intention. If war is something other than our last resort, we reveal our unjust disregard of the humanity of our enemies. When we kill prematurely, we allow other considerations to weigh against the value of their lives, and we deny the inherent dignity of our enemies when we anticipate evil intentions that they have not yet formed. I cannot legitimately shoot someone now in self-defense, simply because, given his wicked disposition, he will almost certainly intend to kill me at some time in the future.
Finally, a just war must bring with it a reasonable probability of success. However, in this case, there is no specific attack that we would be thwarting: we would be merely postponing the acquisition of the means for an attack, and such mere postponement cannot justify the intentional killing of Iranians. Without a reasonable probability of success at preventing the development of an Iranian bomb, an attack on their facilities could not be carried out with the right intention, even if the cause is just.
It would merely be an act of frustration and anger, not genuinely ordered to the defense of innocent life. Just war theory applies even to global policemen.
Gentry, Amy E. Eckert, eds. Studies in Security and International Affairs Series. Athens: University of Georgia Press, The just war tradition is the predominant wWestern body of thought concerning the ethics of armed conflict.
Boasting a lineage that can be traced to the sunset of the Roman Empire, it reflects two millennia of reflection on the rights and wrongs of war. A beguiling conundrum lies at its very core: Ccan the use of military force ever be an instrument of justice?
Though scholars often quibble about its exact composition, a broad consensus has emerged that the just war tradition hinges on three distinct but connected questions. Yet this would be a misapprehension. More generally, the just war idiom has acquired sufficient prominence, not just in the corridors of power, but also in the print media and general political discourse, that scholars of international relations can no longer afford to ignore it. Despite or perhaps because of its recent success, scholars have identified this as a precarious moment for the just war tradition.
As the vocabulary of choice for generals and presidents alike, it is more vulnerable to both abuse and refutation than ever before. On the one hand, unscrupulous politicians are wont to cite just war principles in a disingenuous manner in a bid to impart the sheen of legitimacy to their preferred policies. On the other hand, critics are prone to reject just war discourse on the grounds that it enables rather than constrains precisely this kind of conduct.
In the course of so doing, they have engaged in vigorous debates about the identity and remit of the tradition.
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Consequently, while the foes of the just war are united by a shared disdain for the tradition, its friends are divided among themselves and pre-occupied by internecine squabbling. It is into this troubled water that Caron E. Gentry and Amy E. They position themselves as neither friends nor enemies of the tradition, but as internal critics. They suppose that, insofar as it provides a medium for speaking truth to power, the tradition serves a valuable, even vital, function.