War, Morality, and the Military Profession

By Malham M. Wakin | Go to book overview
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to meeting this burden. But even if I am wrong, the argument from the death of the innocent does, I believe, make it clear both where the burden is and how unlikely it is today to suppose that it can be honestly discharged.


Notes
1.
Acheson, "Ethics in International Relations Today", in M. Raskin and B. Fall (eds.), The Vietnam Reader ( 1965), p. 13.
2.
Acheson's view is admittedly somewhat broader than this since it appears to encompass all foreign relations.
3.
Such a view could also hold, although it need not, that it would be desirable for matters relating to war to be determined on moral grounds, even though they are not.
4.
See notes 9-11 below and accompanying text.
5.
Much of this analysis applies with equal force to what I call the prescriptive view, which is discussed more fully in notes 9-11 and accompanying text. Although I refer only to the analytic view, I mean to include them both where appropriate.
6.
It is a mistake just because justice is not analyzable solely in terms of rule-following and rule-violating behavior.

One of the genuine puzzles in this whole area is why there is so much talk about just and unjust wars. Except in this very limited context of the relationship of justice to rules, it appears that the predicates "just" and "unjust" when applied to wars are so synonymous with "moral" and "immoral."

7.
See notes 12-19 below and accompanying text.
8.
But suppose someone should argue that the same argument applies to the question of when and under what circumstances to wage war, and that here, too, the only relevant criteria of assessment are prudential or strategic ones. Again, my answer would be that this also constitutes a perfectly defensible and relevant reason for making a moral judgment about the desirability of war as a social phenomenon.
9.
Address to the Nation by President Harry S Truman, August 9, 1945, quoted in R. Tucker, The Just War ( 1960), pp. 21-22, n. 14.
10.
Other arguments that might be offered—such as that the president was justified because Japan was the aggressor, or that he was justified because this was essentially an attack on combatants—are discussed at notes 12-19 below and accompanying text.
11.
It is probably a reaction to the parochial view of national interest that makes plausible movements that seek to develop a single world government and a notion of world rather than national citizenship.
12.
This may be what Paul Henri Spaak had in mind when he said: "I must . . . say that the proposal to humanize war has always struck me as hypocrisy. I have difficulty in seeing the difference from a moral and humane point of view between the use of a guided missile of great power which can

-338-

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