War, Morality, and the Military Profession

War, Morality, and the Military Profession

War, Morality, and the Military Profession

War, Morality, and the Military Profession


This anthology brings together material on two major related topics: the military profession, and morality and war. The revised and updated edition retains those sections that made the original version indispensable in the classroom, while incorporating new selections on topics of special concern for the 1980s and beyond. In particular, Colonel Wakin has included essays focusing on the relevance of nuclear deterrence and "just war" theory in the nuclear age. More than a third of the chapters are new. The articles in the first section stress the ethical dimensions of the military profession, considering topics such as the conflict between military values and societal norms, the relation of the military to the state, and the concepts of loyalty, honor, and integrity. New chapters include an essay by Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale suggesting how moral philosophy can serve the profession, contemporary commentaries on the profession by Jacques Barzun and Max Lerner, and new thoughts on ethics and leadership by Colonel Wakin. The essays in Part 2 confront the agonizing moral issues associated with warfare, especially modern warfare. In conjunction with discussions of the laws of war and war crimes, new chapters highlight the continuing debate on nuclear issues. Included are excerpts from the U. S. Catholic Bishops' pastoral letter, "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response"; a defense of pacifism by Stanley Hauerwas; arguments about the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence by Michael Walzer, Michael Novak, and Charles Krauthammer; and some moral reflections on the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") by Kenneth Kemp.


Several years of experience in the classroom with this text have confirmed the usefulness of the ideas of the various authors in raising important issues about the military profession and the waging of war. Those who have used these readings in classes at military academies, in civilian courses on war and peace, in various ways as part of professional military education curricula, and in ROTC courses at many universities have provided help in identifying the more relevant readings.

With the publication (and the attendant publicity) of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Pastoral Letter The Challenge of Peace, in May of 1983, much additional attention has been focused on nuclear war, nuclear deterrence, and even more recently the strategic defense initiatives. This second edition provides eight new readings associated with these topics in Part 2 plus four different readings for Part 1. The "Introductions" to Parts 1 and 2 have been rewritten to accord with the additions to and deletions from materials in the first edition. The new readings in Part 1 are Chapters 1, 8, 9, and 15. The new readings in Part 2 are Chapters 17, 18, 19, 28, 30, 31, 32, and 33.

Special thanks are due to Kay Nightingale for her expert work in manuscript preparation and to Cheryl Ross for attention to the many details and correspondence associated with copyright permissions.

Funds for copyright permissions for this edition have been provided by the United States Air Force Academy Academic Support Fund.

M.M. W.

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