Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations

By Michael Walzer | Go to book overview

7
War's Ends, and the Importance of Winning

What may be called the modernist view of war is grimly summed up in a poem by Randall Jarrell: 1

Profits and death grow marginal:
Only the mourning and the mourned recall
The wars we lose, the wars we win;
And the world is -- what it has been.

War kills; that is all it does; even its economic causes are not reflected in its outcomes; and the soldiers who die are, in the contemporary phrase, wasted. Jarrell speaks in the name of those wasted men, of comrades already dead and of others who know they will soon be killed. And theirs is an authoritative perspective: there have been so many of them. When soldiers die in small numbers, in encompassable battles, they can attribute some meaning to their deaths. Sacrifice and heroism are conceivable notions. But the slaughter of modern warfare overwhelms their capacity for moral understanding; cynicism is their last resort. It is not, however, our last resort, or the most important form of our perceptions of the war in which Jarrell fought. Indeed, most of his fellow survivors would still want to affirm that the world is different, and better, for the Allied victory and the defeat of the Nazi regime. And theirs, too, is an authoritative perspective: there are so many of them. In an age when human sensibility is finely tuned to all the nuances of

-109-

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Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the Third Edition xi
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xxv
  • Part One - The Moral Reality of War 1
  • 1 - Against "Realism" 3
  • 2 - The Crime of War 21
  • 3 - The Rules of War 34
  • Part Two - The Theory of Aggression 49
  • 4 - Law and Order in International Society 51
  • 5 - Anticipations 74
  • 6 - Interventions 86
  • 7 - War's Ends, and the Importance of Winning 109
  • Part Three - The War Convention 125
  • 8 - War's Means, and the Importance of Fighting Well 127
  • 9 - Noncombatant Immunity and Military Necessity 138
  • 10 - War against Civilians: Sieges and Blockades 160
  • 11 - Guerrilla War 176
  • 12 - Terrorism 197
  • 13 - Reprisals 207
  • Part Four - Dilemmas of War 223
  • 14 - Winning and Fighting Well 225
  • 15 - Aggression and Neutrality 233
  • 16 - Supreme Emergency 251
  • 17 - Nuclear Deterrence 269
  • Part Five - The Question of Responsibility 285
  • 18 - The Crime of Aggression: Political Leaders and Citizens 287
  • 19 - War Crimes: Soldiers and Their Officers 304
  • Afterword - Nonviolence and the Theory of War 329
  • Notes 337
  • Index 355
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