Politicians, pundits, and scholars have cited the principles of “just war” to defend military actions from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya. Others have cited just war principles to condemn those very interventions.
How can this same tradition lead to such sharply opposing conclusions? What is the just war tradition, and why is it important today?
Authors David D. Corey and J. Daryl Charles answer those questions in this fascinating blend of history, theology, and political philosophy. The Just War Tradition: An Introduction traces the development of the tradition from its inception nearly two millennia ago right up to today’s headlines. It illuminates how the various voices within the tradition—Augustine and Aquinas, Luther and Calvin, Suárez and Locke, as well as present-day commentators—relate to one another and to rival ways of understanding war and peace.
Corey and Charles reveal why this rich tradition provides the only framework for evaluating the moral particulars of coercive force—even in an age in which terrorism, drone strikes, guerrilla insurgencies, and so much else have transformed war. The just war tradition provides moral guidance that is necessary not only for adequate statecraft but also for the very ordering of civil society.
This invaluable book reintroduces the wisdom we desperately need in our national debates.