The Just War Tradition

An Introduction

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How can some politicians, pundits, and scholars cite the principles of “just war” to defend military actions—and others to condemn those same interventions? Just 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 and invaluable book. Now in paperback.

“In a country where we oscillate between the extremes of realism and pacifism, learning the history of the just war tradition is important. [This] new book by David Corey and J. Daryl Charles offers us an introduction. . . . This tradition of reflection must inform our thinking on foreign policy today as well. Platitudes, checklists, and positive laws are not enough in an age of a nuclear Middle East, drone strikes, and preemptive interventions.”
The Public Discourse

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Description

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.

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Reviews

“This new book by David Corey and J. Daryl Charles offers us an introduction . . . [to a] tradition of reflection [that] must inform our thinking on foreign policy today. Platitudes, checklists, and positive laws are not enough in an age of a nuclear Middle East, drone strikes, and preemptive interventions.” —The Public Discourse

“This wonderfully readable book provides a rich and thoughtful account of the theoretical development of the concept of the just war.” —James Ceaser, professor of politics at the University of Virginia

“In this supple and accessible account, Corey and Charles reintroduce us to a profound body of knowledge that we have neglected to our detriment.” —Wilfred M. McClay, Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the ­University of Oklahoma

“An excellent survey of the major thinkers in the Western just war tradition—Catholic, Protestant, and liberal. Corey and Charles provide citizens with the resources to respond intelligently and responsibly to the monumental challenges of the present.” —James R. Stoner Jr., professor of political science at Louisiana State University

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