Pursuing Moral Warfare

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256 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626166578 (1626166579)

239 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626166585 (1626166587)

ISBN: 9781626166592

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March 2019


Table of Contents

Pursuing Moral Warfare
Ethics in American, British, and Israeli Counterinsurgency
Marcus Schulzke
During combat, soldiers make life-and-death choices dozens of times a day. These individual decisions accumulate to determine the outcome of wars. This work examines the theory and practice of military ethics in counterinsurgency operations. Marcus Schulzke surveys the ethical traditions that militaries borrow from; compares ethics in practice in the US Army, British Army and Royal Marines Commandos, and Israel Defense Forces; and draws conclusions that may help militaries refine their approaches in future conflicts. The work is based on interviews with veterans and military personnel responsible for ethics training, review of training materials and other official publications, published accounts from combat veterans, and observation of US Army focus groups with active-duty soldiers. Schulzke makes a convincing argument that though military ethics cannot guarantee flawless conduct, incremental improvements can be made to reduce war's destructiveness while improving the success of counterinsurgency operations.
Marcus Schulzke, formerly a lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of York, specializes in security studies and applied ethics. He is the author of two previous books, Just War Theory and Civilian Casualties: Protecting the Victims of War and The Morality of Drone Warfare and the Politics of Regulation.
"This fascinating and informative book explores how soldiers make ethical decisions in combat. The comparative analysis of doctrine and soldier behavior significantly advances our understandings of how soldiers make ethical decisions on the battlefield. This important and well-argued study will be useful to scholars, students, and practitioners."—David Rousseau, Professor, University at Albany, SUNY

"Does the academic literature on the ethics of war speak to the realities of the contemporary battlefield? How do frontline soldiers both perceive and negotiate the demands that military ethicists place upon them? Marcus Schulzke not only addresses these questions in this very fine book, he also brings them to life. Essential reading for anyone interested in Military Ethics, War Studies, Civil-Military Relations, and the Ethics of War, it examines the relation between just war theory and just war practice. This is a ground-breaking work that deserves to be widely read."—Cian O'Driscoll, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Glasgow

"Pursuing Moral Warfare explores the ethical challenges of counter-insurgency. Based on interviews with soldiers and junior officers from three countries, it shows how these combatants interpret and put into practice the just war philosophical tradition when using force on complex and uncertain battlefields."—James Igoe Walsh, Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

"Pursuing Moral Warfare by Marcus Schulzke makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of military ethics and their actual application in the realm of counterinsurgency which is repeatedly overlooked. Going beyond theorizing and philosophizing, Schulzke digs into how actual participants in counter insurgency actually think and act related to ethics by asking them directly and reflecting usefully on their answers. This is a book that needs to be assigned in all counter insurgency classes."—Victor Asal, Professor, University at Albany, SUNY

Table of Contents

1. The Emergence of Military Ethics
2. Moral Theory and Ethics at War
3. Constraints on Ethical Reasoning in Combat
4. Ethical Decisions in Counterinsurgency Operations
5. The US Army and Virtue Ethics: Embodying the Warrior Ethos
6. The US Army in Afghanistan and Iraq: Warrior Virtue in Asymmetric Wars
7. British Military Ethics: Pragmatism and Minimalism
8. The British Military's Adaptive Struggle: Adjusting to New Challenges
9. The Israel Defense Forces: On Guard Against Existential Threats
10. The Ethics of Israeli Counterinsurgency Operations: Navigating the Rules of War

Appendix: List of Interview Questions
About the Author