I am a retired Army officer who believes in the moral standing of the profession of arms, yet recognizes its shortcomings. I served in the Army from 1984-2017, mostly in the infantry and on the faculty at West Point. As a researcher of combat leadership and ethics, I interviewed hundreds of Army leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003-2011. Welcome to this online space for thinking about war, morality, and the profession of arms. Follow me @combat_ethics
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Refuting some bad assumptions about morality and war
As a military ethicist who strives to engage in constructive conversations about the morality of war, I’ve come to recognize five common misconceptions that sabotage efforts to think critically about morality and war. The mistaken assumptions undermine any realistic possibility of a war being morally justified. Therefore, the misconceptions must be addressed and debunked to set the conditions for meaningful discussions.
The five misconceptions are:
Peace is always an option.
Both sides in war are always wrong.
Warfighting is analogous morally to a sports competition.
Motives must be pure for a war to be just.
Any immoral acts in a war make the entire war immoral.
I invite you to read the entire article and share your thoughts.