Jim Dubik, Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory

Date(s) - 09/16/19
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Pritzker Military Library

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Jim Dubik, Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory 


Author Jim Dubik visits the Museum & Library to discuss his book which is a powerful reflection on a troubling time in American history.

In the seminal Just and Unjust Wars, Michael Walzer famously considered the ethics of modern warfare, examining the moral issues that arise before, during, and after conflict. However, Walzer and subsequent scholars have often limited their analyses of the ethics of combat to soldiers on the ground and failed to recognize the moral responsibilities of senior political and military leaders.

In Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory, James M. Dubik draws on years of research as well as his own experiences as a soldier and teacher to fill the gaps left by other theorists. He applies moral philosophy, political philosophy, and strategic studies to historical and contemporary case studies to reveal the inaccuracies and moral bankruptcy that inform some of the literature on military ethics. Conventional just war theory adopts a binary approach, wherein political leaders have moral accountability for the decision to go to war and soldiers have accountability for fighting the war ethically. Dubik argues, however, that political and military leadership should be held accountable for the planning and execution of war in addition to the decision to initiate conflict.

Dubik bases his sober reassessment on the fundamental truth that war risks the lives of soldiers and innocents as well as the political and social health of communities. He offers new standards to evaluate the ethics of warfare in the hope of increasing the probability that the lives of soldiers will not be used in vain and the innocent not put at risk unnecessarily.

LT. GENERAL JAMES M. DUBIK, USA (RET.) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). He earned a PhD in philosophy from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He was a professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic Studies before being promoted to his current title of Director of Teaching. He held the Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership from 2012 to 2013, a position cosponsored by Dickinson College, Penn State Law School, and the U.S. Army War College. He is the coauthor of Envisioning Future Warfare.