Proportionality in the Afghanistan War [Full Text]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 25.2 (Summer 2011)

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It is a privilege to be able to add a footnote to Richard Miller's illuminating moral analysis of the war in Afghanistan. I am in substantial agreement with his argument and share his evident frustration with the Obama administration's failure to provide a cogent justification for the continued killing. My contribution to the discussion will be largely theoretical rather than political. Miller rightly observes that "current just war theory does not provide sufficient guidance" in thinking through many of the moral issues raised by the war (p. 103). Some of the questions he addresses are concerned with proportionality, a notion whose complexities are only beginning to be appreciated. My modest ambition in this comment is to try to sharpen these questions and provide some assistance in thinking about them, though I am far from understanding them fully myself.

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