IN THE SHADOW OF HADITHA: Essential Resources on Ethics in War

In the Shadow of Haditha

Recent allegations of war crimes in Haditha point to the urgent need for ethical leadership in the conduct of war.

The inhumanity that comes with the stress of combat is well known. So are some of the means for dealing with that stress. Thus it is heartening—and only right—that in the wake of these allegations, the U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, has issued a directive to establish fresh training in legal, moral, and ethical standards for the battlefield. As military professionals, says Chiarelli, it is important that we take the time to reflect on the values that separate us from our enemies.

We at the Council applaud this new effort in ethics education. But we realize that more can and should be done. Ethical reflection is essential not only for the men and women in our military. It is the responsibility of us all.

Since World War I, the Council has led the debate on ethics in war, enlisting some of the most thoughtful and experienced leaders in this ongoing struggle to live up to our ideals. We continue to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict; the duties and restraints that come along with the use of force in self-defense; and the responsibility to protect innocent victims from aggression.

Drawing from our programs and publications, here follows a selection of Carnegie Council materials on ethics in war.


Joel H. Rosenthal, President of the Carnegie Council

June 6, 2006



Ethics in War


The Lesser Evil: Hard Choices in a War on Terror
Michael Ignatieff, Carr Professor of Human Rights, Harvard University
Ignatieff says that while the battle against terrorism may sometimes require infringing international norms on the use of force, we must constantly guard against slipping from the lesser evil to the greater. (Public Affairs Program, 2004)

Waging Modern War
General Wesley K. Clark (ret.)
Clark says that the "war on terror" is not just about attacking states; it's also about working together with other nations in police and law enforcement activities, and about taking care of security on the domestic front. (Morgenthau Memorial Lecture, 2003)

Human Rights and the Campaign against Terrorism
Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
Governments around the world are wrong to use the war on terrorism as an excuse to disregard human rights principles, says Kenneth Roth. "The war on terror must also be seen as a war on behalf of human rights if, in the long term, this campaign is going to be successful." (Public Affairs Program, 2002)

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations, Boston University
Bacevich argues that military force has increasingly become the preferred instrument of American foreign policy, a process that began not with 9/11, but with the end of the Cold War. (Public Affairs Program, 2005 )

The New American Militarism: Conversation with Andrew Bacevich
Carnegie Council Interview (2005)

Conflict and Order in the New Age of Preventive War
Thomas M. Nichols, Chairman, Department of Strategy and Policy, U. S. Naval War College
Nichols believes that the norm against preventive military action is rapidly being eroded and that we are headed into an era where preventive war will be an acceptable feature of the international system. (Public Affairs Program, 2005)

American Power and Human Rights
William Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International
Schulz observes that Guantánamo is a principal focus of international wrath against the United States. (Public Affairs Program, 2004)

Corporate Warriors: The Privatized Military and Iraq
P. W. Singer,Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Program, Brookings Institution
P. W. Singer examines the Pentagon's policy of contracting private security and logistics firms for tasks ranging from combat to catering in the Iraq War. What are the ethical dilemmas and conflicting incentives of outsourcing a traditional state function to essentially mercenary groups? (Public Affairs Program, 2005)

Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground
Robert D. Kaplan, bestselling author and correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly
Robert D. Kaplan provides an insider's account of our current involvement in world affairs, as well as painting a vivid picture of how defense policy is implemented at the grassroots level. (Public Affairs Program, 2005)

War and Self Defense
David Rodin, Director of Research, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University
(Ethics & International Affairs 18.1, 2004)

Self-Defense and the Obligations to Kill and to Die
Cheyney C. Ryan, Professor of Philosophy and Clark Honors College Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Critical Thinking at the University of Oregon
(Ethics & International Affairs 18.1, 2004)

A New Turn in the New War
Joel Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council
( May/June 2003)

The Ethics of the “New War”
Joel Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council
( September/October 2001)

New Rules for War?
Joel H. Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council
Rosenthal argues that the old rules are fine--they simply need to be considered in light of new circumstances that have led to the empowerment of nonstate actors. (Article originally published in Naval War College Review, Summer/Autumn 2004)

The New War: What Rules Apply?
Richard Falk, Ruth Wedgwood, William Nash, Fawaz Gergez, George A. Lopez
(Journal Roundtable, 2002)



Teaching Ethics


From the Margins to the Mainstream: A Blueprint for Ethics and International Affairs
Joel Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council
(Young Associates Program, 2004)

From Andrew Carnegie to Hans Morgenthau: A Lesson in Ethics and International Affairs
Joel Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council
(Young Associates Program, 2004)

What Constitutes an Ethical Approach to International Affairs?
Joel Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council
(Lecture Series, Fletcher School of Diplomacy, Tufts University, 2000)

Read More: Armed Conflict, Ethics, Just War Tradition, Iraq

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