Re-Negotiating the Just War Tradition: Punitive War against Iraq

Cambridge Review of International Affairs

Author/s (editor/s):

Cian O'Driscoll

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

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Taylor & Francis

Cian O’Driscoll, ‘Re-Negotiating the Just War Tradition: Punitive War against Iraq’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 19(3) 2006: 405-20.

This article examines the arguments pertaining to punitive war presented by President George W Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and various just war theorists, in order to examine how they relate, first, to the case made for war against Iraq in 2003 and, second, to the classical just war tradition. In highlighting the confluence between contemporary justificatory rhetoric and the classical just war tradition, this article sketches an account of the mode by which the tradition has developed over time. By drawing attention to the homologies linking just war arguments, classical and contemporary, it constructs a basis for a critical perspective: understanding the idea of punishment as it has figured historically in just war tradition past may enable us to gain a degree of critical purchase on how it figures in just war tradition present.

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