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In Morality and Ethics of War, which includes a foreword by Major General Susan Coyle, ethicist Deane-Peter Baker goes b

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Table of contents :
Cover
Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Moral Frameworks And Identity
The Ethics Of War And The Thin And Narrow
Moral Pain And Moral Injury
Bridging The Gaps
The Guardian Ethos
Risk Factors
Rising To The Challenge: Preparing And
Conclusion: Morality And Ethics
Notes
Bibliography
Recommend Papers

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Morality and Ethics at War

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Also available from Bloomsbury A Critical Introduction to the Ethics of Abortion, by Bernie Cantens An Ethical Guidebook to the Zombie Apocalypse, by Bryan Hall Citizen Killings, by Deane-Peter Baker Just Warriors, Inc., by Deane-Peter Baker Should a Liberal State Ban the Burqa?, by Brandon Robshaw Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy, by Christopher Bartel

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Morality and Ethics at War Bridging the Gaps between the Soldier and the State

Deane-Peter Baker With a foreword by Major General Susan Coyle, CSC DSM

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BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published in Great Britain 2021 Copyright © Deane-Peter Baker, 2021 Deane-Peter Baker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Author of this work. For legal purposes the Acknowledgements on pp. x–xii constitute an extension of this copyright page. Cover design by Daniel Benneworth-Gray All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: HB: 978-1-3501-0455-6 PB: 978-1-3501-0454-9 ePDF: 978-1-3501-0456-3 eBook: 978-1-3501-0457-0 Typeset by Newgen KnowledgeWorks Pvt. Ltd., Chennai, India Printed and bound in Great Britain To find out more about our authors and books visit www.bloomsbury.com and sign up for our newsletters.

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For Polly, my anchor

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Contents Foreword by Major General Susan Coyle, CSC DSM

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Acknowledgements

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Introduction

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1 Moral frameworks and identity

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2 The ethics of war and the thin and narrow morality of the liberal democratic state

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3 Moral pain and moral injury

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4 Bridging the gaps

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5 The Guardian ethos

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6 Risk factors

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7 Rising to the challenge: Preparing and leading the Guardian

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Conclusion: Morality and ethics in the four block war

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Notes Bibliography Index

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Foreword You know that moment when you stumble on something and think, ‘This is special and it will make a difference’? That was my thought when I  was introduced by my Brigade Padre, the wonderful Rob Sutherland, to the topic of ‘Moral Leadership in Complex Operations’ in 2017. From this initial discussion, I would go on to meet two remarkable people, Associate Professor Deane-Peter Baker (the author of this book) and Professor Tom Frame, who would turn our Brigade project into reality. Through the strong relationship between Defence and UNSW Canberra, we were able to harness the experience and expertise of people in this area to establish a world-class course on moral leadership and ethical decision-making to support the needs of not only 6 Brigade but also the broader Defence organization. This book has its origins from those early conversations. To give you some background on how we got to this point, a basic understanding of the Australian Army’s 6th Brigade is in order. Combining seven unique and very capable combat support units, the brigade contains numerous operational capabilities. These capabilities, while very effective, regularly place members in environments with a substantially heightened risk of exposure to morally inappropriate behaviour. The 1st Intelligence Battalion, for instance, gathers and exploits tactical information that can often be confronting, and the 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment conducts activities whereby operators are likely to remotely observe conflict. The term ‘Complex Operations’ is aptly given to these capabilities due to their human dimension, and I attest that it is this human dimension which is at the centre of operational success. While attending the United States Army War College in 2016, I  was fascinated by the then secretary for state Elihu Root’s philosophy when the college formed in 1901:  ‘not to promote war but to preserve peace by intelligent and adequate preparation to repel aggression’. This book, in my mind, is a valuable extension of that philosophy, ensuring that we educate and provide strategies for the appropriate management of situations where the values undergirding Western civilization are threatened or have been abandoned. We must prepare our leaders to succeed across the spectrum of complex environments in which they may serve: whether they be during cooperation, competition or conflict. They must understand where they can contribute and lead as one element of the national instruments of power. Why is this necessary? History, sadly, is littered with examples of leaders or individuals who have been judged to have failed to act appropriately.

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Hindsight is a wonderful tool; however, we need to ensure that we provide the environment or framework to ensure that our leaders are physically, psychologically and emotionally equipped to succeed. This is why this book’s focus on the comparison of Warrior Ethos versus a Guardian Ethos is critical to discuss. Any ethically inappropriate behaviour in complex operations has the potential to cause significant moral injury in operators or others and will overshadow or remove our organzational legitimacy to be involved. It can also cause operational compromise and reputational damage to not only the Australian Defence Force but also Australia’s international reputation. This book will challenge your thinking. Transformational leaders are grounded in the foundation of morality. We must always ask the question: is the way that we’re conducting wars, or preparing for wars, causing moral injury to our service personnel? We must ensure that the topics of morality and ethics are integrated throughout our training at all levels. We are in a changing world, compounded by the rapid pace of technology, autonomy, population growth and urbanization. The danger of ethical failure and moral injury is real, and therefore we owe it to our people to prepare them for full-spectrum war-fighting, where arguably the risk of moral injury is even higher. I  can tell you that the Australian Defence Force prides itself on its promise to care for its people. If we ask them to go to war, we’ve given them and their families the promise that we will do our utmost to ensure their safety and welfare long after they return home. If they’ve been injured while serving their nation, we promise to get them back to being able to continue to serve, or we support them to transition with dignity and work with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to continue that care. This book will question what you know. As leaders we ensure that we understand the just cause, what the legitimate authority is, what the public declaration is, questioning the just intent, understanding the proportionality aspect in relation to the cost benefit prior to war, what is our last resort, and whether there is any hope of success. Dr Baker accurately argues that leadership is critical across all ranks where, as professional militaries, we prepare to meet the challenge of morality and ethics. As a proud Australian professional soldier, I have seen or studied firsthand the ramifications to nations and militaries when their legitimacy of existence is questioned through a moral or ethical lens. And we are as leaders, quite rightly, held to account for our decisions. That is why you should read this book. Major General Susan Coyle, CSC DSM Australian Army

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Acknowledgements This was not going to be my next book  – I  had intended to focus on a manuscript on Special Operations Ethics (which is now, once again, my ‘next’ book!). Instead, an opportunity arose in 2018 to work on developing a course on ‘Moral Leadership in Complex Operations’ for the Australian Army’s 6 Brigade, and this book emerged out of that effort. I am grateful for, and impressed by, the determination of Susan Coyle (Commander 6 Brigade at the time) to equip her team for the moral challenges of the contemporary operational environment. I am extremely honoured that she agreed to write the foreword for the book. Rev. Rob Sutherland, then Chaplain to 6 Brigade, played an instrumental role and also significantly shaped my thinking about moral injury, as did my friend and colleague Professor Tom Frame, who helped sketch out the shape of the course at the beginning. The material in the book has also been influenced by the discussions which took place in the first offering of the course to members of 6 Brigade, as well as a related course offered to members of Australia’s Special Operations Command, an outcome which reflects the high calibre of personnel in both organizations. Much of the precious uninterrupted writing time that resulted in this book occurred during a six-month sabbatical in 2018–19 that was granted to me and partly funded by UNSW Canberra, a privilege for which I  am most grateful. I was generously hosted for a significant chunk of that time by Professor Peter Feaver and his team at the excellent Triangle Institute for Security Studies, a consortium of the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), North Carolina State University and Duke University. I  loved being there and revelled in the rich scholarly environment. A  particular vote of thanks to Dr Carolyn Pumphrey, who provided so much practical help in making the visit work. My parents, Peter and Teresa Baker (who live in the Raleigh–Durham–Chapel Hill NC Triangle), took me into their home over that time, and while they didn’t really have much choice, I’m very grateful to have had the chance to spend that time with them, and for their patience when I had my head down in my laptop and was otherwise lost to the world! A second, shorter, period of uninterrupted writing was vital in finishing off the manuscript. That came courtesy of a six-week COFUND Senior Research Fellowship at Durham University in mid-2019, jointly funded by Durham University and the European Union. There can be few better places to write than in the shadow of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle during a gorgeous English summer! The fellowship was coordinated by the Institute of

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Advanced Study, and Simon Litchfield and Pat McAtominey sorted out all the administrative requirements admirably. My accommodation was provided by Ustinov College and my academic ‘home’ (and office) was provided by the School of Government and International Affairs. I’m particularly grateful to my academic host, Professor Christopher J. Finlay, and to (the then) Head of School Professor John Williams, both of whom gave generously of their time and scholarly insight. I’d have been far less productive if Ian Stroud and Aphra Brandreth hadn’t loaned me a laptop after I left mine at Melbourne airport en route to the UK (thankfully later recovered) – thanks for the rescue! Though I wasn’t expecting this to happen when I started this project, this book has turned out to be one which draws together central strands of my academic research that span my career thus far. Parts of the book thus draw on earlier published work, and I  am grateful to the publishers concerned for permission to incorporate that work into this manuscript. UNSW Press allowed me to reproduce, in the Introduction and Chapters  3, 5 and 7, passages that first appeared in Key Concepts in Military Ethics (ed. DeanePeter Baker, 2015). They also allowed me to reprise, in Chapter 3, some of my discussion of moral injury from Moral Injury (ed. Tom Frame, 2015). SCM Press gave permission for me to reprise, in Chapter 1, my rendering of Charles Taylor’s account of the structure of the moral self, which first appeared in my book Tayloring Reformed Epistemology (2007). Chapter 1 also incorporates my account of Taylor’s philosophical retrieval of the sources of the moral self, and I am grateful to Dr Ward Jones and the team at Philosophical Papers for the opportunity to reprint this from my paper ‘Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self as an Argument for Theism: A Re-Reading’ (November 2009, 38(3), 401–16). The conclusion of the book incorporates an account of General Krulak’s scenario from which he developed the ‘Strategic Corporal’ concept, which first appeared in a chapter I  co-authored with David Pfotenhauer in UCT Press’s The Strategic Corporal (ed. Deane-Peter Baker and David Lovell, 2017). Chapter  2 includes material which appeared in my book Citizen Killings (2016), which was published by Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Bloomsbury Academic graciously agreed to publish this book as well, and I have once again been blown away by the professionalism, encouragement and support I received from Colleen Coalter, Becky Holland and the rest of the team. I count myself to be greatly blessed to be among a community of scholars who are supportive, encouraging and generally just great people. Many of them have directly and indirectly had an impact on what I have written in the pages that follow (though they may well not agree with the conclusions I have reached!), and I would particularly like to single out the members of the UNSW Canberra International Ethics Research Group, especially Dr Ned

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Dobos, Dr Peter Balint and Professor Toni Erskine. Looking further afield, particular thanks go to Professors Martin Cook (US Naval War College Emeritus), David Whetham (Kings College London Centre for Military Ethics) and Valerie Morkevicius (Colgate University), all of whom I  am privileged to count as friends as well as colleagues. Dr Deanna Messervey’s work on what I like to call ‘moral psychology’ (a label she dislikes) has been enormously influential on me, and I am likewise grateful for her friendship. CAPT Roger Herbert PhD USN (Ret.) has been generous in sharing the wisdom gleaned from a distinguished career first as a US Navy SEAL, and now as a Distinguished Military Professor of Ethics at the US Naval Academy, for which I am deeply grateful. Many other colleagues, friends and family members helped along the way, and I apologize for not being able to thank each by name. Greatest thanks, though, are due to my long-suffering wife Polly, who has had to put up with too many long trips away, and who has patiently heard me out as I talked through book-related ideas that were rattling around my brain and needed to come out (usually when I should have had my mind on something else!). My fantastic daughters Jemimah, Keziah and Amelia (a.k.a. The Fabulous Baker Girls) have also been more than patient with their dad – thank you ladies!

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Introduction

Despite optimistic claims by some scholars,1 the spectre of war remains very much with us. And much as we may seek to sanitize it, the art of war inescapably involves killing, or at the very least the serious threat of killing. Killing, needless to say, is a morally risky activity. Pacifists contend that the death and destruction wrought by warfighters is always morally unacceptable. It is a position that should be taken very seriously, given the seriousness of killing. However, most people ultimately agree that under at least some circumstances killing human beings, while regrettable, is acceptable. We think that the jogger in the park may legitimately use lethal force against an attacker intent on killing her, so long as no other reasonable option is available. We do not judge the police SWAT team sniper to have done something wrong if she shoots the armed hostage taker when no other options seem available to save the lives of the hostages. Likewise, most of us think that there are circumstances when the use of military force is appropriate – were that not so, we would hardly allow our leaders to continue to spend very considerable portions of our nations’ taxpayer-harvested government budgets on maintaining, training and equipping a military. Despite this broad agreement that killing in the service of appropriate military objectives is morally acceptable, the details remain deeply challenging. As Marcus Schulzke rightly comments, ‘one of the consistent facts of wars is that they place people in terrible, often life-threatening, situations that are shaped by conditions beyond their control. These situations can force people to make difficult choices between undesirable alternatives’ (Schulzke 2013, 95). Ethicist Shannon French and neuroscientist Tony Jack likewise point out that ‘we persuade people to kill on our behalf by describing the actions of war, where possible, in terms that sound wholesome, moral, and inspiring; and where this is not possible we use neutral objectifying terms that cloak the emotional impact of these actions. … [An] unfortunate consequence is that this language downplays the negative effects of war on those who kill. It is a cruel bait-and-switch’ (French and Jack 2015, 176).

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It is the Just War Tradition (JWT) which provides the primary guidance in the ethics of the use of military force and which is intended to guide warfighters in making those difficult choices. As we shall see, however, the JWT admits of considerable variation. Furthermore, the complexity of contemporary and emerging conflicts has made the application of the JWT principles to real-world military decision-making all the more challenging. As a consequence I am one of a growing number of scholars and practitioners who are dedicating a great deal of thought and effort to clarifying the principles of the JWT and their application on the battlefields of today and tomorrow. This book, however, is not primarily focused on clarifying the ethics of particular acts in war or on defining the conditions under which participating in war is appropriate. Instead this book is about a deeper issue, prompted by a growing recognition of a related phenomenon:  what has increasingly come to be referred to as ‘moral injury’. As the Dutch military ethicist Peter Olsthoorn puts it, ‘in modern war, the chances of psychological harm are a lot greater than the chances of physical harm’ (Olsthoorn 2010, 47), and there is a growing recognition that we need to add moral harm to the harms that emerge from contemporary conflicts. It is in this regard that the definitional distinction I employ in this book to distinguish between morality and ethics becomes important. I follow philosopher Charles Taylor in defining ethics as ‘what it is good to do’, while morality is ‘what it is good to be’ (see Chapter 1). While there are a number of different definitions of what constitutes moral injury (I try to bring some definitional clarity to the term in Chapter 3), there is a growing acceptance that a significant number of participants in today’s wars (and perhaps in wars past too, though we didn’t recognize it then) return home carrying with them unseen wounds that are not physical in the way that traumatic brain injury is, and are not psychophysical in the way that post-traumatic stress disorder is, but are instead lacerations and dislocations of the very moral framework that defines the sufferer’s identity. These moral injuries can result from acts, omissions or even a sense of betrayal. My central claim in this book is that there is a critical gap between the moral identity of the individual who dons uniform in service of the state, on the one hand, and the ethics of war that is appropriate to the liberal democratic state, on the other. This is an unexplored aspect of what is referred to broadly as ‘civil–military relations’, which is why the title of this book echoes one of the seminal works in this area, Samuel P. Huntington’s The Soldier and the State (1957). I propose that falling into this chasm is a major cause of moral injury. To make that case I begin in Chapter 1 by exploring the moral structure of individual identity. Drawing on the work of Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, I offer a description of human experience as being inescapably one

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of ‘strong evaluations’, which Taylor describes as ‘discriminations of right or wrong, better or worse, higher or lower, which are not rendered valid by our own desires, inclinations, or choices, but rather stand independent of these and offer standards by which they can be judged’ (Taylor 1989, 4). What enables us to navigate this ‘field of questions’ are the ‘moral frameworks’ that for each of us define the parameters of our identity. I go on, further, to explore Taylor’s account of the philosophical shifts that have resulted in the dominant moral horizons of the modern Western identity. The second chapter is dedicated to describing the landscape on the other side of the chasm. There I unpack the conceptual foundations of the modern liberal state, focusing particularly on the principle of liberal neutrality, the idea that the state should seek to remain neutral on citizens’ conceptions of the good life, at least to the extent that those conceptions remain within the bounds of liberalism. I  then draw on this description of the modern liberal state to articulate what the implications are for the state’s duties and constraints when it comes to the ethics of war. I describe this as a ‘thin’ and ‘narrow’ ethical perspective, which stands in strong contrast to the rich, wide and deep moral commitments that define personal identity, and I  provide a preliminary account of how this contrast could lead to moral injury for military personnel. Chapter  3 offers an in-depth examination of moral pain and moral injury. I begin with a discussion of some of the features of the contemporary environment which have increased the risk of moral injuries among those who serve in today’s wars. I  then move on to outline a typology of moral injury, one which, I contend, reflects the nature of moral identity discussed in Chapter 1. I argue that we should see moral injury, resulting from moral trauma, as taking two forms, ‘moral dislocation’ and ‘moral degradation’. I propose my solution to the problem of ‘morality and ethics at war’ in the fourth and fifth chapters. I contend that the appropriate bridge across the chasm between personal moral frameworks and the thin and narrow ethics of the state is the identity that soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen take on when they become members of, and are indoctrinated into, the military forces of the state. In Chapter 4 I explore competing accounts of this identity, particularly those of ‘warrior’, ‘peacekeeper’ and ‘professional’. I  argue that none of them are adequate to the task, and in Chapter  5, expanding on a suggestion by philosopher and ethicist Pauline Shanks-Kaurin, I  propose instead that identifying as a ‘Guardian’ offers the strongest conceptual structure to span the divide. While the argument of the book up to that point offers what I  believe to be a helpful way to conceptualize and address the source of what I think is a significant proportion of moral injuries, there are other cases of moral

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injury that arise straightforwardly from participating in, contributing to or witnessing conduct that is indisputably unethical. Where atrocities and other blatantly unacceptable forms of conduct occur, the tendency is to identify the main problem as the character of the perpetrator(s) – she was ‘weak willed’, or he was a ‘rotten apple’ – and the usual solution is to intensify efforts to ‘build character’ among military personnel as a prophylactic against future ethical failure. In Chapter 6 I draw on research in social and experimental psychology to show that there are environmental factors which significantly heighten the risk of ethical failure by individuals, even those who would generally be considered to be of good character. After outlining the factors that have the greatest potential to increase ethical risk, I go on to discuss a number of techniques military leaders can employ to mitigate this risk. The final chapter of the book is dedicated to exploring, in the light of all that has gone before, what it means to prepare and lead the Guardian. I begin by proposing four principles for education and training. First, I contend that, contrary to current practice which primarily focuses ethic education and training on the officer corps, Guardian ethics education and training must instead be applied rigorously at all levels of the force. I then argue, drawing on the discussion in Chapter 6, that ethics education alone is not enough. Instead, ethics must also be trained and should be integrated throughout the training cycle. The third principle emphasizes the need for what I  call ‘embedded excellence’ in ethics though the force, rather than a sole reliance on external experts. Finally I argue for the value of mentoring as a means to transmit sound moral understanding and ethical practice through generations of the force. The second part of Chapter  7 articulates a methodology for military ethical decision-making that I call ‘Ethical Triangulation’. By contextualizing the methodology in light of the dominant moral horizons of the Western identity discussed in Chapter  1, I  contend that this methodology is not only a practical way of addressing testing ethical issues, but that it is also a methodology that provides a public language for ethics that is appropriate for uniformed servants of a liberal state. The chapter concludes with some incomplete, but I hope useful, guidance to military leaders on what it takes to lead the Guardian. This provides the platform for the conclusion of the book, which draws on the influential article by US Marine Corps General Charles C.  Krulak entitled ‘The Strategic Corporal:  Leadership in the Three Block War’ (Krulak 1999) to reflect on ethics and morality in what we might think of as the ‘four block war’ of the contemporary era. That, then, is the roadmap for the journey that lies ahead. Before setting off, however, some pre-journey preparation is in order. While, as I  have explained, this book is not focused on articulating and applying the ethical

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principles of the JWT, we cannot do justice to the discussion that is to follow unless we have a grasp of what those principles are. To that end, before moving on to Chapter 1, I offer my own brief account of the Just War principles and how they interact with one another.

Principles for Just War The ethics of war is the subject of the Just War Tradition, arguably the most developed tradition of ethical thought for any particular social activity.2 Often inaccurately referred to as Just War Theory  – I  have been guilty of perpetrating that misdescription myself  – the Just War Tradition is not a theory per se but is rather a tradition stretching back to ancient times within which there has been, and continues to be, significant variation. Nonetheless, there is sufficient agreement on key principles and ideas within the JWT to warrant treating it as a single intellectual tradition, and an extremely rich one at that. As it has now come to be commonly understood, the JWT is composed of two traditional parts, with a third category also gaining significant credibility. In this understanding the first traditional part of the JWT is the jus ad bellum (Latin for ‘right to war’), which delineates the conditions under which it is appropriate for a party (usually a state) to opt for the tools of war as the means by which to seek the desired outcome. Once a war is under way, the second traditional category of the JWT comes into play, the jus in bello (‘right in war’). The jus in bello, in other words, sets out the constraints on the use of force and responsibilities that apply to combatants engaged in battle. The newcomer is the jus post bellum (you guessed it:  ‘right after war’), which articulates the responsibilities that rest on parties to a conflict to ensure that a minimally just state of affairs is secured in the aftermath of the war. In what follows, I give a brief account of the principles that are generally accepted as making up the jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum, before going on to articulate a somewhat more nuanced description of the JWT than the ‘three-step’ version that is often taken as a given.

Jus ad bellum The oldest part of the JWT is made up of the principles that address the conditions under which it is considered appropriate for a state to engage in a war, the jus ad bellum. Depending on how they are articulated, there are six key requirements that make up the jus ad bellum. While states are expected to meet all six requirements in order for their participation in any particular

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war to be considered just, there is a sense that the principle of Just Cause is the first among equals. The range of reasons that have been considered to be legitimate reasons for going to war has varied over the centuries, but it can be generally summarized as falling into either the category of self-defence or that of the righting of wrongs. Today, self-defence is the only (relatively3) uncontroversial Just Cause (though arguably modified by the constraints defined in the United Nations’ Charter), with defences of humanitarian interventions being more controversially justified in some cases as defence of others and in other cases as the righting of wrongs (Morkevicius 2018, 221–2). Closely related to Just Cause is the requirement of Right Intention. It is not enough that a cause be just; those engaging in the war must intend to remedy the situation that has given rise to the just cause. Parties to a war may not use a legitimate just cause as a smokescreen under which to achieve ends unrelated to that cause. This requirement is sometimes expressed in terms of motives rather than intentions. However, as James Pattison has argued, appropriate motives are both difficult to define and epistemically difficult to establish (2010, 156–61). Intentions, on the other hand, can be evaluated by assessing the rhetoric, decisions and previous behaviour of the party in question (pp. 161–8) and are thus a more practicable measure for evaluating the appropriateness of that party’s engagement in any particular war. To be considered just, wars may also only be entered into by proper authorities, in most cases the heads of sovereign states. Traditionally, then, the Proper Authority requirement of the jus ad bellum is a legal one, defined by the constitutional arrangements of the state in question. More recently, however, some scholars have argued for a moral, rather than legal, basis for Proper Authority. In this line of thinking, what gives the leadership of any particular group the authority to engage in war is that they in some nontrivial sense represent the interests of a significant population. Following this approach extends the range of potential proper authorities to include non-state actors such as armed resistance movements but also reduces the set of states which can fulfil the Proper Authority requirement, as oppressive totalitarian regimes are excluded.4 A radical and controversial extension of the Proper Authority requirement is put forward in Cécile Fabre’s Cosmopolitan War, in which she contends that even individuals can have the authority to wage war (Fabre 2012, 112–18). The requirement of Proper Authority also traditionally incorporates the requirement of Public Declaration, which requires parties deciding to go to war to openly declare the decision before the onset of hostilities (in some accounts of the JWT, Public Declaration is a separate principle of the jus ad bellum). This requirement has declined in its significance in recent times, as the greater pace of war and the need for

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strategic surprise has made open declaration more problematic, though it remains desirable wherever feasible. If the first three principles of the jus ad bellum can be considered to be broadly deontological (or principle-based) in nature, the remaining principles are instead broadly consequentialist. The first of these is Proportionality, the requirement that the foreseeable harms caused by the decision to resort to war should not be out of proportion to the end of satisfying the Just Cause requirement  – the consequences should not outweigh the cause. Next is the requirement of Last Resort, the idea that war  – given its inherent destructiveness  – should not be entered into if alternative means are available to satisfactorily resolve the situation. This requirement is sometimes understood quite literally as meaning that war should only be resorted to when all other possible approaches have been attempted and proven unsuccessful. This, however, is unduly demanding – how, exactly, are we to know that all possible alternatives to war have really been exhausted? It can also, like the Public Declaration requirement, lead to the loss of strategic surprise where that is sometimes an important factor in resolving the situation through force with as little death and destruction as possible, or even in ensuring the likelihood of success of the use of military force. A better interpretation, then, is to see this as the requirement of ‘last reasonable resort’ rather than ‘final resort’. The final principle of the jus ad bellum is that of Reasonable Probability of Success (or sometimes Likelihood of Success). Here the idea is that, even if all the other requirements of the jus ad bellum are met, if the likelihood of satisfying the Just Cause through the use of military force is low then it would be unjustifiable to resort to war, with all the death and destruction that is involved. There is of course a sense in which this requirement collapses into the Proportionality requirement – if a war is unsuccessful in satisfying the Just Cause then it is hard to imagine how resorting to force could be considered proportional  – but there is good practical reason for retaining this as a distinct consideration. Objections to the requirement of Reasonable Probability of Success include the claim that that as war is by nature a deeply uncertain activity, assessments of the likelihood of succeeding in a military campaign are at best highly subjective. Furthermore, there are those who object to the principle on the grounds of fairness  – that it unduly favours strong states over weaker states (and non-state groups).5

Jus in bello While the jus ad bellum is about the conditions under which a state or other appropriate group is justified in making the decision to go to war, the jus in

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bello is focused on conduct once that decision has been made. Importantly, on the traditional view the jus in bello has been seen as being independent of the jus ad bellum. That is to say, combatants who engage in war on behalf of their state or group are not held responsible for whether or not they are fighting in a war that meets the conditions of the jus ad bellum. They are responsible only for ensuring that they fight in accordance with the jus in bello. Combatants on both sides are therefore considered to be engaged on equal moral terms, and may legitimately target and kill one another if they do so within the bounds of the constraints imposed by the principles of the jus in bello. This idea is known as the ‘moral equality of combatants’ and is a key principle underlying International Humanitarian Law6 as well as traditional interpretations of the JWT. There are three central principles of the jus in bello, as well as three additional guiding concepts. The first principle of the jus in bello is the principle of Discrimination or Distinction (ethicists tend to use the term ‘Discrimination’, while the legal equivalent is ‘Distinction’). This is the requirement that combatants must deliberately target only other combatants and military-use equipment and infrastructure. Most centrally this means that combatants may target most uniformed military personnel and their associated vehicles, equipment, bases and the like. While the camouflaged uniforms which are commonplace today are most naturally considered a means to protect their wearers (by making them less visible and therefore more difficult to target), the central purpose of military uniforms in general (camouflaged or otherwise) is the opposite: to identify the wearer for targeting. The point of this is not centrally about killing combatants, however; it is instead a means of protecting those who are not legitimate targets – broadly speaking, civilians. There are, however, some cases where the principle of Distinction protects uniformed personnel from being targeted  – in particular, medical personnel and chaplains may not be targeted. This reflects the line that is drawn between targets who are, in Michael Walzer’s celebrated phrase, ‘engaged in the business of war’ (2000, 43)  and those who are not:  medical personnel and chaplains are generally considered to be tending to uniformed personnel qua human beings, not qua combatants, and are therefore not legitimate targets. That same broad distinction is applied to targeting installations and infrastructure. So, for example, a munitions factory is considered to be a legitimate target because what it produces is centrally about the business of war, whereas a factory that produces food that goes to the military is not (in today’s understanding of discrimination, at least7) considered to be a legitimate target, as what it produces is centrally about meeting the needs of recipients qua human beings.

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With the relative decline of wars between states and the parallel growth in wars between states and non-state actors, the principle of Discrimination has become significantly more difficult to apply. Clearly there are many circumstances where guerrilla and insurgent forces, with their relative disadvantage in conventional military capability, would place themselves at a very great disadvantage were they to don uniforms, in many cases effectively undermining their ‘right to fight’. Consequently, International Humanitarian Law allows guerrilla and insurgent forces to fight without uniforms. As Michael Gross points out, quoting Article 44[3] of Additional Protocol I [1977] to the Geneva Conventions, The right of a guerrilla army to fight without uniforms evolved from the same right granted to partisans by the 1949 Geneva conventions. By 1977, partisans were long gone and guerrillas fighting for national liberation earned the right to discard their uniforms in those situations ‘where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself …’. The last sentence is telling: the right, or permission, to shed uniforms is not sweeping; it is only justified when necessary and effective. The framers of Protocol I had colonial occupation in mind where the requirement to wear uniforms would make it nearly impossible for guerrillas to organize, train, collect intelligence, or mount an attack. … The right to shed uniforms stems directly from a guerrilla army’s right to a fighting chance that prohibits laws that would preclude any chance of success in pursuit of a just cause. However, a fighting chance does not demand a level playing field. Uniforms must pose a significant handicap before guerrillas may shed them. (Gross 2015, 61)

The fact that, in practice, many non-state actors have dispensed with any thought of wearing uniforms makes applying the principle of Discrimination particularly difficult for state forces. In some situations the fact that an individual is carrying a weapon could be considered to be a replacement symbol that she or he is a combatant, but in many parts of the world (such as Afghanistan) it is commonplace for ordinary civilians – non-combatants – to be armed. Furthermore, one can be ‘engaged in the business of war’ without directly employing a weapon. Without the visual cue of a uniform, how can we tell whether the person talking into his mobile phone is a spotter for incoming insurgent mortar fire or simply a bystander providing a running commentary of the battle to his favourite cousin? And where do we draw the line on who may be targeted? Is the insurgent recruiter who never engages directly in combat a legitimate target for a drone strike? What about the wealthy business owner who channels funds to the insurgents?

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A guiding concept for the principle of Discrimination is captured by the French phrase hors de combat, which is literally translated as ‘outside the fight’. This concept is applied to those who would normally be legitimate targets, but who are now not, due to their circumstances. The most central case of being hors de combat is when a combatant is incapacitated by wounds to the extent that they can no longer fight – in such a situation they are no longer able to be engaged in the business of war, and therefore should not be targeted. Other examples are shipwrecked sailors or airmen parachuting from downed aircraft – having lost their means of engaging in the fight they are no longer legitimate targets (of course, should one of them pick up a weapon they become once again a combatant). Prisoners of War are, likewise, hors de combat and must be treated with the basic level of dignity that is due to them qua human beings. The second key principle of the jus in bello is that of Proportionality. Where Proportionality at the level of jus ad bellum is about weighing the likely overall costs of war against satisfying the Just Cause, in the jus in bello Proportionality is about weighing the likely death and destruction of using military force to achieve any particular military objective against the military value of that objective. A common confusion about the jus in bello principle of Proportionality is that it demands that the type and degree of force being used should match that being used by the opponent (e.g. if the enemy is limited to small arms, this understanding has it that proportionality requires us to only use small arms ourselves, and forego artillery, air strikes and so on). This is incorrect  – the jus in bello principle of Proportionality does not prevent overmatch of opposing forces. There may, in fact, be circumstances where overmatch may be helpful in abiding by the principle of Proportionality, for example where it breaks the enemy’s will or capability to fight in a short period of time, thereby avoiding a drawn-out and potentially more destructive and deadly engagement. Assessing Proportionality is, of course, a difficult and to some extent inescapably subjective task, and differing military cultures also play a role. Nonetheless, we can usually agree on clear cases where force has been used disproportionately.8 While the type of force, or means, employed is not the focus of the Proportionality principle (which is essentially about outcomes or consequences), that is the focus of the guiding concept of mala in se (literally ‘evil in itself ’). The need for this concept arises from the recognition that there are some means by which to engage in war that are simply beyond the pale – they are wrong in themselves, regardless of the consequences. At the time of writing this, there is a debate underway in the international community over whether or not to ban ‘killer robots’ (lethal autonomous weapons systems). While most of the arguments in favour of the ban are consequence focused,

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one claim is that it is simply wrong to allow a robot to make the decision to kill a human being, as this represents a fundamental violation of human dignity. In other words, the claim here is that killer robots are mala in se.9 The third principle of the jus in bello is the principle of Necessity. This parallels the principle of Last Resort in the jus ad bellum – both require that deadly force only be resorted to if there are no less deadly and destructive options available that could reasonably be pursued. Necessity is often bracketed together with Proportionality, and there is some sense in which it could be argued that Necessity collapses into Proportionality  – if it is not necessary to use force in some situation, then it would arguably be by definition disproportionate to do so – but the standard approach is to treat these two principles as distinct tests for the appropriate use of force in war. As we have seen, the principle of Discrimination requires that noncombatants not be targeted in war because they are, in the relevant sense, ‘innocent’ – that is, they are not engaged in the business of war and therefore not liable to be killed. The sad reality, however, is that war is a messy business and civilians and other non-combatants are invariably among the bulk of the casualties of war and are what we now call ‘collateral damage’. Here military ethicists have traditionally reached for a guiding concept known as ‘the doctrine of double effect’ (DDE).10 The origins of the doctrine stretch back to Thomas Aquinas, one of the founding figures of the JWT. It is not, however, a doctrine that is restricted in its use to the military context. It is instead a general doctrine that is employed wherever it is necessary to ascertain whether a serious harm is a permissible side effect of some course of action. The DDE has both deontological and consequentialist elements and consists of the following four-step test: 1. The act itself (i.e. the act that will result in the harm in question) is either a good or morally neutral act. 2. The act is intended to achieve the good effect that will result, not the bad effect. The test here is a counterfactual – would the act go ahead if the bad effect were not going to occur? 3. The good effect must not be caused by the bad effect. 4. The harm caused by the act must not be out of proportion to the good that will be achieved. While the DDE is widely considered to be an important means of distinguishing between permissible collateral damage and the unjustified killing of non-combatants, many analysts are sceptical about the doctrine.11 For some, the concern is that it places too much emphasis on intentions. While it is obviously a good thing that non-combatants are not intentionally

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targeted, it matters little to those who are killed, or to their loved ones, that their deaths were ‘foreseen but not intended’ rather than directly intended. Others are concerned that too much rests on how the act is described – often there are at least two equally plausible descriptions of exactly the same act, one of which meets the test of the DDE while the other does not. I explore this controversial doctrine in Chapter 5. Despite the controversial nature of this guiding concept, however, barring falling into some form of contingent pacifism, it remains the only widely accepted means of distinguishing appropriate from inappropriate military actions in which non-combatants are likely to be killed.

Jus post bellum Though some guidance on the ethics of ensuring a just state of affairs in the aftermath of a war can be found stretching back through the history of the JWT, it is really only in recent times that scholars such as Brian Orend and Gary J. Bass have brought this issue into the mainstream of thought about the ethics of war.12 As Bass explains, in general, ‘just war theorists focus on the outbreak of war as a crucial moment: when state-controlled mass killing becomes morally acceptable, up to a point. But the moment at which the war ends is equally a crucial one. The return to peacetime must carry with it moral duties’ (2004, 412). Unlike the principles of jus ad bellum and jus in bello, there is as yet no clearly established and widely accepted set of principles for jus post bellum. Brian Orend’s approach is, at the time of writing, arguably the most influential. Drawing on Immanuel Kant’s largely overlooked writings about the ethics of war, Orend argues that jus post bellum has two aspects: 1. that which considers those particular principles that ought to guide the conclusion of a particular war and its immediate aftermath, and 2. that which considers those general principles that ought to guide global institutional reform with regard to reducing the incidence and destructiveness of war itself, of war as such, over the longer term. (Orend 2000, 118) The second of these issues is too broad to be addressed here, and Orend himself focuses on the former. He argues that the principles of jus post bellum, in this sense, closely follow those of jus ad bellum, as follows: Just cause for termination. A  state has just cause to seek termination of the just war in question if there has been a reasonable vindication

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of those rights whose violation grounded the resort to war in the first place. Not only have most, if not all, unjust gains from aggression been eliminated and the objects of Victim’s rights been reasonably restored, but Aggressor is now willing to accept terms of surrender that include not only the cessation of hostilities and its renouncing the gains of its aggression but also its submission to reasonable principles of punishment, including compensation, jus ad bellum and jus in bello war crimes trials, and perhaps rehabilitation. Right intention. A state must intend to carry out the process of war termination only in terms of those principles contained in the other jus post bellum rules. Revenge is strictly ruled out as an animating force. Furthermore, the just state in question must commit itself to symmetry and equal application with regard to the investigation and prosecution of any jus in bello war crimes. Public declaration and legitimate authority. The terms of the peace must be publicly proclaimed by a legitimate authority. Discrimination. In setting the terms of the peace, the just and victorious state is to differentiate between the political and military leaders, the soldiers, and the civilian population within Aggressor. Undue and unfair hardship is not to be brought upon the civilian population in particular: punitive measures are to be focused upon those elites most responsible for the aggression. Proportionality. Any terms of peace, … must be proportional to the end of reasonable rights vindication. Absolutist crusades against, and/or draconian punishments for, aggression are especially to be avoided. The people of the defeated Aggressor never forfeit their human rights, and so are entitled not to be “blotted out” from the community of nations. (Orend 2000, 128–9)

The growing acceptance in recent times of the jus post bellum as a part of the JWT has added a third ‘step’ to what might be crudely viewed as the traditional two-step dance that states must perform in order to engage in wars justly. In this ‘three-step’ way of thinking states must first, prior to engaging in armed hostilities, determine whether they are justified in doing so, by working through the principles of the jus ad bellum. Should they be unable to fulfil any of the conditions laid down by those principles, then going to war is not justified and they ought to refrain from doing so. If, however, the jus ad bellum conditions are met, then states may close their jus ad bellum files and move on to the second step  – conducting military operations against the enemy within the bounds of the constraints defined by the jus in bello, with the goal of achieving victory. Once the war has been won

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or lost, the state in question then moves on to the next step, carrying out their responsibilities defined by the principles of the jus post bellum. This ‘threestep’ description of the application of the JWT does not, to my knowledge, do justice to how any actual scholar conceives of the tradition, but it does nonetheless describe how the tradition is often perceived. In what follows, I outline what I believe to be a better way of understanding the application of the Just War framework, what I call the ‘Just War Continuum’.

The Just War Continuum The ethical firewall that traditionally separates the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello is designed to prevent the transfer of responsibility for the jus ad bellum to the warfighters who carry out the war, thereby limiting their moral responsibilities to those defined by the jus in bello framework. This separation has come under pressure in recent times from contributors to what has become known as the ‘revisionist’ movement within contemporary Just War thinking. As Valerie Morkevicius explains, ‘the revisionists or reductionists … approach just war thinking from a radically different perspective. Although they use the language of just war, revisionists have radically reimagined the logics of just war thinking by reasoning from the individual up’ (2018, 22). The centrality of the individual in this approach to Just War thinking has led many revisionists, most notably Jeff McMahan (2009), to argue that combatants on the just side of a conflict are not liable to attack by those on the unjust side, which dissolves the traditional view of the moral equality of combatants, and with it the divide between the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello. I will address the revisionist movement in Chapter 2 of this book. For the moment it is enough to note that I reject this approach and think that there are strong reasons to retain the idea of the moral equality of combatants. That said, the sharp divide between the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello, designed to protect the moral status of combatants, has tended to obscure the ways in which these parts of the Just War framework are deeply interconnected. Recent work on the ethics of humanitarian intervention and counterinsurgency has highlighted this, as has the growing understanding of the responsibilities of the jus post bellum and the important proposal by Darrell Moellendorf that an implicit but hitherto unacknowledged part of the Just War framework is the jus ex bello (just exit from war). The broad effect of all this is that it has become clearer that the understanding of the Just War framework as a two-step, or more recently three-step, methodology is deeply erroneous. Instead, we should see the parts of the Just War framework as being inextricably intertwined. Thus, while there is still a beginning (jus

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ad bellum) and an end (jus post bellum) to the application of the Just War framework, it is more accurate to see it as progressing along a continuum rather than being a set of clearly distinct steps. In this continuum, while the question of jus ad bellum still begins the evaluation, we no longer shut a door on those principles once we are satisfied they have been met. Instead, they continue to be a focus of evaluation throughout the conflict in the slightly modified form that constitutes jus ex bello, which defines the conditions under which it is (or is not) justifiable to continue fighting a war (Moellendorf 2008). The issue of the ethics of when to withdraw from war was almost entirely overlooked until Moellendorf published his seminal paper on the topic in 2008. Moellendorf recognized the important point that war is fluid by nature, and the circumstances that make it just to commence a war can quickly change, such that it would be unjust to continue to prosecute that war even if victory has yet to be achieved. Likewise, a war might have been unjust at its start, but changing circumstances could make it ethically permissible (or, on a stronger interpretation, ethically mandatory) for one or more parties to the conflict to continue to fight. The term jus ex bello is, thus, slightly misleading (though we have no better term), as it addresses not only the question of when it is appropriate to cease combat operations but also when it is necessary to continue. Moellendorf argues that the principles for assessing the jus ex bello question of whether a war should continue to be prosecuted are essentially the same as the requirements for jus ad bellum:  Just Cause, Likelihood of Success, Proportionality, and Last Resort (2008, 124). (Moellendorf sets aside the principle of Right Intention out of a desire to avoid his argument being distracted by any controversy over the principle, but it seems likely that he would have no objection to including this principle as well if the person making the assessment were convinced of its appropriateness.) The only jus ad bellum principle that requires modification is that of Last Resort – because jus ex bello only applies once a war is already underway, the question of whether the war is a matter of last resort is not a good fit. Instead, Moellendorf proposes an alternative that captures the basic moral notion inherent in the principle of Last Resort in a way that fits the context of a war in progress. As he writes, The evil of war is the reason why alternative remedies should be pursued. This is the basis for the jus ad bellum requirement of last resort. The same considerations provide the basis of a jus ex bello analogue to last resort:  The war may be continued only if an alternative diplomatic remedy is unavailable. This requires not merely watching for such

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Morality and Ethics at War remedies but taking initiative to create them when the circumstances seem right. I call this the principle of the pursuit of diplomatic remedies. (Moellendorf 2008, 134)

If a party to a war fails to satisfy the jus ex bello requirement of Just Cause, then the ethical requirement is simple – that party must cease fighting immediately. At this point the demands of ethics shift to the manner of withdrawing from the war. This must be done in accordance with the principles of ‘the minimization of casualties, of damage to vital infrastructure, and of damage to institutions required to uphold law and order’ (Moellendorf 2008, 134). If, however, a party to a war does satisfy the Just Cause requirement, but fails to satisfy one or more of the other principles of jus ex bello, then Moellendorf argues that this is a special case, one governed by an additional principle, namely that it must mitigate the injustices that are the basis of the just cause claim. … The path of peace in an unjust war might itself be unjust. If there is a moral requirement to mitigate injustice, which is not served by a particular policy pursued, but could have been by an alternative policy, then although the war should be ended, its termination fails to satisfy a requirement of jus ex bello. (Moellendorf 2008, 134–5)

So, then, the principles of the jus ad bellum continue to play a role, through the jus ex bello, even when warfighting has commenced. And there are other ways in which the jus ad bellum principles exert an influence within the space that is usually considered to be purely the domain of the jus in bello. For example, where a state is justified in intervening in a situation of mass atrocity in order to protect civilian lives, this gives rise to a significantly more restrictive application of the jus in bello principle of Proportionality – it makes little sense to intervene in order to save civilian lives but then to accept a high threshold for collateral damage in doing so. Likewise, the use of force against opposing forces is modified by the Just Cause in humanitarian interventions. As James Pattison contends, Few humanitarian interventions, if any, involve outright war. … This difference in type of operation necessitates more restrictive principles of external jus in bello. … Unlike in regular warfare, attempting to destroy enemy forces using significant force is not appropriate. The intervener’s conduct should instead be driven, like the domestic police, by the objectives of the protection of civilians and the maintenance of the peace. (Pattison 2010, 105–6)13

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As we have seen, the principles of the jus post bellum are also, like those of the jus ex bello, closely connected to the jus ad bellum. Furthermore, the requirement to also ensure a just peace in the aftermath of a war has an influence on the application of the jus in bello principles. Rebecca Johnson (2008), for example, argues that in a counterinsurgency the requirements of the jus post bellum mean that counterinsurgents must accept a very restrictive application of the principle of discrimination, one which applies an initial presumption of non-combatant status to all prospective targets until clearly proven otherwise. Johnson also applies the jus post bellum framework to considerations of proportionality and necessity. As she argues, jus post bellum resonates more closely with the interwoven LLOs [logical lines of operation] found in counterinsurgency and provides a robust justification both for the obligation of the military to honor the norm of discrimination and noncombatant immunity even when it becomes functionally difficult, and the obligation of civilian agents to step into their responsibilities in political and economic rehabilitation as soon as the security situation is sufficiently stabilized. (Johnson 2010, 228)

One final example of the interconnectedness of the principles of the Just War framework (though there are no doubt many more): in Just and Unjust Wars, one of the towering texts of the JWT, Michael Walzer proposes what has become known as the ‘supreme emergency’ exception to the application of the principles of the jus in bello in war. He contends that political communities can be justified in deliberately targeting civilians on the opposing side of a conflict when their ‘deepest values and … collective survival are in imminent danger’ (Walzer 2000, 33). The supreme emergency exception is very controversial, and I do not intend to enter into that discussion here. For our purposes here, the key thing to note is that if there is such an exception it applies (in Walzer’s account) only to parties to war that have Just Cause. In other words, in this account, a principle of the jus ad bellum influences whether or not the principles of the jus in bello apply.

Conclusion The above sketch is, I  hope, sufficient to give the reader a broad understanding of the ethics of war. While there are complexities involved, the central principles and guiding concepts of the JWT are clear enough, and most combatants in contemporary Western military forces generally abide by them. Despite this, some analysts have expressed grave concerns

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over the moral state of these forces. Timothy L.  Challans, formerly an associate professor at the US Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies, has gone as far as to say that ‘the military has navigated poorly through the moral jungle – it has lost its ability to use its moral compass’ (Challans 2007, 175). The reality is that ethical failures continue to litter the history of contemporary military operations – the Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia; Dutch peacekeepers in Srebrenica; US Army soldiers, contractors and CIA personnel at Abu Ghraib; US Marines in Haditha; British Royal Marines in Helmand; Australian Special Forces in Uruzgan … and so the list goes on. Beyond the direct harm to victims of such events, such failures do enormous strategic damage by undermining the legitimacy of the forces engaged in the conflicts in question and can corrode the institutions to which the culprits belong. As US military officers Nathan K.  Finney and Tyrell O. Mayfield put it, ‘When ethics prevail in the face of moral challenges, we see individual professionals held up as the standard. When military members are found ethically wanting, the professionalism of entire institutions, and the systems that sustain them, are questioned’ (Finney and Mayfield 2018, xviii– xix). Finney and Mayfield go on to opine that ‘professional militaries owe it to their practitioners, their governments, and the citizens they serve to shape their force for the next war’ (p. xx). That is true in all respects, including – perhaps particularly – in the domains of morality and ethics. This book is intended as a contribution to that shaping. In the next chapter I take the first step, by examining by exploring the moral structure of individual identity.

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Moral frameworks and identity

Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are, first and foremost, human beings. Even the prospect of ‘robot combatants’ (artificially intelligent autonomous weapons) coming soon to a battlefield near you is unlikely to ever render the humanity of military personnel irrelevant. And, while it is not common to talk about it, the sense of self of individual combatants is fundamental to the conduct of war. As ethicist Shannon French and neuroscientist Tony Jack write, ‘When we consider why troops have often been unwilling or unable to shoot at the enemy, it is worth considering that they are indeed engaged in a form of self-defense: their unconscious motivation is not so much to protect the integrity of their bodies but rather the integrity of their sense of self ’ (French and Jack 2015, 178). My central claim in this book is that there is a critical gap between the moral identity of the individual who dons uniform in service of the state, on the one hand, and the ethics of war at the level of the state, on the other. To show that requires, as a first step, an exploration of the nature of personal moral identity – we must roll up our pant legs and wade into the daunting depths of philosophy. Arguably the richest account of personal moral identity is that which has been put forward by the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, among the most influential philosophical thinkers of contemporary times. In what follows, I  attempt to pull together the central features of Taylor’s account – as we shall see, they are the foundation on which the argument of this book rests.1 That said, however, it must be admitted that it is sometimes difficult to fix an exact definition of Taylor’s concepts. In this regard we must keep in mind C. Stephen Evans’s level-headed comment regarding his interpretation of the even more difficult to pin down work of Søren Kierkegaard, that ‘regardless of who is right on the question of interpretation, the more interesting question is whether or not a sound position can be salvaged (or reconstructed) from [the articulated] position’ (Evans 1988, 30). While I  have done my best to keep the discussion in this chapter as accessible as possible, some readers with less of a philosophical bent might find it a testing read. In that case, I encourage you to skip to the chapter’s

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conclusion, which summarizes the main points, and go on from there. I hope then, once you’ve gone through to the end of the book, you will come back to this chapter with an understanding of why its content is important, and with the determination to unpick the more challenging details.

First principles In his book Charles Taylor:  Meaning, Morals and Modernity, Nicholas H.  Smith is perceptive in pointing out that the wide range of Taylor’s philosophy, for all its diversity, is nonetheless a unified philosophical project. At the heart of that project, Smith points out, is an insight Taylor gleaned from the work of Continental philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (a critical early influence on Taylor), namely that ‘because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning’ (Smith 2002, p. I; emphasis in original). ‘At the core of Taylor’s project is the conviction that human reality is structured, and in some sense constituted, by layers of meaning. This is the first principle of his philosophical anthropology’ (p. 18). As noted, Taylor’s conviction regarding this central belief is derived at least in part from Merleau-Ponty, who applied what he called ‘the phenomenological method’, a method aimed at producing ‘an undistorted description of experience’ (Smith 2002, 26). The first principle of the method is the ‘phenomenological reduction’,2 the principle that ‘if we are to be genuinely open to the content of original experience, if we are to arrive at an undistorted or “pure” description of it, we have to be prepared to “bracket” or “suspend” the natural assumptions of ordinary reflection’ (p.  26). The phenomenological reduction enables us to discover a crucial principle of the nature of consciousness, the intentionality thesis. This, in broad terms, is the idea that consciousness is always consciousness ‘of ’ something; it is inescapably directed. More than that, according to Taylor, phenomenologists claim that whatever has consciousness has ‘significance’: phenomenal objects take their place in a phenomenal field, to which they refer. ‘So, for instance, we perceive objects or events as “hiding” others or “bringing them into view”, as being “in front of ” or “behind” other things, as “the beginning of ” or “end of ” some object or event. Such percepts refer to or “announce” other things that are not actual or present’ (p. 27). Another crucial factor of ‘the significance feature’ is that experience always relates to the purpose of the perceiver. ‘A phenomenal object will appear, for example, as “a means to” or “in the way of ” an end desired by the perceiving subject. In this sense, perception is closely tied to the way in which perceivers are “at grips” with

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their environment. Perception is thus intimately connected to behaviour’ (p. 27). The activity of knowing, for Taylor, cannot be separated from our coping with the world, a coping which depends on an overall sense of ourselves and our world; which sense includes and is carried by a spectrum of rather different abilities:  at one end, beliefs which we hold, which may or may not be ‘in our minds’ at the moment; at the other, abilities to get around and deal intelligently with things. Intellectualism has made us see these as very different sites; but philosophy in our day has shown how closely akin they are, and how interlinked. (Taylor 2000, 117)

One of the central aspects of our sense of ourselves, in Taylor’s account, is our sense of ourselves as intrinsically moral beings. It is this aspect that is central for our purposes here, and to which I therefore now turn.

Strong evaluations Terry Pinkard points out that for Taylor agency is a normative matter, and to view it that way ‘is to grasp it in terms of its self-relation, a way of assuming a stance towards ourselves, a kind of self-conscious distance from ourselves, which realizes that even in our most straightforward and mindless dealings with things, we are never simply dealing with them in a way that bypasses our interpreting our encounter with them’ (Pinkard 2004, 192). For Taylor the sense of ourselves in relation with our world is at its base defined by what he calls ‘strong evaluations’. These are assessments of ourselves and others that are phenomenologically basic in the sense that they are ‘almost like instincts, comparable to our love of sweets, or our aversion to nauseous substances, or our fear of falling’ (Taylor 1989, 5). It is this almost visceral aspect of strong evaluations that gives them their phenomenological primacy, but it is a second part of their description that accounts for their importance. In this second respect, strong evaluations ‘seem to involve claims, implicit or explicit, about the nature and status of human beings. From this second side, a moral reaction is an assent to, an affirmation of, a given ontology of the human’ (p. 5). From this angle, strong evaluations are discriminations of right or wrong, better or worse, higher or lower, which are not rendered valid by our own desires, inclinations, or

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Morality and Ethics at War choices, but rather stand independent of these and offer standards by which they can be judged. So while it may not be judged a moral lapse that I am living a life that is not really worthwhile or fulfilling, to describe me in these terms is nevertheless to condemn me in the name of a standard, independent of my own tastes and desires, which I ought to acknowledge. (Taylor 1989, 4)

We can, according to Taylor, recognize judgements of strong evaluation if, generally speaking, they invoke in us feelings of admiration or contempt. These moral intuitions are ‘uncommonly deep, powerful, and universal’ (Taylor 1989, 4). It is important here to be clear on just what Taylor understands by the term ‘moral’. When Taylor speaks of morality, he paints with a broader brush than is today’s convention. He is not concerned merely with what Pincoffs calls ‘quandary ethics’, which is the idea that the business of ethics is with ‘problems’, that is, situations in which it is difficult to know what one should do; that the ultimate beneficiary of ethical analysis is the person who, in one of these situations, seeks rational ground for the decision he must make, often conceived of as moral rules and the principles from which they can be derived. (Pincoffs 1983, 92–3; italics added)

Taylor is convinced that this approach is a dangerous narrowing of the area of morality. For Taylor morality involves not merely what it is good to do, but also what it is good to be. It is here that Taylor’s debt to virtue-based accounts of morality is paramount. Morality is concerned with ‘what underlies our own dignity, or questions about what makes our lives meaningful or fulfilling’ (Taylor 1989, 4)  in addition to the normal range of questions on justice, mutual respect and so on. Thus, to be moral by Taylor’s definition is not merely to do what is right, but rather to live the good or meaningful life. Taylor contends that because we live in a world that places endless demands upon us, unless we are able to order our response to those demands in some non-arbitrary way, our lives simply cannot ‘make sense’. Certain issues must weigh more heavily than others for us, or else we are, in Taylor’s opinion, doomed to lives of incoherence. While strong evaluations enable us to identify what matters to us, they often conflict and on their own give no direction as to how to order our responses to the world. It is here that Taylor’s notion of moral frameworks comes into play.

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Moral frameworks Taylor believes that our identity  – that which makes us who we are in a unique way  – is dependent on our conception of ‘the good’, and it is this that defines the horizons in which we exist. Put another way, Taylor’s understanding of our sense of the self is as an orientation in moral space – indeed, the space metaphor is one of which Taylor is particularly fond and which he sees as having quite deep significance. Thus, when we feel moral outrage at a particular act of cruelty (for example) we are acting out of an orientation to a moral source, which, with other such sources, makes up a moral framework. For Taylor it is an inescapable part of our experience of being persons that we exist within a ‘space’ of moral questions, our answers to which are defined for each of us by a moral framework. As Taylor puts it, ‘a framework incorporates a crucial set of qualitative distinctions. To think, feel, judge within such a framework is to function with the sense that some action, or mode of life, or mode of feeling, is incomparably higher than the others which are more readily available to us’ (1989, 140). In coming to an understanding of Taylor’s idea of moral frameworks, it is instructive to compare what he says about moral frameworks to what Merleau-Ponty (at least in Taylor’s reading) says about embodied agency. For Merleau-Ponty it is essential to personhood that we are embodied agents whose experience is defined by an ‘orientational structure’, while for Taylor it is essential to personhood that we are moral beings within a ‘moral framework’. In Merleau-Ponty’s vision, Our perceptual field has an orientational structure, a foreground and a background, an up and down. And it must have; that is, it can’t lose this structure without ceasing to be a perceptual field in the full sense, our opening onto a world. In those rare moments where we lose orientation, we don’t know where we are; and we don’t know where or what things are either; we lose the thread of the world and our perceptual field is no longer our access to the world, but rather the confused debris into which our normal grasp on things crumbles. (Taylor 1978, 23)

The similarity of Taylor’s understanding of moral frameworks to MerleauPonty’s concept of an ‘orientational structure’ is clear when we compare the above to the following description of moral frameworks: We naturally tend to talk of our fundamental orientation in terms of who we are. To lose this orientation, or not to have found it, is not to

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Morality and Ethics at War know who one is. And this orientation, once attained, defines where you answer from, hence our identity. But then what emerges from all this is that we think of this fundamental moral orientation as essential to being a human interlocutor, capable of answering for oneself. But to speak of orientation is to presuppose a space-analogue within which one finds one’s way. To understand our predicament in terms of finding or losing orientation in moral space is to take the space which our frameworks seek to define as ontologically basic. The issue is, through what framework-definition can I find my bearings in it? In other words, we take as basic that the human agent exists in a space of questions. And these are the questions to which our framework-definitions are answers, providing the horizon within which we know where we stand, and what meanings things have for us. (Taylor 1989, 29)

For Taylor, then, one’s framework is deeply entrenched and is indeed the very source and foundation of one’s self. So much so that to live without a framework and remain a person in any meaningful sense is inconceivable to Taylor. A person in this state would, in his view, experience a crisis of the utmost magnitude, the ultimate identity crisis: Such a person wouldn’t know where he stood on issues of fundamental importance, would have no orientation in these issues whatever, wouldn’t be able to answer for himself on them. If one wants to add to the portrait by saying the person doesn’t suffer this absence of frameworks as a lack, isn’t in other words a crisis at all, then one rather has a picture of frightening dissociation. In practice, we should see such a person as deeply disturbed. He has gone way beyond the fringes of what we think of as shallowness:  people we judge as shallow do have a sense of what is incomparably important, only we think their commitments trivial, or merely conventional, or not deeply thought out or chosen. But a person without a framework altogether would be outside our space of interlocution; he wouldn’t have a stand in the space where the rest of us are. We would see this as pathological. (Taylor 1989, 31)

Frameworks, then, are the underlying structure of our inescapable moral phenomenology. Following the analogy between Merleau-Ponty’s argument and Taylor’s, where strong evaluations are the moral equivalent of the visual and other sensations we receive as embodied agents, frameworks are analogous to the orientational structure that allows us to make sense of those sensations and orientate ourselves in space. As Smith puts it, ‘an orientation

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to the good is an essential feature of human subjectivity’ (2002, 93), and it is frameworks that make that orientation possible. Following on from this, a framework-definition is an account we give in an attempt to explain how our framework relates to the space of questions within which we find ourselves. According to Taylor, we do always react because of our relation to the moral values that make up the world in which we live, but it is the fact that we are inarticulate about those values, and that we often hold conflicting values, that leaves us bewildered and without direction or deprives our moral intuitions of their power. Hence, articulation of our goods is, to Taylor, a vital part of making sense of our lives: ‘Articulating a constitutive good not only helps us fine-tune what we want to be and do, it also inspires and moves us to want to be and do it. And articulating the virtues [or life goods] can have a similar effect’ (Taylor 1995, 14). Articulation will, of course, result in some narrative or account of the goods that define us. The ‘Best Account’ is the one which best fits our phenomenology. As Taylor puts it, The terms we select have to make sense across the whole range of both explanatory and life uses. The terms indispensable for the latter are part of the story that makes best sense of us, unless and until we can replace them with more clairvoyant substitutes. The result of this clairvoyance yields the best account we can give at any given time, and no epistemological or metaphysical considerations of a more general kind about science or nature can justify setting this aside. The best account in the above sense trumps. (Taylor 1989, 58)

From what we have seen here, then, a moral framework is the inescapable structure of our moral phenomenology, which we are made aware of by our strong evaluations. While the frameworks themselves are inescapable, the accounts that we give to explain them are open to revision and redefinition. This takes place through a process of articulation, and the account that makes best sense of our moral phenomenology is, in Taylor’s terminology, the ‘Best Account’. Taylor argues that even ‘the most comprehensive ethical theory, that which most eschews the hiving off of a special class of ends or issues as uniquely crucial, must incorporate some notion of the relative importance of goods’ (1989, 64). Most ethical theories do refer to some kind of higher-order good that allows the ranking of other goods. ‘Hypergoods’ are Taylor’s explanation of these second-order goods. Taylor distinguishes between ‘hypergoods’ and ‘the good’ more generally, which he understands as including hypergoods as well as the contingent life goods connected with each hypergood. Taylor

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explains that hypergoods are ‘goods which not only are incomparably more important than others but [which also] provide the standpoint from which these must be weighed, judged, decided about’ (1989, 63).3 We are now in a position to pull together the main features of Taylor’s account of the self and morality. It takes as its starting point the conviction that in understanding the self we must begin by examining the nature of our phenomenology. Such an examination reveals that we are strong evaluators, that is, beings for whom the world is inescapably experienced in broadly moral terms. Our strong evaluations point to the life goods that centrally define our identities. But as we examine our moral experience further, we realize that our life goods are not random but instead take their places in a moral framework which defines how we live in the ‘space of questions’ in which we find ourselves. Frameworks are not the full story, however, for they are in turn shaped by hypergoods, which provide the source for the goodness of the ordinary life goods in the frameworks. Of course, not all of us are consciously aware of our frameworks or the hypergoods that define them. Articulation is necessary if we are to connect with these structures. Not all accounts are the same, however, and some framework- and hypergooddescriptions better account for our actual moral commitments than others. The goal, in the end, is to discover the Best Account, that description which most comprehensively accounts for the full range of moral issues that insinuate themselves in our moral experience.

The three perspectives of the modern self So then, human beings are, in Taylor’s view, inescapably moral beings.4 That is to say, we are unable to conceive of a life not lived in terms of ‘strong evaluations’  – ‘discriminations of right or wrong, better or worse, higher or lower, which are not rendered valid by our own desires, inclinations, or choices, but rather stand independent of these and offer standards by which they can be judged’ (Taylor 1989, 4). Our identity is inescapably intertwined with these strong evaluations, and Taylor believes that it is critical that we be able to articulate a narrative that makes sense of our strong evaluations. And not just any account will do – some accounts, when properly explored and articulated, will provide a better ‘fit’ to the inescapable and pre-theoretical strong evaluations that are the foundation of our moral phenomenology. In what is arguably his magnum opus, Sources of the Self, Taylor presents the reader with a work of philosophical archaeology, a retrieval (geistesgeschichte) of the sources of the modern Western identity. The contemporary West is characterized, according to Taylor, by one ancient and three distinct modern

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moral ‘horizons’ or frameworks of reference that are available to moderns in our quest to discover the ‘Best Account’ of our identity. The first modern horizon to emerge is what I will call the ‘Naturalist Perspective’, the second is the ‘Rationalist Perspective’ and the third is the ‘Inner Perspective’. All three of these viewpoints have emerged from what I  will call the ‘Theistic Horizon’. Although Taylor’s account begins with the unification or ‘centring’ of the moral self as it is articulated in Plato’s work, which he describes as the ‘prehistory of the story I want to tell’ (Taylor 1989, 120), the ‘true’ starting point for Taylor’s account is the Christian thinker Augustine of Hippo, whose work both captures and shapes the fundamental elements of the most ancient source of the Western self, the Theistic Horizon.

The Theistic Horizon The influence of the work of the African philosopher and theologian Augustine on the shaping of Western philosophy and Christianity is immense, and we cannot here do more than pick out the main features that Taylor identifies as having been key in the shaping of the Western identity. The key in Taylor’s account of Augustine’s thought lies in the notions of transcendence and immanence. What is distinctive here is the idea that God and his ideas transcend human life, but because human beings share God’s image, in some difficult-to-define way God is also located (or better, present) ‘within’ our subjectivity. It is only sin, the love of the temporal world, which prevents humans from discovering this inner light of transcendence (Taylor 1989, 129). Thus, for Augustine, the prime moral source, God, both transcends us and is immanent to us. God is to be found both beyond human life and deeply embedded in it. Following the aide-memoire that was familiar to earlier generations who were taught Augustine’s thought, to find the Good (in this case God and his love) we must turn ‘from the external, through the internal, to the eternal’. As Taylor’s account describes developments after Augustine, it can be read as a description of how this transcendent/immanent binary is disrupted. Taylor’s account plots the development out of this Augustinian framework of the three distinctively modern horizons of morality and identity mentioned above. But the move from theism to atheism is not immediate, and the drawing apart of transcendence and immanence that lies behind these new horizons begins within a broadly theistic worldview, which has itself persisted in various forms as the ‘capacious theism’ of Taylor’s more recent work on secularism. As Taylor puts it, ‘a distorted Christian dualism helped to prepare the ground for this breach’ (1989, 110). As this progression proceeds, the exact nature of the transcendence or immanence of the moral source (and,

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indeed, the nature of the moral source) changes, but Taylor is careful to show how each manifestation evolves out of what came before. It is René Descartes who begins the process of disrupting the balance between immanence and transcendence that has led to the emergence of the three newer moral horizons. Influenced by the rise of the new science, Descartes opens the door to radical inwardness. With the cosmos now understood as mechanistic and therefore neutral, it could no longer be a source of meaning – the notion of ontic logos, the meaningful order of things, is overturned. The only way open seemed to be within. The Galilean view of scientific knowledge was representational – that is, knowledge of reality is ultimately about constructing an accurate representation of the way things are. The important point here is that it is constructed more than it is discovered. Thus the shift is importantly inward – the focus is on constructing the order of representations in such a way as to generate certainty. This shift is further fuelled by the intensification, in Descartes, of the distinction between the material and the immaterial that is present in Augustine’s thought. The result of this, in Taylor’s account, is radical: with Descartes for the first time we see that true rationality, real clarity, can only be achieved by radical disengagement – by viewing the world and ourselves in abstraction from our place in it. Thus, where for Plato reason turns our attention from bodily life to the cosmic order, and where for Augustine we turn similarly to God (albeit via an inward path), for Descartes reason no longer turns our attention outwards, but reason turns our attention back onto ourselves; reason objectifies the self. Rationality is no longer substantive, then, as it was for Descartes’s illustrious predecessors, judged in terms of a ‘True Vision of the Good’. Instead, in Taylor’s account, Descartes’s intervention leads to the transformation of rationality into something procedural – one is rational if one thinks in the right manner, if one follows the correct principles of thought. Here Taylor contends that an important shift has been made, a door has been opened. With this change comes a vital shift in our moral sources – no longer is reason the way to turn our eyes to the good, but reason itself becomes the good. This location of the new moral source – reason – within human capacities, starts to disturb the balanced binary of transcendent and immanent theism as it appears in Augustine’s thought. Though Descartes still believed in a transcendent God, God was no longer directly immanent. No longer is there one moral source which is both immanent and transcendent. Now the immanent moral source is disengaged reason, while God remains transcendent. God could, of course, still be reached from within, through Descartes’s ‘proof ’ of God,5 but God is nonetheless pushed further away. While God is still explicitly the ultimate

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moral source, reason is closer at hand, and so subtly the theism has become secondary and the first steps have been taken along the road to secularism. As this new immanent moral source, reason, solidifies in the Western philosophical mind, its universal nature very easily moves it to replace God as the transcendent good. This shift does not, however, happen with Descartes. It is left to John Locke to take the next step, through his anti-teleological stance and the connected insistence on the tabula rasa of the human mind. Ontic logos, reigning supreme in the thought of the ancients, subsumed to the divinity by Augustine, and marginalized by Descartes, is cleared away entirely by Locke’s labours. This opens the way for reason to rise further towards the surface, and, as we shall see, once God is also removed from the picture, it breaks free from its immanent origins to become the third-person standpoint of contemporary naturalism, ‘the view from nowhere’ which denies the very possibility of immanence. A very different disruption of the Augustinian transcendence/immanence binary has as its starting point, in Taylor’s account, the work of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. Like Descartes, Montaigne is depicted as following Augustine’s edict to turn within in order to find truth. But Montaigne’s meditations bring about a very different result compared with those of Descartes. As Montaigne turned inwards he found not certainty and permanence, but rather a frightening instability. Attempting to find sense within the inner flux, Montaigne abandoned the idea that there is any way to have contact with what is absolute, the divine. Instead he found consolation in what he did have contact with – in self-examination and discovering the limits of our inner lives, we have to some extent gained control over ourselves. As Taylor puts it, ‘Montaigne therefore inaugurates a new kind of reflection which is intensely individual, a self-explanation, the aim of which is to reach self-knowledge by coming to see through the screens of self-delusion which passion or spiritual pride have erected. It is entirely a first-person study, receiving little help from the deliverances of third-person observation, and none from “science” ’ (1989, 181). One can immediately see the remarkable difference between Montaigne’s response to Augustinian inwardness and that of Descartes. The latter’s trajectory is ultimately towards a detached, scientific, third-person view of the self, whereas Montaigne’s response is one of engagement, not disengagement, and one which is intensely personal and far from being detached. Both approaches are individualistic, but in very different ways – the Cartesian paradigm is one of individual self-responsibility, in which one is responsible for constructing one’s identity according to the tenets of rationality, while Montaigne’s efforts go into self-discovery rather than self-construction. The first is fundamentally universal in its criteria of

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selfhood, while the latter is deeply personal and seeks individual uniqueness and originality. What results are two very different balances (or, from the perspective of the Theistic Horizon, imbalances) between transcendence and immanence. In Descartes’s thought we see the first steps (later carried further by Locke) towards a third-person standpoint, which Thomas Nagel (1989) famously calls ‘the view from nowhere’. Here immanence is reduced to near nothingness – it is universal reason and objectivity that carries the day. In Montaigne, on the other hand, it is transcendence that is pushed aside. He argues that we should free ourselves from the oppressively impossible task of attempting to align ourselves with transcendent moral sources and focus instead on that which is near to us, that which is immanent, the flux that is the authentic self. These two distinctive emphases are taken by thinkers such as John Locke, Lord Shaftesbury and Francis Hutcheson from a broadly Christian world view through the period of transition to secularism known as Deism. Space does not allow a full treatment here of Taylor’s fascinating account of the Deists. It must suffice to note, firstly, that Taylor sees Locke’s emphasis (and that of the Deists that followed him) on natural law (his ‘theological hedonism’), his sweeping away of all residual traces of ontic logos, and his near rejection of the doctrine of original sin as key elements in the emergence of a world view in which the universe comes to be seen as ‘a vast interlocking order of beings, mutually subserving each other’s flourishing, for whose design the architect of nature deserves our praise and thanks and admiration’ (Taylor 1989, 244). At the core of this great order of things is a view that sees pleasure and pain as the key indicators of natural law. Utilitarianism is not far away. For Shaftesbury, at least as Taylor expounds his thought, God’s law consists in those principles that course through the veins of the universe; they are its lifeblood. Right and wrong are not the result of the arbitrary decrees of an external lawgiver but are instead embedded in the nature of the cosmos. For Shaftesbury, we not only see the order of things outside us, but that order also resonates, and is in some sense present, within us. It is this subjectivity that most clearly separates Shaftesbury’s thought from that of Locke. Shaftesbury’s follower, Hutcheson, takes this even further. In Hutcheson’s view, it is a happy truth that our moral sensibilities drive us to be benevolent, and it is at the same time benevolence that most contributes to our own happiness. Sentiment has become central, and sentiments are considered normative. We discover what is right and what is wrong through our feelings  – we are designed as part of a providential universe, and thus our feelings are designed too, and offer us direct access to the providential designing mind of God. This, crucially, sends things in a different direction. Sentiment, in all its subjectivity, can never float free from its immanent moorings in the

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way reason does with Locke and his successors. For Hutcheson, following a trajectory which Taylor’s account depicts as heading in the same direction as Montaigne, the idea of a transcendent moral source has become little more than something to which lip service is paid. It is not surprising, therefore, that as secularism emerges and God is later dropped from the picture in what I  call the ‘Inner Perspective’, the notion of a transcendent moral source is almost entirely dropped from view. The final measure of goodness, in both these strands of Deism, is found in humanity. This focus on mankind, intensified in the theories that followed Deism, soon found no place for God at all. Thus we can see that Taylor’s account shows how the hiving off of transcendence from immanence that finds its roots in Descartes and Montaigne, respectively, was carried along by Deist thinkers to the point where these two streams were ready to move out of theism altogether, and to form the three perspectives of modernity.

The Naturalist Perspective Though Deists maintained a belief in God (albeit of a very different kind to that of orthodox Christianity), the nature of their outlook opened the doors to the unbelieving Enlightenment. ‘That’s why’, claims Taylor, ‘understanding the motives for Deism is so important. It promises, or threatens, to give the key to the whole modern development we gesture at with the word “secularization” ’ (1989, 308). Taylor singles out Baron d’Holbach as a key figure in the early Enlightenment. Influenced by the affirmation of nature that arose out of Deism, Holbach took this one step further and asserted that man is a purely physical being, like everything else in the universe, and must therefore be understood in this way. The internal perspective of consciousness is cut off as nature and man are fully integrated in an instrumental and measurable universe. This led Holbach to a vociferous atheism. Mankind is alone, part of the physical world, and reliant on our own disengaged rationality. We find meaning as we come to understand the physical world and our part in it; and what emerges from this is that we are bound to preserve ourselves and seek happiness. Thus, the importance of nature has been carried through and intensified from Deist into Enlightenment thinking, while at the same time shedding the original supernatural context. In Holbach’s own words, Let man cease to search outside of the world he lives in, for beings that provide him with a happiness which nature refuses him: let him study nature, that he learn its laws, that he contemplate its energy and the immutable way it acts; let him apply his discoveries to his own felicity,

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In Taylor’s account of Holbach we see Locke’s thought stripped of its theistic content. The rational laws of nature have become the only recognized moral source, and each human being is to be treated as its object. The rider to this is the centrality of pleasure and pain that rational nature reveals to us. Jeremy Bentham picks up this emphasis and develops it into one of the most distinctive modes of moral and ethical thought we have available to us today, Utilitarianism. Bentham was most vigorously opposed to what he called the ‘principle of asceticism’ – the idea, inherited from Plato, that physical pleasures were to be spurned. Bentham took this to be nothing more than pride. In this respect, we can see the strong influence of what Taylor calls the ‘affirmation of ordinary life’ ushered in by the Protestant Reformation, but now cut off from its theological roots, and taken to an extreme. In the hands of the Utilitarians, the affirmation of the ordinary life becomes the affirmation of the sensual. All that is, is taken to be physical, and the physical is taken to be the all. In Taylor’s understanding it is sensualism that gives Enlightenment naturalism its radical bent. This sensualism is, however, objectified. Human pleasure and pain become the ‘sense data’ of contemporary naturalist philosophy, in strong contrast with the affirmation of sentiment that emerges from the Inner Perspective, as we shall see shortly. Taylor contends that, like the Deists before them, the thinkers of the radical Enlightenment were strongly committed to the idea of universal benevolence. This is, however, implicit in their thinking, for the crucial reason that the rationalization for this that was available to the Deist was not there for the Enlightenment thinker. For the Deist, the idea of the universe as a providential order (itself derived from the notion of a benevolent God) supported the notion that benevolence towards others always has positive consequences for the benefactor. ‘What goes around comes around’, and with the Deist belief in an afterlife, benefits not reaped here were reaped in the world to come. For the naturalist Utilitarian thinker, however, with his neutral universe, there are no such guarantees, but the principle of universal benevolence is so strongly entrenched that it cannot be given up.

The Rationalist Perspective Though the towering figure of the Rationalist Perspective is Immanuel Kant, Taylor traces the development of both Kant’s thought and that of the Inner Perspective through Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Like the naturalists, Rousseau

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took nature to be the foundation, but in a very different way. The voice of nature is what is central for Rousseau. In his view, the great struggle of humans is to renew contact with the voice of nature. Because we are part of society, we come to depend on it and draw our self-understanding from its assessment of us, and we further direct ourselves in accordance with the goals of our culture. But in so doing we lose touch with the authentic moral source, the inner impulse of the voice of nature, which is our true guide, and by losing this contact we find ourselves morally corrupt. What is needed is a transformation of the will, which can only come about by cutting off the clamouring voices of society (a crucial aspect of which involves living a life of minimal material wants) and re-establishing contact with nature within. Despite the much more radical focus on the immanent voice of nature, for Rousseau there still lingers some sense of transcendence – here it is the transcendent authority of the body politic. Rousseau, however, makes the last turn of the key that unlocks the door to what Taylor calls the ‘unrestrained subjectivity’ from which both the Rationalist Perspective and the Inner Perspective develop. As Taylor explains, All that was needed was for the inner voice to cut loose from its yoke fellow and declare its full moral competence. … Rousseau immensely enlarged the scope of the inner voice. We now can know from within us, from the impulses of our own being, what nature marks as significant. And our ultimate happiness is to live in conformity with this voice, that is, to be entirely ourselves. (Taylor 1989, 362)

Once again Taylor cannot resist pointing out the contrast with Augustine’s thought, noting that ‘the source of unity and wholeness which Augustine found only in God is now to be discovered within the self ’. This comparison is one that carries through to our day, Taylor contends, because ‘Rousseau is the origin of a great deal of contemporary culture, of the philosophies of self-exploration, as well as of the creeds which make self-determining freedom the key to virtue. He is the starting point of a transformation in modern culture towards a deeper inwardness and a radical autonomy’ (1989, 362–3). We consider the Inner Perspective of self-exploration below, but it is Kant who more than anybody embodies the philosophy of self-determining freedom. Like Rousseau, for Kant freedom and morality are inextricably intertwined – the life of freedom just is the moral life. To act morally is to act in accordance with what we truly are. The voice of nature that is so central for Rousseau is replaced, in Kant’s thought, by the moral law. Where for the Utilitarians the most salient fact about us is that we are part of nature,

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for Kant the glory of humanity is our capacity for reason. Kant is savage in his rejection of the Utilitarian idea that the satisfaction of our desires, our happiness, should be taken to be central to morality. These are imposed on us; they are heteronomous, the products of mere biology and society. Freedom, and therefore morality, requires that we rise above such demands and instead embrace the deliberations of the will, which is the moral law. Kant shares the modern stress on freedom as self-determination. He insists on seeing the moral law as one which emanates from our will. Our awe before it reflects the status of rational agency, its author, and whose being it expresses. Rational agents have a status nothing else enjoys in the universe. They soar above the rest of creation. Everything else may have a price, but only they have ‘dignity’ (Würde). And so Kant strongly insists that our moral obligations owe nothing to the order of nature. (Taylor 1989, 83)

With rational agency, our capacity for reason, at the fore, we see the emergence of one of the most distinctive moral drivers of modernity. Love, which is what compelled moral action within the Theistic Horizon, has been replaced by respect. This does not, of course, come from nowhere – indeed, Taylor identifies this as an example of a moral intuition that seems inescapable for us and which also seems dependent on a sense of the incommensurably higher. He points out that, though the recipients of this respect have often been limited to a small group in certain cultures, this sense has nonetheless been present in all human cultures. It has been articulated in various ways, such as ‘the logos that resides in human beings and which is close to the divine in the Universe (some Stoics), or most recently, as our being made in the image of God. … Vaclav Havel has pointed to some such basis for universal human rights’ (Taylor 2003, 317). Taylor contends that these articulations of the ‘respect worthiness’ of the human did not just offer extra incentives or an extra rhetorical impulse to our inclination to act rightly towards our fellows. They were meant to articulate what respect worthiness consisted in. In other words, they offer further specifications of the concept that is in play here, the one that we can apply rightly or wrongly, and that we therefore cannot see as a simple projection. (Taylor 2003, 317)

In this emphasis Kant stands strongly in the stream of modernity opened up by Descartes. For both thinkers, ‘rational beings have a unique dignity. They stand out against the background of nature, just in that they are free and

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self-determining’ (Taylor 1989, 364). The locus of the moral law within the will is a radical feature of Kant’s thought. Though reason takes on something of a God-like status, it is in no way transcendent. ‘As the Kantian case shows, an entirely immanent view of the good is compatible with recognizing that there is something the contemplation of which commands our respect which respect in turn empowers. Whatever fills this role is playing the part of a moral source’ (p. 94). The absolute centrality of the will in Kant’s schema is seen in his insistence that morality cannot be evaluated from the outcomes of our choices. What matters is not outcome but motive. Thus, the moral person’s behaviour may be indistinguishable from that of a person who is not moral. Two shopkeepers may avoid shortchanging their customers, but for one this will be a prudential measure to keep his trade, while to the other it is what the moral law requires. The moral person may lead the same external life as the non-moral one, but it is inwardly transformed by a different spirit. It is animated by a different end. (Taylor 1989, 365)

The Inner Perspective ‘Kant offers one form of modern internalization, that is, a way of finding the good in our inner motivation. Another comes with the family of views in the late eighteenth century that represents nature as an inner source’ (Taylor 1989, 368). The transition from Deism and Cartesian rationalism to what I am here calling the Inner Perspective comes, in Taylor’s account, through the thought of David Hume. Like the other thinkers of the Enlightenment, Hume rejected the notion of a providential order and affirmed a wholehearted materialism. Unlike the Utilitarians, however, he did not completely take up the commitment to disengagement. Instead, he pointed to the significance of our everyday lives as being significant for the simple reason that they are ours. It is as we come to terms with the way we are, with our make-up as humans, that we find significance in our lives. The influence of Cartesian rationalism on Hume remains strong, but in this latter sense he stands more properly in the philosophical (if not historical) lineage of Montaigne and the subjectivist Deists. Hume takes as basic the inescapable significance that humans attach to things. Our moral sentiments just are, and we can accept, cherish and live in accordance with those moral intuitions. Perhaps our intuitions are arbitrary, but we cannot, nonetheless, avoid living out our lives in their terms, and we need to cast aside the doubts that plague us in this regard. Hume’s affirmation of our moral sentiments and Rousseau’s notion of the voice of nature are precursors to the rise of the Romantic movement, and the

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development of what Taylor calls ‘expressivism’. What is central to both is the voice within, or in some versions the life force of nature which we come into contact with through the inner voice. Like the Deists inspired by Hutcheson, in Romanticism sentiment is given a central place – it is through our feelings that the deepest truths are discovered. In expressivism, the challenge is to articulate in words something that is communicated through feelings, or to represent the feelings in some other artistic medium. Indeed, it is only when the feeling is expressed in some way that it is fully comprehended. Expressivism gives individualism a new dimension. Now not only is each person unique, but there is added the idea that this uniqueness is what directs our lives. We are called on to be true to the voice within, and each of us has an original path to follow. What particularly drives the new individuation is the expressivist notion that we can only fully grasp what the voice of nature calls us to do when we have expressed it in our lives. It is only as we live out our deep nature that we fully comprehend it. Truth becomes personalized. Thus, though nature transcends each individual, as a moral source it is only ever immanent. Its call is unique to each individual, and its comprehension and expression is exclusively personal. This is the legacy of this perspective for the modern self.

Conclusion I began this chapter by stating a foundational premise of my argument in this book: to truly understand, and be able to address, the gap between the individual morality of military personnel, on the one hand, and the ethics of war, on the other, we must begin with a thorough account of the nature of personal moral identity as well as the perspectives which have shaped the specific moral identity of the modern Western self. That is no small task to achieve in a single chapter, and I hope the reader will forgive me if at times I  have moved too fast or taken too much for granted. Those interested in digging deeper are strongly encouraged to read Charles Taylor’s magisterial Sources of the Self (1989), which is the primary basis for the account I have given here. For those less interested in philosophy and more interested in the ‘bottom line’, I close by offering a brief summary of the key points I have raised in this chapter. The first part of the chapter focused on articulating the key structural features of humans qua moral beings. The key starting intuition here is that in understanding the self, we must begin by examining the nature of our phenomenology, the structure of our lived experience. Such an examination reveals that we are strong evaluators, beings for whom the world is

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inescapably experienced in broadly moral terms:  we inescapably make ‘discriminations of right or wrong, better or worse, higher or lower, which are not rendered valid by our own desires, inclinations, or choices, but rather stand independent of these and offer standards by which they can be judged’ (Taylor 1989, 4). Our strong evaluations point to the life goods that centrally define our identities, by shaping our sense of what matters. But as we examine our moral experience further, we realize that our life goods are not random but instead take their places in a moral framework which defines how we live in the ‘space of questions’ in which we find ourselves. Frameworks are not the full story, however, for they are in turn shaped by higher-order goods, what Taylor calls ‘hypergoods’, which provide the source for the goodness of the ordinary life goods in the frameworks. Of course, not all of us are consciously aware of our frameworks or the hypergoods that define them. Articulation is necessary if we are to connect with these structures, and some descriptions of our moral selves will better account for our actual moral commitments than others. Just as individual identity cannot be understood without a grasp of the nature of embodied human moral experience, so the specific moral identity of Western individuals cannot be understood without recognizing the conceptions of the moral that have emerged from the broad flow of Western intellectual history. Though those conceptions find key precursors in the thought of ancients like Plato (who, Taylor argues, bequeathed us the idea of the self as a unified whole), the substantive starting point of our modern identity lies with Christian theism, which (after passing through Deism) gave birth to the central ideas that animate the dominant perspectives of our secular modernity. Following Taylor’s account, I  identify three key perspectives, which I have dubbed the ‘Naturalist Perspective’, the ‘Rationalist Perspective’ and the ‘Inner Perspective’. The Naturalist Perspective, whose most vociferous champions were, and are, Utilitarian thinkers, takes as its foundation the idea that humans are to be understood wholly and entirely as entities of the natural world. As such, our sole guide is the rational laws of nature, which reveal to us the centrality of pleasure and pain, of desires and their satisfaction. The moral life is thus assessed by its contribution to felicity, and each of us is our own judge of what is of value, with no external measure of good being applicable. It is this perspective which in our time has, among other things, driven the broadening acceptance of lifestyle choices which were previously considered ‘alternative’ or even ‘deviant’, and a growing sense that humans are not alone as inherently worthy of moral status. At the same time, it is this perspective that provides some of the most demanding imperatives on us to accept reductions in our own preference satisfaction in order to maximize utility for the many, for the

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Naturalist Perspective insists that we should not count our own happiness more than the felicity of all. The Rationalist Perspective, deeply shaped by the thought of Immanuel Kant, offers a competing perspective on what is most central to us as human beings. It is not our capacity for pleasure and pain, or our desires and their satisfaction, that matters  – these are the imperatives of mere biology and society – but rather it is our capacity for reason. We are, in essence, rational agents, and it is our capability for self-determination, the will, that is at our very core and which makes us worthy of respect. Right action is thus defined by acting in accordance with the deliverances of the rational will. Reason is universal, and so we must act only on moral principles that apply universally. The pursuit of happiness, whether ours or that of others, is a false direction. We are true to ourselves when, and only when, we follow the dictates of reason, as it is then that we are truly free. The inescapable influence of this perspective is today felt in our deep sense of the dignity of human beings, which consists precisely in their ability to stand unconsoled and uncowed in face of the indifferent immensity of the world and to find the purpose of their lives in understanding it and transcending in this way by far their own insignificant locus and being. … Man can be annihilated by the universe, but his greatness in relation to it consists in his going down knowingly. Something inspires our respect here, and this respect empowers. (Taylor 1989, 94–5)

This perspective has given rise to the distinctly modern notion that we are beings with rights that demand the respect of all. Finally there is the Inner Perspective, which has its roots in the Deism of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, the affirmation of sentiment of Hume, and the deep subjectivity of the Romantic movement and expressivism. From this perspective we find moral truth within, and what we find is unique to ourselves. The call to ‘be true to ourselves’ is the most distinctly modern expression of this perspective in society. Philosophical suspicion of claims to absolute truth, and a consequent embrace of scepticism and irony, is another manifestation of this perspective  – though misnamed, for this ‘postmodernism’ is very much a product of one of the streams of modern secularism. Multiculturalism, as an ideal, with its resistance to the levelling effect of the Naturalist Perspective and the universalizing effect of the Rationalist Perspective is another prominent landmark of the view from the Inner Perspective.

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It is difficult to overestimate the power of these perspectives in shaping our (usually inarticulate) sense of ourselves and what matters in the world. The processes of globalization and the institutions of our international order have meant that few corners of the world have not absorbed them to some degree. Even as liberal-democratic Western societies have awkwardly embraced multiculturalism they have unwittingly, in so doing, pushed the very modern Western perspectives that drive this imperative onto transplanted cultures, and mostly they have been embraced. This is of course not to overlook the deep tensions between these perspectives – many of the most painful clashes in our societies arise from them. But for all that their pull is irresistible. The fundamental intuitions that each of these perspectives highlights are inescapable for us moderns; they define us, and the best each of us can hope to do is articulate them, and perhaps find a ‘Best Account’ that offers ways to reconcile them. That, however, is not the task of this chapter or this book – the goal here is to describe in broad terms the deep and rich features of the modern moral identity, the self that with infinite variations and complexities is the defining feature of the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who dons uniform to serve his or her nation. In the next chapter we examine the thin and narrow ethics of war of the contemporary liberal democratic state.

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2

The ethics of war and the thin and narrow morality of the liberal democratic state

In the previous chapter I set out to give an account of the moral structure of human identity and the key perspectives which shape the distinctly modern self. For the individual, moral identity is both deep and wide – indeed, we might say it is all-encompassing. Though shaped by the same flows of thought that define modernity, morality at the level of the (liberal democratic) state looks very different indeed. My central argument in this book is that the gap between the deep and wide morality of the individual, on the one hand, and the thin and narrow morality of the state, on the other, is a significant locus for moral injury. To help make that case, I develop an account of morality at the level of the state in this chapter,1 and link that to the ethics of war.

Liberalism and the social contract The states that are the focus of this book are those characterized by liberalism. I am here talking of liberalism as that term is used to refer to a foundational conception of the appropriate nature of political arrangements. In this regard, ‘liberal’ is most commonly married with the related (but subservient) notion of ‘democracy’, as in ‘liberal democracy’. Thus liberalism, in the sense that I  am using the term, is to be contrasted with political arrangements such as communism, totalitarianism, theocracy and monarchy. For some readers, particularly some who hail from the United States of America, the term ‘liberal’ will immediately conjure up a different conception, namely an association with the political left in domestic politics.2 Thus ‘liberal’ will immediately bring to mind someone who is, among other things, pro-choice, anti-death penalty and in favour of stringent gun control. Such a person is what I  will here call ‘socially liberal’, that is, someone whose judgements on social issues generally fall to the left of the political spectrum. Such a person will almost certainly also be a supporter of liberalism, but it must be emphasized that those whose judgements are what we might describe as

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‘socially conservative’ (i.e. pro-life, anti-gun control and so on) are – in the United States and other liberal democracies at least – almost certainly also supporters of liberalism as a foundational political ideal. So, to be clear, when I  use the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘liberalism’ in this book I  am referring to the foundational political ideal championed by the likes of John Locke and John Stuart Mill. The central idea of liberalism, described as thinly as possible, is what Gerald Gaus calls the Fundamental Liberty Principle, the view that ‘freedom is normatively basic, and so the onus of justification is on those who would limit freedom, especially through coercive means’ (Gaus and Courtland 2011). This has clear implications for states. It is the nature of political authority to limit the freedom of those who fall within its ambit, and as such there is a requirement that states must have justification in enacting laws and policies that do so. The self-constraining nature of the distinctly modern commitment to liberty provides just such a justification – if individual free acts are at odds with liberty as a general ideal, then the state may justifiably and coercively prevent these acts. Thus, for example, the state may rightfully limit my ability to freely choose to kill my fellow citizens, for my doing so will in most cases unduly restrict (end) the freedom of those I kill, and this is clearly at odds with a fundamental commitment to liberty. But as far as is feasible within the structural constraints that come with a commitment to liberalism, the individual’s freedom to pursue her own conception of the good life is to be maximized. The distinctively modern notion of the centrality of individual freedom defines the concept at the heart of today’s political order in liberal democratic states, that of the social contract. It is unique, in contrast to the political orders that preceded it (and which continue in evolved forms in non-liberal non-democratic states), in placing the individual citizen at the very heart of political authority. As Taylor explains, The ancient notion of the good, either in the Platonic mode, as the key to cosmic order, or in the form of the good life à la Aristotle, sets a standard for us in nature, independent of our will. The modern notion of freedom which develops in the seventeenth century portrays this as the independence of the subject, his determining of his own purposes without interference from external authority. … Normative orders must originate in the will. This is most evident in the seventeenth-century political theory of legitimacy through contract. As against earlier contract theories, the one we find with Grotius and Locke starts from the individual. Being a political order to which one owes allegiance presupposes, on this view, that one has given it one’s consent. Rightful

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submission cannot arise just by nature, as classical theories assume. (Taylor 1989, 82)

While there are important differences between accounts of the social contract, the essential structure is largely the same. Roughly speaking, the picture is as follows. The starting point is a hypothetical situation in which there is no political authority. In this ‘state of nature’ (Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume), ‘original position’ (Rawls) or ‘initial bargaining position’ (Gautier) all participants are free and equal, but it is evident that an entirely unregulated society is not conducive to maintaining that freedom and equality. And so a hypothetical deal is struck in which all participants agree to submit to the authority of a state – with consequent limitations on liberty – in exchange for the state’s guarantee that each person will be given the maximum liberty possible that is consistent with a rights-respecting and regulated society. The different accounts of the social contract differ in several ways:  in their underlying perspectives on human nature and their corresponding impression of the state of nature (Hobbes is particularly pessimistic; Locke less so); in the degree of allegiance that is due to the state as a consequence of the social contract (Hobbes thought it absolute; Locke was determined that there is a right to rebel); in the nature of the consent which underpins it (whether that consent be implicit or hypothetical); as well as in several other important respects. What they share, though, is the centrality of the individual and a distinctively modern notion of freedom. As Taylor explains, This modern idea of freedom is the strongest motive for the massive shift from substantive to procedural justifications in the modern world. We can see the rise of social contract theory in the same light. Instead of defining legitimacy substantively in terms of the kind of regime or some conception of the good society, we define it by the procedure of its inauguration. It’s all right, thought Grotius, no matter what its form, so long as it comes about through consent. (Taylor 1989, 86)

It is the Rationalist Perspective, dominated by the thought of Immanuel Kant, that most strongly accounts for our modern understanding of the social contract. While many of the early social contract theorists retained some sense of ontic logos and contended thus that morality is in some important way a part of nature, Kant’s notion of human dignity, derived from rational agency and generative of the distinctly modern notion of rights, has come to dominate. The echo of Kant’s thought is, for example, clear in the Australian

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Human Rights Commission’s affirmation that ‘every person has dignity and value’.3 It is important, in advance of considering the state and the ethics of war, to be clear on the impact of the social contract on the state’s use of lethal force in the domestic context. Here we can parse out two related but importantly distinct restrictions on the state’s use of lethal force domestically: one rightsbased and one contractarian. First, given the central role of rights in existing social contract justifications of state power, we can see that the state may never intentionally and knowingly violate a citizen’s right to life (here, as throughout, I am using ‘citizen’ as shorthand for all those who fall under the state’s authority). This is not the same thing as saying that a state may never legitimately kill a citizen. A police officer may, for example, shoot dead an attacker bent on lethal harm if that is the only way to stop her from fulfilling her lethal intent. In such a case, however, we typically say that the attacker has, through her actions, forfeited her right to life at that moment, and so the right is not violated when the police officer uses lethal force. Likewise, a citizen who voluntarily enlists in the military thereby either explicitly or implicitly consents to the state ordering him to his death if the circumstances warrant it. Thus, except where citizens have in some way forfeited their right not to be killed, the state may not kill its citizens, for to do so violates the most fundamental of human rights, the right to life. It is worth noting here that this restriction on state action is absolute in a way that does not apply to other core rights, which may under some circumstances be curtailed by the state in order to secure the benefits promised by the social contract. The key difference is that the right to life is unique among the rights we hold because once violated it is non-recoverable. When rights such as my right to freedom of speech, my right to property or even my right to control over my body are violated, as serious as those violations are, they nevertheless do not usually entail a permanent loss of the opportunity to exercise those rights. If I am dead, however, my right to life cannot be regained. There is another reason the state may not, as a general principle, kill its citizens, and this is based in the consensual nature of the social contract (it does not matter whether we prefer to see that consent as implicit or hypothetical or something else). The idea is that we contract with one another to consent to the state’s rule over us, in exchange for escaping the state of nature in which we face, in its darkest description, ‘the war of all against all’, a situation of ‘continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’ (Hobbes). Even if circumstances without the authority of the state are not really as grim as all that (Locke), few doubt that one of the primary reasons for accepting the authority of

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the state is prudential – because it offers some degree of protection for our property and, particularly, our lives. It is thus obvious that no rational person would consent to the authority of a state if that authority extended to taking that person’s life, except in circumstances in which the individual concerned were threatening the very basis of the social contract. Any concept of the social contract allowing for the state to kill those (non-liable) citizens who consented to submit to its authority would be self-undermining – the very rationale for entering the social contract is compromised by such an idea. These two constraints on state action, while having the same outcome in the domestic context, are importantly different and, as we will see below, have an important impact on the ethics of war for liberal states.

The (bounded) moral neutrality of the state Political liberalism is, for all its intuitive appeal, a broad notion with fuzzy and disputed boundaries. Still, there are some central features which are distinctive of the range of positions which fall within liberalism’s blurry bounds. Among these is state neutrality. Within the limits appropriately defined by the Fundamental Liberty Principle, the state must seek to allow as much space for individual freedom as possible and thus seek to avoid enacting laws and following policies which favour or disfavour any of the conceptions of the good life that comport with the bounds of liberalism. As Andrew Mason rightly states, The idea that respect for persons requires the state to be neutral (in some sense) between different conceptions of the good life is an important component of contemporary liberal theory. It is attractive at least partly because it resonates with the thought that the state should be impartial in relation to its citizens. Liberals themselves have varied accounts of what it is for the state to be neutral between conceptions of how to live, but they concur in thinking that neutrality has substantive political consequences. (Mason 1990, 433)

Though it is widely (though not universally)4 accepted that state neutrality regarding ways of life is an essential feature of liberalism, what is meant by the term is not always particularly clear. As Gerald Gaus has lamented, ‘Compared to other debates in political philosophy, the light-to-heat ratio of discussions of neutrality has been somewhat dismal … most political philosophers seem to know whether they are for or against it, [but] there is considerable confusion about what “it” is’ (2003, 138). Thankfully, in a

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paper addressing the issue of ‘difference-sensitive’ neutrality, Peter Balint has clarified matters by singling out three distinct notions which are all too often bundled together by scholars who argue for, or contest, the notion of liberal state neutrality. According to Balint, liberal neutrality is generally conceived of in terms of neutrality of justification, neutrality of intent and neutrality of outcome: Under neutrality of justification, no law of policy should be justified by the rightness of any particular way of life. This is a form of procedural neutrality, where the laws and policies that citizens should live by should be equally justifiable to all. … The second type of neutrality is of a different order. Here what matters is not so much how a law or principle has been justified, as much as its intention. Under neutrality of intent, a neutral institution or policy should not intend to favour (or hinder) any particular way of life. … The third type of neutrality is effectively the flipside of neutrality of intent. Neutrality of outcome is concerned not only that institutions of policies do not intend to favour any particular way of life, but that they do not actually favour – even unintentionally – any way of life. (Balint 2015, 498–9)

The idea of liberal neutrality is not without its detractors. Most notable among these, for our purposes, is Charles Taylor, who along with other multiculturalist thinkers like Will Kymlicka argues that liberal states are not neutral in practice and, indeed, liberal neutrality is not even theoretically possible. Thus, Kymlicka writes that the ideal of ‘benign neglect’ is a myth. Government decisions on languages, internal boundaries, public holidays, and state symbols unavoidably involve recognizing, accommodating, and supporting the needs of particular ethnic and national groups. Nor is there any reason to regret this fact. The only question is how to ensure these unavoidable forms of support for particular ethnic and national groups are provided fairly – that is, how to ensure that they do not privilege some groups and disadvantage others. (Kymlicka 1995, 115, quoted in Balint 2015, 496)

Likewise, Taylor proclaims that the supposedly neutral set of difference-blind principles of the politics of equal dignity is in fact a reflection of one hegemonic culture. As it turns out, then, only the minority or suppressed cultures are being forced to take alien form. Consequently, the supposedly fair and difference-blind

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society is not only inhuman (because suppressing identities) but also, in a subtle and unconscious way, itself highly discriminatory. (Taylor 1994, 43, quoted in Balint 2015, 496)

Balint, however, points out that these views misconceive the nature of the neutrality norm. First, says Balint, what is missed by these critics is that neutrality is an ideal. As such, it is perfectly coherent to accept that it will never be fully realized, but at the same time maintain that it should be an action-guiding principle. Second, what is also overlooked is that neutrality is not an absolute notion but a range concept, one which will always be constrained by other foundational norms as well as social realities. For our purposes, the key thing about state neutrality is that it defines the liberal state as one with a moral basis which is ‘thin’ and ‘narrow’ – based primarily on the commitments to liberty and security which provide the basis for the social contract. This is in strong contrast with the ‘broad’, ‘deep’ and ‘rich’ conception of individual personal moral identity I drew from Taylor’s work in the previous chapter. As I  will argue below, the thin and narrow morality of the state gives rise to a particular conception of the ethics of war. The gap between this ethics of war and the broad, deep and rich morality of the individual is, unless properly bridged, a significant cause of moral injury and ethical failure among military personnel.

The liberal democratic state and the ethics of war As Ian Bryant, formerly a Professor of Strategic Studies in the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at the US Air Force’s Air University, rightly points out, ‘An officer’s conception of the military’s role must begin with understanding society’s values and how those values are expressed in the form and philosophy of a government that supplies and legitimates the officer’s work’ (2011, 33). There are important, and not well understood, ways in which the nature of the philosophy of government which drives the liberal democratic state shapes the framework of ethics that is appropriate for engaging in military conflict. In this section I explore that key connection. Not long after his September 2014 appointment as Chief of the General Staff, the most senior position within the British Army, General Sir Nick Carter took the unusual step of appointing Philip McCormack, a respected ethicist and service member (Army Chaplain) with two PhDs to his credit, to serve as his ‘Chief of Army Ethics’ (McDermott 2016, 6). The primary task McCormack was given was to articulate the philosophical ‘ground’ on which the British Army’s published Values and Standards rests, something that had

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previously been left unarticulated. McCormack expresses the nature of the task as follows: The 2008 edition [of the Army booklet Values and Standards] maintains that ‘values are the moral principles – the intangible character and spirit – that should guide and develop us into the sort of people we should be’. This booklet currently is the Army’s primary ethical source. The foreword by the Chief of the General Staff states that ‘our Values and Standards are vital to operational effectiveness  – they are the lifeblood that sustains the Army. They have to be more than words, we must believe in them and live by them’. ‘They reflect, and are consistent’, the booklet contends, ‘with the moral virtues and ethical principles that underpin any decent society.’ This, however, is the only attempt to ‘ground’ the Values and Standards in an external source from which an ethical good may be derived or deduced. This was and continues to be a major conceptual weakness … without any substantive attempt to ground the Army’s Values and Standards in an objective ethical good or ethical foundation, they are conceptually and ethically relative. (McCormack 2015, 5–6)

It is difficult to overstate how unusual and important General Carter’s initiative in setting Philip McCormack this task was. I  know of no other initiative like it that has been generated from within a nation’s armed forces. Understandably, there is a strong reluctance by military forces to enter into territory that might be considered to be ‘political’, or to appear to take a stand on issues that do not fall comfortably within the traditionally defined scope of the military ‘profession’.5 However, if the thesis of this book is correct, then the kind of grounding exercise that McCormack was tasked with is a vital step in addressing the gap between the individual moral identity and the military ethic that is the locus of much moral injury. Nor is such an exercise an inappropriate one. Sensitivity over any perception of the military entering into the realm of the political is based on the recognition of the vulnerability of the political order and the citizenry to the brute power of the military, and the critical need therefore for the relationship of trust that is at the heart of proper civil–military relations. In a recent publication, Royal Australian Air Force Legal Officer Jo Brick insightfully describes this relationship as being fiduciary in nature:  ‘the relationship between the agent (the fiduciary) and the principle is characterized by the vulnerability of the principle in this particular relationship. This is because of the great dependence that the principal has on the fiduciary and the significant loss that the principal may suffer if the fiduciary breaches the relationship of trust’ (2018, 19). But articulating the philosophical grounding of the ethics

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that must inevitably guide appropriate military action is not a breach of this relationship of trust  – to the contrary, it is a responsibility imposed by it. Brick is correct in saying that ‘the relationship of trust between the military and the state is based on an understanding that the military will employ its monopoly over the knowledge and skill to use force only in furtherance of the interests of the nation’ (p. 19). A nation’s interests can only be understood against the backdrop of the philosophical basis of its constitutional order, and that understanding has significant implications for the ethics of military action. The imperative to be explicit about the grounding of military ethics is intensified in the era of the modern all-volunteer military. As Finney and Mayfield point out, One clear result of this shift away from conscription to a technologically focused force is that fewer and fewer members of society  – the very population with which the military must maintain trust  – have any personal connection with the military or any exposure to conflict in a meaningful way. This abstraction of military service has resulted in an ever-widening gap between the professional armies of the West and the societies they serve. (Finney and Mayfield 2018, 216)

General Carter’s initiative in appointing a ‘Chief of Army Ethics’ and tasking him to ‘ground’ the British Army’s Values and Standards was, therefore, both appropriate and insightful. Though, as will become clear below, I  think the account McCormack generated in response to General Carter’s tasking falls short in a vital way, there is no question that he was an excellent choice to undertake this task. McCormack took to the role with energy and intellectual vigour, breaking critical ground and starting a vital conversation which might otherwise never have happened. In so doing he ultimately, and in my view rightly, selected a by now familiar figure as the key guide in articulating the ‘radical and revolutionary ideas that came to shape and mould the Western world’ (McCormack 2015, 11): Charles Taylor. As McCormack writes, The Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor describes the setting in which we live as our modern social imaginary, ‘that common understanding that makes possible common practices and a widely shared sense of legitimacy’. It is not simply a set of ideas; rather our social imaginary enables us to make sense of the practices of our society. One of the characteristics of a social imaginary is that it ‘can eventually come to count as the taken-for-granted shape of things too obvious to mention’ and ‘seems the only one that makes sense’. It is precisely because of the

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Morality and Ethics at War ‘too obvious to mention’ nature of ideas that shaped the modern world that their radical and revolutionary nature has been largely forgotten by the majority. [I] argue that it is upon these ideas, embedded within our national DNA, that the Values and Standards of the British Army should be grounded and expounded. (McCormack 2015, 11)

McCormack identifies a critical transition point as occurring in the sixteenth century, when the pre-modern conception of a hierarchically ordered society began for the first time to give way to one in which the individual was central. For moderns it can be hard to grasp how radical a transformation that was. With the eroding of the idea of ontic logos, the idea of a natural order of things which encompassed the moral and the political, came a radical political levelling in which any conception of a higher class, one entitled to rule, was swept away. Taylor refers to this social model as a mode of ‘hierarchical complementarity’. In other words, one’s identity was directly relational to function within the established order; a person’s role in society gave him or her their essential identity. The individual confronted ‘the world as a member of this family, this household, this clan, this tribe, this city, this nation, this kingdom. There is no “I” apart from these.’ (McCormack 2015, 13)

In place of this ancient world view, our modern individualist democratic ideals slowly emerged. At its heart is the concept of rights, most influenced (as we saw above) by what I have been calling the Rationalist Perspective of modernity. But the notion of rights did not emerge uncontested, particularly from what I have called the Naturalist Perspective of modernity. It was the Second World War, McCormack contends, that was the turning point in this regard: Bentham rejected the Lockean notion that rights were anterior to the establishment of government. Without government, he argued, there can be no laws and therefore no security, no possibility of property, liberty or protection of weak against the strong. It was law, therefore, that provided rights for individuals. Until the end of the Second World War, it may be argued, this had become the dominant position regarding rights. However, the rise and fall of Nazi Germany initiated the idea that certain actions are absolutely wrong, no matter what the circumstances, regardless of whether those actions had been officially authorised by laws and decrees of government. Bentham’s argument was horrifically

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exposed as fundamentally lacking in the policies of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. In contrast, the safeguards explicit and implicit within the Bill of Rights (1689) and the American Constitution and its subsequent Bill of Rights were based upon the natural rights of each individual. (McCormack 2015, 19)

A consequence of this watershed, as Taylor rightly points out, is that in our time ‘the average person needs to do very little thinking about the basis of universal respect, for instance, because just about everyone accepts this as an axiom today’ (1989, 9). McCormack argues that the centrality of this notion of respect makes it the appropriate basis for the Values and Standards of the British Army, and by implication that this notion is central to preventing battlefield ethical failures by British Army troops. As I show below, I think McCormack is only half right, and it is my contention that basing military ethics solely on what I  have here called the Rationalist Perspective is potentially harmful. This uncontested assumption of universal respect for rights has had a very significant, and often unrecognized, impact on contemporary thinking about the ethics of war, as articulated in an important recent book by political theorist and Just War thinker Valerie Morkevicius. Morkevicius rightly challenges the practice of referring to Western thought about the ethics of war as ‘Just War Theory’ (a sin of which I have myself been guilty) and goes on to show that this discipline admits of much variation within its fuzzy boundaries and is much better described as the ‘Just War Tradition’ (JWT).6 This is not just a pedantic terminological point  – using the word ‘theory’ evokes ‘a legalistic collection of principles and rules that could be “used as a kind of moral slide-rule” ’, which goes contrary to the history of this kind of thought which has been ‘a tradition of practical reasoning, emphasizing the analysis of real cases more than the refinement of principles. … As a tradition  – a sort of common language  – it “gathers together the learning of previous generations”, to help us ask the right questions [to] guide our decision-making in the present’ (Morkevicius 2018, 20). While the origins of the Western JWT are very firmly rooted in the Christian theology of thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas, the contemporary manifestations of the tradition are overwhelmingly secular in their assumptions. Of these, there are three main approaches, what Morkevicius calls neoclassical, Walzerian or revisionist. Neoclassical thinkers are those who draw on the history of the Western just war tradition (and sometimes non-Western traditions) to think critically about how the classical just

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Morality and Ethics at War war principles can be interpreted and reinterpreted to analyse the moral problems of contemporary war. … [I]n this view our ‘conversations with past generations’ can help us recognize our own parochialism, reminding us that our own situatedness can limit our imaginations. (Morkevicius 2018, 21)

The second group are Walzerian, those who follow in Michael Walzer’s footsteps, referring broadly to the historical tradition, but fundamentally deriving their ethical conclusions from their moral intuitions. … Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars revitalized just war thinking in the West, melding the traditional Christian language of the just war criteria with secular legal and philosophical arguments. Like neoclassical just war thinkers, the Walzerian approach is collectivist, emphasising groups rather than individuals. Indeed, like structural realism, the Walzerian approach is decidedly statist. (Morkevicius 2018, 22)

Finally there are the newcomers, ‘the revisionists or reductionists [who] approach just war thinking from a radically different perspective. Although they use the language of just war, revisionists have radically reimagined the logics of just war thinking by reasoning from the individual up’ (Morkevicius 2018, 22). If the number of neoclassical Just War thinkers are dwindling, revisionist thinking about the ethics of war is a growth industry. And the impact of the influence of this perspective is considerable. Morkevicius points out that there are two primary trajectories which emerge from revisionist thought.7 First is a deep belief in the efficacy of a ‘robust, norm-governed international society. In this society war is not a tool, but a destructive force. … This perspective limits any possible justification of war to self-defense, which (by definition) turns all other wars into crimes’ (p. 197). In some cases this individual rights-based approach goes even further. For example, one of the leading figures of the revisionist movement, David Rodin, has argued that the right to self-defence, which revisionists take as the fundamental basis for any right to use force, cannot be extrapolated to support a right of states to defend themselves. So even the very limited scope that this trend in Just War thinking has allowed for states to engage in war is thus closed down altogether. The only basis, following Rodin’s argument, for justified ‘military action against an aggressive state’ is not self-defence, but rather ‘as a form of law enforcement’. But there is a necessary condition for this justification to work:  ‘such a justification is unlikely to prove effective without the establishment of something like a minimal universal state’ (Rodin 2002, 163).

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Where traditional Just War thinkers developed principles for the interaction of states in the international arena, then, revisionists push for the end of states as we know them. Where the first trajectory that Morkevicius identifies as emerging from revisionist thought radically restricts (or in Rodin’s case negates) the principles of the jus ad bellum, the second takes aim at the principles of the jus in bello. Taking the human rights of the individual as the fixed and unwavering starting point for thinking about war gives rise to ‘a presumption against killing’ (Morkevicius 2018, 219). As a consequence, Revisionists argue that the traditional combatant/noncombatant distinction is insufficient. Instead of focusing broadly on individuals’ status, revisionists assert that individual determinations of their liability to be harmed must be made. Only individuals posing an active and unjust threat to the other are liable; all others must be spared. The result is that a few noncombatants are indeed partially liable (because they participate directly in war-related efforts, such as government work or armament manufacturing). Simultaneously, many combatants end up not being liable – including all combatants fighting for a just cause, and even some combatants fighting for an unjust cause, if the latter have been coerced into fighting, or play minor roles only indirectly related to the war effort (such as cooks and drivers). Drawing such fine lines makes even self-defence ‘a morally risky activity’, in which ‘we run a substantial risk of wrongdoing’. (Morkevicius 2018, 219–20)

The respect for individual humanity driving this view of the Just War is unquestionably powerful; how could one help but be moved by it? But it is vital that we be clear-eyed about both the underlying assumptions and the outcomes of such a view. Its power relies in part on a vigorous optimism about ‘the possibility of a stable, peaceful international society’ alongside a deep pessimism about ‘the possibility of war serving as a useful tool for the preservation of order and the restoration of justice’ (Morkevicius 2018, 197). The resulting standpoint is one which trends strongly, if not overwhelmingly, towards pacifism. If war is only ever (or not even) justified in cases of national self-defence, and within the authority of the United Nations, wars that meet these revised ad bellum conditions become vanishingly rare. Likewise, if only those who are individually liable to harm in the strict sense expounded by the revisionists may be killed, fighting actual wars which live up to the revised strictures of the jus in bello becomes nigh on impossible. ‘Unfortunately, the idea of a war that does not endanger civilians (nor target non-liable combatants) is pure fiction’ (Morkevicius 2018, 220). Perhaps

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the most stinging response to revisionist Just War thinking has come from Michael Walzer himself. Writing in response to a paper by arch-revisionist Jeff McMahan, Walzer wrote, ‘What Jeff McMahan means to provide in this essay is a careful and precise account of individual responsibility in time of war. What he actually provides, I think, is a careful and precise account of what individual responsibility in war would be like if war were a peacetime activity’ (Walzer 2006, 43). Some revisionist thinkers resist, awkwardly, the call of pacifism. But then another troubling trajectory emerges – liberal crusading: A heaping dose of optimism and confidence in the possibility of creating a liberal peace through remaking troubled states leads to well-meaning liberal imperialism. The aims are well intentioned  – the desire for justice and human rights is one that traditional just war theorists can understand – but also impossible to achieve through force. Violence can be used to check violence. Violence can be used to deny others the ability to control territory. But violence cannot change the way others think about politics, or alter the values they hold – even if the threat of hurt may alter their behaviour for a season. (Morkevicius 2018, 224)

If we are inclined to resist pacifism, if we believe along with Augustine and most of the historical figures of the JWT that war is both sometimes necessary and a legitimate tool to achieve justice, and if we are also inclined to reject liberal crusading, then we must ask ourselves, what has gone wrong? Morkevicius contends that the answer lies in our mistaken, and widely held, view that the JWT is a middle path between the Scylla and Charybdis of pacifism and realism  – ‘In the academy, just war thinking’s opposition to realism is treated as axiomatic’ (Morkevicius 2018, 10). Against this she makes a compelling case for her view that, in fact, the JWT, properly understood, has always been a fellow traveller to realism, the ‘Realist Ethics’ of the title of her book. Morkevicius identifies five typical features that characterize the positions of realists: 1. Realists view human nature pessimistically. 2. Realists treat groups as the primary unit of analysis for thinking about politics. 3. Realists believe that groups are inherently competitive. 4. Realists assume that the international system is anarchic. 5. Realists see themselves as participating in a tradition of statecraft, aimed at managing the disorder of the international system. (p. 17)

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Morkevicius contends that traditional Just War thinkers  – across the Christian, Islamic and Hindu traditions  – along with their contemporary neoclassical and Walzerian counterparts, share all five of these traits. Revisionists, by contrast, share none of them, ‘except, perhaps, the last. Focusing on individual rights and duties and the possibility of achieving a truly ideal set of principles for war fighting, revisionism has more in common with liberal idealism than it does with realism’ (pp. 23–4). What makes the (non-revisionist) JWT distinct from realism is not, as many mistakenly believe, a presumption against violence or a view that war is necessarily an evil. Morkevicius shows convincingly that both realists and (non-revisionist) Just War thinkers see war as a tool of statecraft. The key difference is, instead, that Just War thinkers add to the pragmatic impulse of realists a commitment to justice: Nearly every iteration of just war theory begins with the premise that wars are fought for the sake of peace. This can only make sense if ‘peace’ in this context is something different than the mere absence of war. Although peace is a good, not every peace is worthy of the name. An unjust peace – characterized by instability, persistent threat, or tyranny – is no peace. … The appropriate aim of war is not simply peace, but peace with justice  – in other words, the establishment of a just order. (Morkevicius 2018, 32)

In answer to our question, ‘What has gone wrong?’ Morkevicius argues strongly for a return to a realist ethics of war:  ‘A firmly realist just war approach can avoid two pitfalls into which liberal idealism can fall at its extremes  – paralysis in the face of massive injustices and the tendency to crusade for the advancement of particular liberal aims’ (2018, 6). There is much more that could be said about Morkevicius’s excellent analysis, but that would be to move outside of the scope of this book. Instead, I want to pick up on a niggling worry about her contention that states ought to rediscover the realist impulse within the JWT and in so doing resist the revisionist push to take individual human rights as the unmoving basis for all thinking about the use of force in war. I agree wholeheartedly with her conclusions, but what is missing from the story for our purposes is how we connect this view of the Just War to the underlying philosophy of the liberal democratic state. Morkevicius is of course right in saying, ‘Just war thinking, far from being idealistic or utopian, is a tradition of theorizing about policy’ (p. 27). But policy is not, or at least should not be, a realm detached from the nature of the state itself. Revisionists, by placing human dignity at the heart of their approach to the use of military force as a policy tool, clearly and

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unambiguously tap into a central feature of the underlying philosophy of the liberal democratic state. Realism, on the other hand, is generally considered to be an approach that is agnostic to the nature of a state’s constitutional order – but this is a troubling stance. So how, then, are we to ground a realist ethics about war in the foundational conception of liberal democracy? The answer, I  think, comes in recognizing that the problem with the revisionist approach is that it leaves out half of the story. The same critique applies, I  believe, to McCormack’s attempt to ground the British Army’s Values and Standards solely on a platform of respect. I  am confident that McCormack would be deeply uncomfortable with being categorized with revisionists, but it seems clear that he has unintentionally found himself on the same ground. The clue to what has been overlooked in leading to this situation lies in Morkevicius’s observation that ‘as a tradition of statecraft, realism is essentially consequentialist. Realists emphasize the “duties of leadership”, pointing out that “with leadership comes responsibility for others, and this means sometimes having to do things that would be abhorrent to a private party” ’ (2018, 18–19). The JWT retains much of this consequentialist outlook in its strong concern with order. At the same time, however, the JWT adds a deep commitment to justice. What we are looking for, then, is a way to ground both the consequentialist and the justice-focused impulses that drive the JWT within the philosophy of the liberal state. To do so, it is worth recollecting our brief discussion of the constraints on the use of lethal force by the state against its citizens in the domestic context. We saw then that there are two constraints embedded within the social contract that defines the liberal state. First, there is the deep commitment to human rights which comes to us via the Rationalist Perspective, based on the Kant-inspired notion of human dignity that we moderns take as axiomatic. Often obscured by this constraint is the second: the use of lethal force against non-liable citizens undermines the fundamental rationale of entering into the social contract in the first place, which is to ensure the protection of those who fall within its scope. The latter consideration is fundamentally consequentialist, and lines up broadly with the Utilitarian position that is the most prominent representative of what I have here called the Naturalist Perspective. My claim here is that, in order to do justice to both the rights imperative within liberalism as well as the consequentialist imperative for the state to protect its citizenry that is the prime justification for the social contract, states must pursue policy in the international realm that reflects both of these fundamental commitments. That is what I  mean when I  say that revisionist Just War thinkers, and others like Philip McCormack, leave out half of the story. By focusing only on individual human rights they neglect a

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fundamental part of the justification of the liberal state, namely the protective role of the social contract. It is thus not surprising that revisionists have trouble with ideas like the state’s right to defend itself above and beyond the individual acts of self-defence by its citizens. Note, also, how recognizing the importance of the consequentialist protective impetus of the social contract positions state policy comfortably within the orbit of the realist ethics of the JWT that Morkevicius describes. The ethics of war for the liberal state must unquestionably take strong cognizance of the human rights of individuals affected by war, but the liberal state must at the same time stay true to its responsibility under the social contract to ensure the protection of its citizens. To put it another way, states must blend a commitment to justice with the consequentialist prudence of realism. As Morkevicius explains, States have the right to defend themselves because states are the agents through which domestic justice is constructed. State governance is necessary to create stable human communities within which human individuals can flourish. This differs, of course, from the realist account in which states defend themselves because sovereignty is the necessary basis of the post-Westphalian world order in which they exist. … Justice on the second level argues that states not only have a right to defend themselves, but they also have the right (and perhaps a duty) to right wrongs. And there are a good many wrongs needing to be rectified. States may come to the defense of other states that have fallen victim to aggression. States may also respond directly to the peoples of other states, who suffer under tyrants. … While the nature of the wrongs is disputed and shifting, the underlying principle – that states may use force to expand the sphere of justice internationally – has deep roots. (Morkevicius 2018, 33)

Conclusion I began this chapter by setting a key parameter for the argument of this book: that I am solely focused on addressing states and their military forces (and the individuals who make up those forces) which fall under the umbrella of liberalism. At the core of liberalism is what Gaus calls the Fundamental Liberty Principle, the view that ‘freedom is normatively basic, and so the onus of justification is on those who would limit freedom, especially through coercive means’ (Gaus and Courtland 2011). That commitment to individual freedom gives rise to the social contract, in which the state’s right to exercise power over its citizens is defined in terms of a hypothetical deal in which citizens agree with one another to submit to the authority of

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the state in exchange for the state’s guarantee that each person will be given the maximum liberty possible that is consistent with a rights-respecting and regulated society. The commitment to human rights embedded in liberalism and the prudential nature of the social contract both independently restrict the state from using lethal force against citizens in the domestic context, except where citizens threaten the right to life of other citizens or act in such a way as to threaten the protections provided by the social contract. Beyond these strong but narrow and thin moral principles that define the liberal state, the Fundamental Liberty Principle requires states to allow as much space for individual freedom as possible and thus seek to avoid enacting laws and following policies which favour or disfavour any of the conceptions of the good life that comport with the bounds of liberalism. I then moved on to consider the ethics of war, following the lead of Philip McCormack in drawing on Charles Taylor to ground military ethics in the foundational philosophical underpinnings of liberalism. I  contended that McCormack’s account, while important and groundbreaking, falls short in focusing only on the commitment to human dignity that results from the Rationalist Perspective of modernity. Drawing on Valerie Morkevicius’s excellent analysis of the JWT, I showed how a similar singular commitment to individual human rights is at the heart of revisionist approaches to the ethics of war, and how that commitment pushes revisionists either towards a contingent form of pacifism or towards liberal crusading. I argued that the problem in both cases is that the consequentialist requirement of the social contract, the responsibility of the state to provide for the security of its citizens, is overlooked. It is only when the state’s responsibility for the security of its citizens is weighed equally with the more visible commitment to rights that we arrive at an ethics of war which fits comfortably with the ‘realist ethics’ that Morkevicius shows is a defining feature of the (non-revisionist) JWT. Of course, there is much more that could, and should, be said about the specific nature of an approach to the ethics of war which is in accord with the broad flow of the JWT but which is specifically responsible to the underlying philosophy of the liberal democratic state. That, however, is not the purpose of this book. Instead I am here focused on addressing, as the subtitle of the book indicates, the gaps between the soldier and the state at the level of morality and ethics. My contention is that, if left unbridged, the gap between the thin and narrow morality of the state (and the ethics of war that emerges from that morality), on the one hand, and the deep, wide and rich morality of the individual personal identity of individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, on the other, is a significant locus for moral injury. Accordingly, the next chapter is dedicated to articulating an account of the phenomenon that has come to be known by the term ‘moral injury’.

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Moral pain and moral injury

‘There is nothing new in the claim that human beings are affected by armed conflict, as either combatants or civilians. … While many wounds to the physical body can heal and leave no continuing legacy, unseen wounds to the mind and the spirit are often deeply felt and long lasting’ (Frame 2015, 1). What is new is a growing recognition that some of these unseen wounds are, at their base, moral in nature.1 The idea that someone could suffer as a consequence of a ‘moral injury’ began to gain traction in the latter part of the first decade of the millennium, particularly among researchers engaged in treating the ‘unseen wounds’ of US military personnel returned from active service in Afghanistan and Iraq. As my colleague Tom Frame notes, ‘initially, moral injury was seen as a subset of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] that manifested itself principally in a disordered personal values system’ (2015, 2). There is, however, now an increasing trend towards viewing moral injury as something distinct, albeit a kind of ‘unseen wound’ that is often comorbid with PTSD. While there is a growing recognition that moral injury is a genuine phenomenon, there remains a lack of clarity over what, precisely, defines moral injury. In this chapter I  seek to develop as comprehensive a picture of this phenomenon as I  am able, given our current understanding. I  also go deeper than the existing scholarship on this topic to explore how moral injury relates to the morally defined conception of personal identity that I drew from Charles Taylor’s work in Chapter 1. First, however, I offer some incomplete reflections on how our changing conception of the world has, arguably, increased the likelihood that combatants and others exposed to war2 will suffer from this malady.

Moral injury and war in a changing world Before plunging into an exploration of moral injury itself, it is worth us asking just what it is about the world today that has brought this malady to the fore, such that we are now acknowledging it.3 If my account of moral injury below

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is sound, then it seems likely that the phenomenon itself is not new, and perhaps it is simply the fact that we are now more attuned and aware that has enabled us to recognize its existence. Perhaps, but it does seem to me that there are some features of our contemporary social environment which increase the likelihood that military and associated personnel will experience moral harm. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, I want to highlight three of those factors here, what I call (with, I hope, excusable hyperbole) ‘the end of war’, ‘the end of evil’ and ‘the end of “them” ’.

The end of war In The Crossroad, Australian Special Air Service soldier and Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Mark Donaldson describes one of his more intense combat actions when fighting alongside Special Forces colleagues during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. The firefight took place in a small village. Donaldson found himself engaging enemy fighters displaying stubborn resistance from inside a room in one of the village’s buildings. To add to the confusion of the moment, Donaldson’s highly trained combat assault dog, ‘Devil’, was behaving in an uncharacteristic manner: Devil was meant to stay by my side during a gunfight, but he’d kept wandering off to a room less than three metres to my right. While shooting, I called, ‘Devil!’ He came over, but then disappeared again into another room behind me, against my orders. We threw more grenades at the enemy in the first room, before I heard a commotion behind me. Devil was dragging out an insurgent who’d been hiding on a firewood ledge with a gun. If one of us had gone in, he would have had a clear shot at our head. Even now, as he was wrestling with Devil, he was trying to get control of his gun. I shot him. (Donaldson 2013, 375)

That particular enemy ‘killed-in-action’ was one of thirty enemy fighters killed in the engagement as part of what Donaldson describes with characteristic understatement as ‘a full day’s fighting’ (2013, 377). From the perspective of a warfighter, it was a successful day’s work overall because he managed to stay alive when many of the enemy were dead. But the chapter of the book describing this engagement ends with Donaldson expressing puzzlement and moral frustration: Some time after the big fight, I was training with Devil. A senior officer was asking me why, on that day, so many people had had to die. I had a simple answer. ‘Sir, they were trying to kill us.’ I explained in detail about

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being in that house, at close quarters, with those guns firing at us out of rooms. I explained what Devil had done, and how I’d shot the man who was fighting with Devil while trying to get his gun aimed at me. The officer said, ‘Did you try to detain him?’ I was dumbfounded. The question showed a complete lack of understanding. We were in a war situation, not a policing situation. There’s often a lot of exaggerated talk about ‘kill or be killed’, but this time, that was what it was. If I, or others that day, had not killed, then we wouldn’t be here today and my children would not have a dad. (Donaldson 2013, 378)

This episode offers us a small glimpse into the moral ambiguity that emerges from what we might call, with more than a little hyperbole but not entirely inaccurately, ‘the end of war’. In war the moral rules are fairly clear. It is, as Donaldson rightly says, ‘kill or be killed’: In that situation all I  was thinking was, protect yourself, get a good sight picture, squeeze. This insurgent had a gun. You don’t have time to analyse it. In war, you’re aware that somewhere out there is a bullet that might be coming at you. You don’t know where it’s going to come from, but everything you do is to stop that happening. All your tactics are to stop that. It’s not a thug’s game; it’s tactical and clear-headed. But it is life and death. (Donaldson 2013, 375)

It is impossible not to hear the demand for moral legitimacy in Donaldson’s statement: ‘We were in a war situation, not a policing situation.’ But do our combatants actually fight wars anymore? Of course they fight, there’s no doubt about that. As Donaldson’s book attests, for those on the ground the combat is no less harrowing and deadly than in any previous war. But as the soldier-scholar Emile Simpson, a former British Army officer, has argued in his critically acclaimed book War from the Ground Up, the fighting in Afghanistan is possibly best understood not as war at all but as an exercise in what he calls ‘armed politics’ (Simpson 2012). It is, I hasten to add, no criticism of Mark Donaldson that he interpreted his engagement on that day through the lens of war. Simpson, who completed three tours of Afghanistan as an infantry officer in the Royal Gurkha Rifles, relates his personal experience of a combat action in the Baluchi Valley of Uruzgan Province in October 2007. He then asks, How do we understand this event? On the one hand, we can see it through the concept of battle: one company did this, another company did that, and the enemy responded in a particular way. Within this military frame

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Morality and Ethics at War of reference, the outcome of the battle is an evolution of the military situation: success or failure is judged according to one’s position relative to the enemy. If one asks a commander what is going on during a battle, the typical response will be a briefing, describing arrows on a map illustrating friendly and enemy forces. In this sense the concept of battle allocates a rational meaning to events. What could be seen as several men fighting somewhat chaotically is rationalised as the articulation of a military plan that gives meaning to the actions of individuals. … In Afghanistan today the support of the people is vital to the outcome of the conflict for all sides. However, the peasants of the Baluchi Valley would not have seen the battle in terms of arrows on maps. For them it is not a ‘company clearance of an objective as part of a wider battlegroup operation’, which it was for us; they would not have known what that was. The discourse of battle we use to understand the phenomenon we are in makes little sense to them. From their homes they see snapshots of the battle between us and the Taliban and hear about other incidents from their friends. Their primary interest is the safety and property of themselves and their fellow villagers, usually far more so than the wider political struggle between the Taliban and the government. … We may well have ‘won’ the battle in our own definition of the event, but members of the audience will have their own political interpretation of the event, be it apathy, anger, satisfaction, or disappointment. … Once we acknowledge that people’s political views matter to our own definition of success or failure, an exclusively military definition of success or failure relative to the enemy in battle is insufficient. (Simpson 2012, 21–3)

As Simpson explains, war – as understood by Carl von Clausewitz (1780– 1831) and almost all of the influential strategists of the modern era  – is a seesaw-like arrangement, where two foes face one another and a decline in the fortunes of one equates to an advantage to the other. The war in Afghanistan, argues Simpson, is something far more complex and ambiguous. This assessment seems unlikely to change. David Kilcullen’s prescient work Out of the Mountains (2013) reminds us that demographic and social realities are inexorably driving the future conflict environment and the likely shape of operations. Future armed conflict will be driven, Kilcullen argues, by massive population growth and urbanization. Both trends will have greatest impact in the developing world. As a consequence, combatants will find themselves fighting amorphous hybrid opponents in densely populated areas with all the moral complexity that environment brings with it. To complicate matters further, ‘the democratisation of technology’, Kilcullen contends, is affecting all aspects of human life and, at least in relation to warfare, is breaking down

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classical distinctions between governments and individuals, between zones of war and zones of peace, between civilians and combatants, and therefore between traditional concepts such as ‘war’ and ‘crime’ or ‘domestic’ and ‘international’ (Kilcullen 2013, 176). This is clearly an important source of the moral ambiguity that faces today’s military personnel.

The end of evil The second factor that ought to be highlighted, if some hyperbole can be excused, is what might be called ‘the end of evil’. In her discussion of the moral harm caused by Great War atrocity propaganda, Emily Robertson explains that its success (when it was successful) relied on a pervasive existing belief in the rightness of one’s own cause opposed to (as she puts it) ‘the inhumanity of the militaristic enemy’ (2015, 45). Put another way, it depended on a deep-seated belief in the existence of both good and evil. While that was certainly a source of moral problems, as Robertson has made clear, today’s military personnel must wrestle with a moral world in which the notion of evil has lost most of its power. Readers of a certain age might recall how shrill President George Bush sounded when he first spoke in 2002 of ‘the Axis of Evil’. Part of the problem, of course, was that there was no actual ‘axis’. But ‘evil’ – really? He might have done better if he had referred instead to the ‘Axis of Assholes’ – that would perhaps have resonated more readily with contemporary audiences! We are more than willing to categorize others as rude, obnoxious, misguided, self-aggrandizing, stupid, aggressive, insane and even dangerous – but evil? In an era when, in the West at least, legal sanctions are designed to reform and rehabilitate rather than to punish, the whole notion of evil sticks in our collective throats. When the right-wing extremist Anders Breivik was tried in Norway for killing seventyseven people in 2011 (most of them adolescents who had been attending a youth camp), it was the defence, not the prosecution, who fought tooth and nail to establish that Breivik was sane and could be held legally responsible for his actions. Such a posture was necessary because the default setting in Norwegian society, and in most Western societies, is that someone who is capable of committing such horrific acts must be insane rather than evil. The British professor of psychopathology Simon Baron-Cohen (cousin of comedic actor Sasha Baron-Cohen) has proposed in The Science of Evil that we should replace the unscientific term ‘evil’ with the scientifically sound notion of ‘empathy’ (Baron-Cohen 2012). In sum, people are not evil; rather, they have no empathy. The problem with those we have traditionally deemed evil, says Baron-Cohen, is that they experience a fault in what he calls the ‘empathy circuit’ of the brain.

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It is an overstatement, of course, to talk of the end of evil. Many (perhaps most) people, if asked, would say that they still believe in evil. But the point is that it is no longer a clear-cut notion or an idea that we can simply trust to our intuitions. The idea of evil is contested and metaphysically awkward in the secular humanist, materialist post-Christian world of most Western societies. This reality sits uncomfortably with the traditional warrior ethos, invested as it is in an image reinforced by a thousand Hollywood epics, of the heroic fighter standing firm against the dark tide of the enemy. This tension robs our combatants of conviction and invites a degree of moral uncertainty, particularly about the act of killing. This is not to say that we should pine for the black-and-white certainty of the past. As Robertson has explained, that certainty was responsible for all sorts of, dare we say it, evil. My point here is simply to highlight the fact that the ‘end’ of evil places considerably more moral ambiguity and complexity on military personnel who must negotiate their way between the certainty of the past, which still has considerable pull, and the brave new world of psychology and neuroscience.

The end of ‘them’ The final factor to be highlighted is what I  call the end of ‘them’. I  grew up in two deeply divided societies. The first was the country then known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the second, South Africa. While both countries suffered from several deep social divisions, the most obvious and painful was the divide between black and white. That division was reinforced by oppressive legal discrimination against indigenous African, Asian and mixed-race citizens, particularly under South Africa’s system of apartheid. But the partition was so much more than merely legal. It was a divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’ that went to the very heart of all of us. If a white South African spoke of ‘they’ or ‘them’, there was no need to ask whom they had in mind. When I tell my students that only white children were allowed to go to the schools I attended, they look at me as if they cannot quite grasp the idea of apartheid. They suspect I exaggerate. Surely, they ask, the reality did not reflect the policy? It seems such an alien notion that people should, or even must, be kept apart on the basis of skin colour. Institutional racism is, of course, alive and well in many parts of the world. Sadly, less formal racism is still a feature of Western societies. The notable change is the absence of any hint that racism could possibly be deemed legitimate. Even the most outspoken racists must justify their claims and offer denials that their positions are, indeed, racist. The same goes for a series of other ‘us’ and ‘them’

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categories that were for so long uncontroversial features of Western societies. Whatever dark misogyny lurks in individual hearts, and whatever systemic discrimination remains below the surface, it would simply be impossible to loudly proclaim in a Western liberal democracy that women are deserving of lesser status than men. Jews, Gypsies, the illegitimate, the disabled … we no longer live in a world where anyone can point and refer to ‘them’ and expect any respect. There is plainly still much work to be done in dissolving discrimination in our world. But it is undeniable that we are seeing the fruits of the intensification of the individualism that Charles Taylor traces back to, among other factors, the ‘affirmation of ordinary life’ that spun out of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation (Taylor 1989). This individualism, in its purest form, has no place for ‘us’ and ‘them’, only ‘me’ and ‘you’. Globalization and multiculturalism have contributed to the end of ‘them’ too. The end of ‘them’ is almost entirely a good thing. It is certainly hard to imagine contemporary Westerners openly and unreservedly expressing anything akin to the visceral blanket hatred of ‘the brutish Hun’ that spread after news circulated of the atrocities committed by the German Army in Belgium during the first three months of the Great War. But there remains the temptation to demonize some individuals and groups among political leaders keen to persuade their constituents of the need for military action. In recent times the supporters of the so-called ‘apocalyptic death cult’, Islamic State (IS), have been called ‘black monsters’ and ‘mindless fanatics’ by those outraged at the barbaric acts they have deliberately perpetrated to inflame Western passions in the name of their religion. In the minds of Western leaders, IS fighters and others like them have abandoned their humanity and turned their backs on all the vestiges of civilized conduct. While they walk the earth, it is alleged, no civilized human being is safe. This kind of talk is an echo of the demonization of all Germans during 1914–18 and is the source of disease. Being able to lump ‘them’ together morally enabled a degree of clarity (albeit a false one) that is no longer easily available even while the attraction of that certainty and simplicity still tugs at us. It is also, as I discuss in Chapter 6, a significant risk factor for ethical failure on the battlefield. But it is hard to overstate the pressure today’s combatants face from society’s expectation that they will evaluate each potential target on his or her individual merits, as a ‘you’. Is my opponent a volunteer or is he fighting under duress? Is he an ‘accidental guerrilla’ or a committed terrorist? Is the woman who is hiding ammunition under her burqa helping the insurgents because she is a genuine convert to their cause, or is she motivated by griefdriven rage seeking vengeance for the child she lost in an air strike? ‘You’, not ‘them’.

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A typology of moral injury There remains enough dispute over what, precisely, the notion of moral injury refers to that some scholars are still uncomfortable with the term. Deanna Messervey and Jennifer Peach, for example, were unable to bring themselves to use the term when they wrote in 2014 that ‘research shows that perpetrating an unethical act can cause operational stress injuries (OSI), such as depression and PTSD. Even witnesses to unethical acts can suffer psychological harm’ (Messervey and Peach 2014, 84). But that reluctance is increasingly fading in the face of studies like the one carried out by Kent D. Dresher and his colleagues, which reported that the following symptoms of moral injury were not adequately covered by PTSD: social problems, loss of trust or sense of betrayal, spiritual/existential issues or loss of meaning, psychological and social functioning problems and self-deprecation. Similarly, Drescher summarises research studies that have reported on a range of emotional and behavioural consequences of war that go beyond the symptoms of PTSD as follows:  negative changes in ethical attitudes and behaviour; change in or loss of spirituality; guilt, shame and forgiveness problems; anhedonia and dysphoria; reduced trust in others and in social/cultural contracts; aggressive behaviour; and poor self-care. (Phelps et  al. 2015, 158)

Perhaps understandably there has been a tendency among those working from the perspectives of psychology or medicine to want to address this phenomenon clinically, but as Tom Frame rightly points out, ‘to say a person has incurred a moral injury is not to suggest they have a mental illness or a psychological disorder. The health of a person’s soul and state of their moral being are not the privileged possessions of behavioural scientists’ (2015, 2). Matthew Beard, in addressing the ‘largely unspoken disciplinary tension concerning the academic discipline and intellectual framework that is best suited to addressing moral injury’, identifies two distinct (though perhaps not exhaustive) perspectives on moral injury, what he calls the therapeutic and the philosophical ‘gazes’. In the therapeutic gaze ‘moral’ is secondary to ‘injury’: the emphasis is on healing. Among the pioneering early scholars to seek to define moral injury, few have been as influential as clinical psychiatrist Jonathan Shay, whose groundbreaking book Achilles in Vietnam:  Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character played a significant role in opening up this topic. Beard identifies Shay as a clear representative of ‘the therapeutic

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gaze’. In Shay’s terminology, ‘a person “broken” by combat has lost the capacity for a sense of well-being, self-respect, confidence and satisfaction – all attributes that we lump together in our concept of happiness’ (Shay 1995, 174–5). ‘This’, Beard notes, ‘strongly suggests that moral injury needs healing’ (Beard 2015, 113). In contrast, the philosophical gaze places the emphasis on the ‘moral’ in ‘moral injury’: The philosophical gaze considers moral injury within a normative context: asking which emotions and responses are morally appropriate for a person to feel in relation to their particular experience? It assesses these reactions not in terms of their (mal)adaptivity and psychological benefit, but how they relate to the moral nature of the traumatic event in question. So, even maladaptive guilt and shame that causes psychological distress may be appropriate given what one has done, suffered or witnessed. (Beard 2015, 114)

The most widely used definitions of moral injury are that put forward by Shay and that developed by fellow clinical psychologist Brett Litz and his colleagues. In Shay’s account a moral injury is a ‘soul wound inflicted by doing something that violates one’s own ethics, ideals, or attachments’ (Shay 2012, 57), while Litz and his colleagues define it as ‘maladaptive’ beliefs which arise from ‘perpetrating, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations’ (Litz et al. 2009, 700). Applying the philosophical ‘gaze’ enables us to see that these definitions only address part of the phenomenon that is moral injury. My colleague Ned Dobos calls this aspect of moral injury ‘moral trauma’, a category which encapsulates moral injuries involving ‘an arousal of the moral emotions, such as guilt and shame, to the extent they have become debilitating’ (Dobos 2015, 126). The overlooked part of moral injury is what Dobos insightfully identifies as ‘moral degradation’. What occurs in such cases is ‘a corruption or corrosion of the moral emotions. The soldier does not feel morally troubled by what they have done or failed to do, but they should. The individual fails to manifest the moral emotions in an appropriate way.’ We can distinguish these two forms of injury, Dobos argues, as follows: ‘A soldier [who] suffers moral trauma feels like a bad person. A  soldier [who] suffers moral degradation is a bad person, or a worse person than he was prior to deployment’ (2015, 126). Two examples should help illustrate the key difference between moral trauma and moral degradation.

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In her analysis of the relationship between atrocity propaganda and moral injury, Emily Robertson offers a helpful (albeit fictional) example which illustrates moral trauma and its effects: At the end of Martin Boyd’s Great War novel, When Blackbirds Sing, former soldier Dominic Langton throws his medals into the middle of a pond. For Dominic, the medals symbolise his role in the war not as a hero, but as a murderer. They had been ‘given [to] him for his share in inflicting … suffering’; the Military Cross was awarded for the ‘worst thing he had ever done’. Dominic’s action shocks his wife Helena who has endured her husband’s prolonged absence. She ‘firmly believed … that the war was a struggle not only for their survival, but for that of every decent human instinct’. Boyd closes When Blackbirds Sing on this moment, when an insuperable gap has opened up between husband and wife. The wife still passionately believes in the justification for war, and the husband, having had the experience of killing for that belief, has rejected it. Today we might say that Dominic had been morally injured by his experience of fighting in the war. The source of his injury had been his visitation of ‘violence and destruction upon others … with societal sanction’. (Robertson 2015, 35)

Contrast this experience with that of US Marine Stephen Canty. Dobos uses Canty’s account of killing a man in Afghanistan, as relayed to journalist David Wood, to illustrate moral degradation: On his second combat deployment in Afghanistan, Canty shot and killed an Afghan who was dragged into the Marines’ combat outpost just before he died. ‘I just lit him up’, he recalled, brushing his long hair out of his eyes. ‘One of the bullets bounced off his spinal cord and came out his eyeball, and he’s laying there in a wheelbarrow clinging to the last seconds of his life, and he’s looking up at me with one of his eyes and just pulp in the other. And I was like 20 years old at the time. I just stared down at him … and walked away. And I  will … never feel anything about that. I literally just don’t care whatsoever.’ (Wood 2014)

Dobos’s identification of this second form of moral injury is critical because it cues us in to the form of moral injury which is most likely to result in unethical conduct on the battlefield, a topic I discuss in depth in Chapter 6. But while Canty’s case shows a particularly damaging – and ethically risky – form of moral degradation, it is important to recognize that it can take other forms as well. Another example Dobos gives is that of a loss of trust: if, as

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many virtue theorists contend, being trusting is the appropriate golden mean between gullibility and suspicion, having an experience which results in an inability to trust where doing so is appropriate is a form of moral degradation, one which would manifest itself quite differently to the moral degradation Canty experienced. It is important that we do not miss the qualifier that Dobos adds to his perhaps too quick description of a person suffering from moral degradation as a ‘bad person’: An individual might be in a morally degraded state without being blameworthy or culpable for that fact. In other words, to say that someone has become morally degraded does not imply that we ought to condemn them. They are not a lesser person; they are a damaged person. Something has happened to them. What happened was not their fault but they live with the consequences. Insofar as a soldier suffers moral degradation in the course of fulfilling professional duties, it is sympathy – not censure – that we owe such a person. (Dobos 2015, 131)

There is one matter on which I find myself in disagreement with Dobos. He contends, ‘Moral trauma is not evidence of the destruction of moral fibres. On the contrary, it is evidence that an agent’s moral foundation is still solid, and that their moral compass is still responsive. Moral trauma might involve damage to an individual’s emotional or psychological wellbeing but it tells us nothing about an individual’s moral health’ (Dobos 2015, 131). I do not believe that this adequately accounts for the debilitating nature of moral trauma, which seems to me to indicate a problem that goes beyond the emotional and psychological, and indicates a form of deep moral damage, damage to the very nature of the self. It is helpful here, I think, to introduce another concept, an adaptation of what Rhiannon Nielsen calls ‘moral affront’. Unlike Dobos, and against the position of most analysts,4 Nielsen argues that moral injury ‘is specific to individuals who regard themselves as having committed or being responsible for a perceived immoral act’ whereas exposure to acts carried out by others constitutes ‘moral affront’. ‘Moral affront is experienced when an individual is confronted by or is the subject of an act that he or she perceives to be morally intolerable’ (Nielsen 2015, 135). While I think there is merit in the notion of moral affront, I reject the idea that being confronted by situations that are the responsibility of others will inevitably cause injury  – in this regard, my objection is similar to my concern about Dobos’s view that ‘moral trauma … tells us nothing about an individual’s moral health’. My colleague Tom Frame likes to distinguish between ‘moral pain’ and ‘moral

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injury’, and I think that’s a helpful way to see the difference. We certainly do experience ‘moral affront’ when we are exposed to injustices that are the results of the actions of others. Visiting a place like the Dachau concentration camp, as I did some years ago, is in a real sense morally painful – the horror one experiences at the mind-boggling inhumanity that was shown to the camp’s inmates is the experience of ‘moral affront’. Were someone not to experience moral pain in such a location that would be concerning, a sign perhaps that the moral ‘nervous system’ is not functioning as it ought. Going beyond Nielsen’s usage of the concept, it seems to me we can also add that we can experience moral affront when we are ourselves the authors of the morally unacceptable situation. In fact we often talk that way in the normal run of things – we might say something like, ‘Confronted with what I had done, I  felt a deep sense of shame.’ But such an experience, whether we ourselves or others are the source of the affront, need not necessarily do us deep damage. As with much of the physical pain we experience, we learn from it and move forward, and perhaps in some sense it makes our moral foundations stronger. ‘Trauma’, on the other hand, has a much stronger connotation. Physical trauma goes well beyond causing pain; it also involves significant and potentially long-lasting damage to the body. Likewise, psychological trauma goes well beyond simply causing distress; it is an experience that overwhelms the emotions and potentially causes long-term harm to psychological wellbeing. ‘Moral trauma’, then, is more than just experiencing moral distress; it is an experience which is more than we can cope with morally and which causes deep injury to our moral selves, injury which may have long-term effects. It seems to me that the distinction between ‘moral affront’ which causes ‘moral pain’, on the one hand, and ‘moral trauma’ which causes ‘moral injury’, on the other, gives us the best coverage of this issue. It is sometimes said that ‘to be alive is to be morally injured’, but this too easily trivializes moral injury – distinguishing between moral pain and moral injury helps to avoid that. This typology repurposes Dobos’s original use of ‘moral trauma’, however, so an additional terminological ‘tweak’ is needed. Dobos is right that moral injuries can take two forms, one that is experienced as ‘an arousal of the moral emotions, such as guilt and shame, to the extent they have become debilitating’ and another that is not experienced at all but is manifested by the deadening or loss of moral perceptions. For reasons that will become clear below, I  propose to call this first form of injury ‘moral dislocation’, while retaining Dobos’s terminology for the second, ‘moral degradation’.

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Moral injury and moral frameworks In Chapter  1 I  articulated, following Charles Taylor’s account, the moral structure of personal identity. I  showed that in understanding the self we must begin by examining the nature of our phenomenology, the structure of our lived experience. Such an examination reveals that we are strong evaluators, beings for whom the world is inescapably experienced in broadly moral terms:  we inescapably make ‘discriminations of right or wrong, better or worse, higher or lower, which are not rendered valid by our own desires, inclinations, or choices, but rather stand independent of these and offer standards by which they can be judged’ (Taylor 1989, 4). Our strong evaluations point to the life goods that centrally define our identities, by shaping our sense of what matters. But as we examine our moral experience further, we realize that our life goods are not random but instead take their places in a moral framework which defines how we live in the ‘space of questions’ in which we find ourselves. Frameworks are not the full story, however, for they are in turn shaped by higher-order goods, what Taylor calls ‘hypergoods’, which provide the source for the goodness of the ordinary life goods in the frameworks. Of course, not all of us are consciously aware of our frameworks or the hypergoods that define them. Articulation is necessary if we are to connect with these structures, and some descriptions of our moral selves will better account for our actual moral commitments than others. My contention here is that we cannot properly understand moral injury without grasping how it relates to the moral structure that so centrally defines us. Let us begin with what I have above called ‘moral affront’. In my conception this can occur when we are exposed to injustices which are the results of the actions of others, as we would in my example of visiting the Dachau concentration camp. In such a situation there is a significant clash between a properly functioning moral framework and the reality that is being confronted, such that we can expect to experience a form of discomfort, which we have referred to as ‘moral pain’. When this happens all is as it should be – it is right that we experience this moral discomfort; it would be concerning if we did not. Our moral framework provides us with a kind of moral sensory system, a conscience, which enables us to identify when things are not as they ought to be (and when they are). A similar situation can occur in which the moral pain is self-inflicted. A husband exposed as being engaged in a lustful adulterous affair will, unless something is very wrong, experience deep shame, and the nagging moral discomfort he has been suppressing up to that point is also indicative that his actions are in conflict with his internal moral structure. He has allowed his animal desires to override his true self. This too is moral affront.

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Moral affront, and therefore moral pain, are a normal and necessary part of our lives as embodied moral agents. Moral injury is not. As Nielsen rightly notes, ‘the very nature of the term injury suggests that what was once whole or complete is now damaged or harmed. The notion suggests damage to a person’s moral convictions about how others and the self should act’ (2015, 142). Moral injury, as I have described things, is the product of moral trauma. That trauma can occur as a single earth-shattering event, to include witnessing or participating in some deeply immoral act or situation, such as a war crime. Alternatively it can be the cumulative result of numerous events and situations, such as the many lies and trust violations of the adulterous husband. In both cases we recognize the trauma by its effects  – deep and potentially enduring damage to the individual’s moral framework. That damage can take the form of a radical dislocation. Consider again, by way of analogy, Taylor’s description of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s insight into the nature of embodied agency: Our perceptual field has an orientational structure, a foreground and a background, an up and down. And it must have; that is, it can’t lose this structure without ceasing to be a perceptual field in the full sense, our opening onto a world. In those rare moments where we lose orientation, we don’t know where we are; and we don’t know where or what things are either; we lose the thread of the world and our perceptual field is no longer our access to the world, but rather the confused debris into which our normal grasp on things crumbles. (Taylor 1978, 23)

The similarity of Taylor’s understanding of moral frameworks to MerleauPonty’s concept of an ‘orientational structure’ is clear when we compare the above to the following description of moral frameworks: We naturally tend to talk of our fundamental orientation in terms of who we are. To lose this orientation, or not to have found it, is not to know who one is. And this orientation, once attained, defines where you answer from, hence our identity. But then what emerges from all this is that we think of this fundamental moral orientation as essential to being a human interlocutor, capable of answering for oneself. But to speak of orientation is to presuppose a space-analogue within which one finds one’s way. To understand our predicament in terms of finding or losing orientation in moral space is to take the space which our frameworks seek to define as ontologically basic. The issue is, through what framework-definition can I  find my bearings in it? In other words, we take as basic that the human agent

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exists in a space of questions. And these are the questions to which our framework-definitions are answers, providing the horizon within which we know where we stand, and what meanings things have for us. (Taylor 1989, 29)

Though Taylor does not express things this way, this description helps us to see what a moral injury is. It is the effect of a morally confronting act or situation (or combination of acts or situations) which disrupts or distorts the proper functioning of our moral frameworks. This impacts on our ability to appropriately navigate the space of moral questions in which we inescapably exist. In some cases it will take the form of moral degradation, in which the injured person is no longer able to experience some of the critical moral guidance that his or her moral framework should provide. He or she has become partially or wholly disconnected from his or her conscience. Consider again the philandering husband – initially, if all was working as it should, he should have experienced moral discomfort when violating the trust of his wife. Over time and with sufficient repetition of these moral breaches, however, he may develop a kind of ‘moral callus’ which prevents him from being guided by his moral self as he relates to his spouse, and perhaps as he relates to others too. Or consider a soldier who has experienced multiple deployments and been exposed time and again to scenes of death and destruction. As we shall see in Chapter  6, this kind of exposure can have a similar callusing effect, potentially causing the soldier to act in unethical ways. In other cases the moral injury will take the form of what I have called ‘moral dislocation’. In William James’s celebrated phrase, the moral demands on such a person become a ‘blooming buzzing confusion’. In such cases the sufferer of the injury will be well aware of the injury, experiencing (to use Dobos’s words) extreme ‘arousal of the moral emotions, such as guilt and shame to the extent they have become debilitating’ (Dobos 2015, 126). Consider, for example, this account of a soldier’s emotions after the death of a teammate: My command from the highest to lowest is telling me ‘good job’ and talk about an award (for me) and all I can think is that I fucked up somewhere and that he is paying. I don’t know exactly, but I am sure I did, I am not all right. But I’m not gone either, I’m still here. I’m not whole yet . . . but I’m not shattered. (Burden 2006, 88)

Truly severe forms of this dislocation could lead to the collapse of the individual’s moral framework altogether, leading to a crisis of the utmost magnitude, the ultimate identity crisis: ‘Such a person wouldn’t know where he stood on issues

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of fundamental importance, would have no orientation in these issues whatever, wouldn’t be able to answer for himself on them’ (Taylor 1989, 31). So moral injuries are those which dislocate, damage or even, in the most extreme cases, collapse the moral frameworks that so centrally define us. Moral trauma may even sometimes rock the very foundation of a moral framework, the hypergood. (Hypergoods, as we saw, are the goods which provide the source for the goodness of the ordinary life goods in the frameworks.) Tom Frame’s words are suggestive of this when he offers this observation on moral injury: A deployed person does not need to see ‘guts and gore’ to be deeply wounded when they believe they have been manipulated or mistreated by those they trusted; they do not need to observe first-hand atrocities like genocide or ethnic cleansing to have their sense of right and wrong disrupted and their conscience badly injured. Meeting those who have committed such acts, and encountering their victims, is sometimes enough to lead a person to decide that the world is evil and humanity is corrupt, to lose trust and abandon hope. They might conclude: such a world is not worth defending; such a species is not worth protecting. Conversely, they could persuade themselves that the world is the venue for a cosmic struggle between good and evil in which the cause of good was specially entrusted to them and the persistence of evil is evidence they failed. If only they had done more; if only they had been more diligent. (Frame 2015, 259)

Following Frame’s lead we could imagine, for example, a soldier whose moral framework is based on a conception of a loving and benevolent God, but who after repeated exposure to the pain and suffering of war finds himself unable to reconcile this conception with his experience. Such a person is unlikely to abandon all his previous morals  – many parts of the moral framework will remain – but they will no longer be anchored, and moral intuitions will feel precarious and untrustworthy. Such an experience has been referred to by some as ‘spiritual injury’ and by others as ‘existential injury’, but Taylor’s notion of moral frameworks and their connection to hypergoods allows us to see them as a form of moral injury too.

Conclusion I have in this chapter sought to clarify the phenomenon that is increasingly becoming recognized under the label of ‘moral injury’. I began by discussing

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three features of the contemporary social environment which, it seems to me, increase the likelihood that those who serve in today’s wars will suffer moral injuries. I  first discussed what I  call ‘the end of war’, the situation we find ourselves in today in which it has become extremely difficult to distinguish warfighting from policing or what Emile Simpson calls ‘armed politics’. As a consequence, knowing which ethical principles to apply has become increasingly muddied, and this confusion leaves military personnel vulnerable to moral injury. Next, I considered what I have called (with more than a little hyperbole) ‘the end of evil’. As we have increasingly come to view the motives and actions of our fellow human beings – including those on the opposing side in the wars we fight – through the lenses of psychology and other social and behavioural sciences, the moral power of the ancient idea of ‘evil’ has declined, and a significant measure of the moral certitude which has previously protected military forces from moral injury has drained away with it. A similar effect arises from what I called ‘the end of “them” ’. Our modern individualist sensibilities, with their growing emphasis on dignity and human rights, have made the (previously commonplace) blanket condemnation of entire groups of people increasingly untenable. This is unquestionably a good thing, but as I will discuss in Chapter 6, demonization of the enemy has long been a way that soldiers could be motivated to fight without reservation, and its erosion takes away a sort of protection against moral pain that previous generations of combatants have availed themselves of (though arguably only through the infliction of a different and less visible form of moral injury, moral degradation). With that preliminary, and incomplete, context in place, I  turned to the task of outlining a typology of moral injury. Noting that there remains much murkiness and disagreement over how to define moral injury, I  concurred with Tom Frame and Matthew Beard that the ‘therapeutic’ approach to moral injury characteristic of behavioural science analyses of the phenomenon offers an incomplete picture. We must also adopt what Beard calls the ‘philosophical gaze’. Doing so helps us to see that in addition to the commonly recognized form of moral injury in which one experiences ‘an arousal of the moral emotions, such as guilt and shame, to the extent they have become debilitating’ (Dobos 2015, 126), there is what Ned Dobos insightfully identifies as ‘moral degradation’, ‘a corruption or corrosion of the moral emotions’ as a result of which ‘the individual fails to manifest the moral emotions in an appropriate way’ (p. 126). I proposed, therefore, that we should see moral injury, resulting from moral trauma, as taking two forms: ‘moral dislocation’ and ‘moral degradation’. Taking a cue from Rhiannon Nielsen, I  also proposed an additional distinction, that between ‘moral trauma’ and ‘moral affront’. I  argued that

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there are circumstances in which we face moral affront  – whether we or others are the cause thereof – and as a result experience moral pain. But this is not the same as being morally injured. In fact, moral pain in such cases is an indicator of our moral soundness, that all is as it should be with our moral selves. It should pain us when we witness an act of gross injustice, or we ourselves violate another’s trust. In order to go beyond simply describing the symptoms of moral injury – whether dislocation or degradation  – I  developed an account of what constitutes a moral injury by drawing on the description of moral personal identity which I  articulated, following Charles Taylor, in Chapter  1. If, as Taylor contends, we are fundamentally defined by our moral frameworks, then moral injury is the damage that moral trauma causes to those frameworks. Some moral traumas disconnect us from key pillars of our moral frameworks – this is moral degradation – and thereby skew our sense of what matters (or what Taylor calls our ‘strong evaluations’), sometimes without us being aware of it. Other forms of trauma cause damage which is far more phenomenologically present. Here frameworks are shaken and uprooted, and our moral grasp on the world becomes tenuous or we find ourselves lost in the space of questions in which we inescapably exist. This is moral dislocation. Some experiences of moral trauma may even shake or challenge hypergoods. This is a form of moral injury that has sometimes been referred to as ‘spiritual’ or ‘existential’ injury, and which can be experienced as a terrifying identity crisis. That, then, is what I mean by moral injury. It is a central claim of this book that a significant cause of moral injury is the gap between the deep and wide morality of the individuals who serve in uniform (which corresponds with the description of personal moral identity I gave in Chapter 1), on the one hand, and the thin and narrow morality of the state (which I articulated in Chapter 2), on the other. In the next chapter I flesh out this claim and begin the task of suggesting how the gap can be bridged.

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In March 1993, Canadian troops were in Somalia on peacekeeping duty. Infamously, on the night of 4 March, Somali teenager Shidane Abukar Arone was detained on suspicion of seeking to steal supplies from the Canadian base. Over the course of the night he was brutally tortured to death, primarily by two members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment tasked to guard him, Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and Trooper Kyle Brown. A  year later another Canadian, Roméo Dallaire, was Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), as one of the worst genocides in history tore through that country. Despite his force being massively outnumbered by hostile belligerents, Dallaire is widely regarded as having used the forces available to him in an exemplary manner, and his actions are credited with saving the lives of tens of thousands of people. Subsequently, Dallaire suffered deeply as a consequence of the horrors he had witnessed and his frustration and sense of guilt at not being in a position to do more. I have chosen to focus on these two events in part because they are well known, and in part because putting them side by side helps us to see something important. Beyond some superficial connections between these case studies – both occurred under the banner of peacekeeping operations in African countries, and both involved Canadian soldiers  – there seems little to compare. Matchee and Brown were guilty of massively unethical (and, obviously, illegal) conduct, while Dallaire acted with honour and deep compassion. So putting them alongside one another is at least uncomfortable, and may at first seem puzzling. But as we shall see, what is at work in both cases is a yawning chasm between morality and ethics. In the phrase that is the title of this book, what we see here is morality and ethics at war. To see the connection, let us start with the Somalia affair. This incident has been studied and picked apart by numerous scholars, but I want to focus here on the insights of Volker Franke (1999). In his analysis of this event he ascribes the underlying problem to the moral identity of the perpetrators. As Pauline Kaurin (now Pauline Shanks Kaurin) helpfully summarizes,

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Morality and Ethics at War In examining war crimes by Canadian peacekeepers in Somalia, [Franke] argues that situations challenging one’s self-conception will lead individuals to base their behavioral choices on their most important identity images. Since these self conceptions are unique reflections of values, attitudes, interests, experiences, hopes, etc., individuals draw on a repertoire of identity images that could (and usually do) contain contradictions. Social scientists try to explain these things by explaining that they are influenced by specific group memberships, but Franke views this as an oversimplification since we derive our self conceptions from a network of ‘central life interests’. (Kaurin 2014, 84)

Franke goes on to ascribe the ethical failures that led to Shidane Arone’s death, in part at least, to an inability of those involved to adopt a ‘peacekeeper’ identity in a complex environment, leading them to fall back instead on a skewed ‘soldier’ identity that emphasized aggressive engagement with the enemy – which, in the absence of a clearly defined enemy, became a driver of Matchee and Brown’s assault on Arone. I  would, however, describe the situation slightly differently. My contention is that we can see this as a plunging chasm between, on the one hand, the deeply flawed morality of Matchee and Brown, the morality that in the important relevant aspects defined their identity, and the ethics appropriate to a peacekeeping mission, on the other. Morality and ethics at war.1 The role of moral identity is more obvious in the case of General Dallaire. In the aftermath of his experiences in the Rwandan genocide, Dallaire suffered greatly with what was diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Undoubtedly that diagnosis was sound, but in the light of the exploration of moral injury in the previous chapter it seems reasonable to conclude that he was almost certainly also afflicted by moral injury. Indeed, even his personal definition of PTSD sounds very much like moral injury. In a 2016 interview he is reported as saying that ‘PTSD is a “moral injury that ravages our minds, our souls” after “repeated assaults on our most sacred and fundamental values and beliefs” ’ (Hampson 2016). In Dallaire’s case we can identify two sources of moral injury. The first, and most obvious, was the moral trauma of being exposed to the murderous savagery of the genocide itself. Dallaire describes how he and his troops found themselves traversing villages where everybody was dead, sometimes requiring them to clear a path through the carpet of corpses by hand. In an interview he recounts the experience:  ‘ “With my own hands I  carried them,” he said. “We carried them in our arms, we carried kids in our arms, and adults. We were picking the bodies and moving them aside. … There would be piles of bodies” ’ (Shiffman 2008).

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The second source of moral injury was Dallaire’s deep sense of betrayal at the failure of the United Nations and the international community to commit troops to prevent or mitigate the slaughter. In Dallaire’s view, UNAMIR could have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. As evidence, with the 450 men under my command during this interim, we saved and directly protected over 25,000 people and moved tens of thousands between the contact lines. What could a force of 5,000 personnel have prevented? Perhaps the most obvious answer is that they would have prevented the massacres in the southern and western parts of the country because they didn’t start until early May nearly a month after the war had started. (Quoted in Ludlow 1999, 38)

As the situation worsened, the UN Secretary-General, Boutros-Boutros Gali, ordered that the small UN force, only a few hundred strong, be withdrawn from Rwanda. Dallaire, however, refused to comply: ‘I refused a legal order. … But it was immoral’ (quoted in Shiffman 2008). It is important to see here that the order to withdraw was not (following the distinction we have been drawing here) unethical. Attempts by Kofi Annan, the then Under-SecretaryGeneral of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), to convince UN member states to send more troops to bolster UNAMIR had been unsuccessful: ‘The [Security] Council did not augment the troops. In fact, they went the other way. … We would have liked to see a larger force in. I had had situations where I called 82 member states together, trying to get troops. I got zilch’ (quoted in Shiffman 2008). Given the vulnerability of Dallaire’s under-equipped and massively outnumbered force, particularly in the light of the murder of twenty of UNAMIR’s Belgian peacekeepers only a few weeks before, the decision to withdraw the troops was not an unethical one. The United Nations had a clear responsibility for the safety of the forces deployed in its name, and if Dallaire’s troops had taken significant casualties that would have been a very significant setback to UN peacekeeping, which is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions of troops by member states. Clearly, then, this is another case of the clash between morality and ethics. The order Dallaire received to withdraw his force was not unethical, but the idea of leaving thousands upon thousands of helpless Rwandans to their bloody fate was incommensurable with Dallaire’s moral identity. Morality and ethics at war. These two case studies alert us to the potential dangers of the gaps between morality and ethics. On one side, there is the danger of significant ethical failures. On the other, there is the prospect of moral injury. What then, if anything, can be done to reduce the incidences of ethical failure and

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moral injury? In this chapter and the next I outline an approach to bridging the gaps between the ethics of war and personal morality. Most centrally, it is vital that the deep and wide moral frameworks of individual soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen be aligned with the thin and narrow morality of the state, particularly as that morality connects to the ethics of war. Such activity, however, is itself ethically fraught, for the thin and narrow morality of the state constrains what is appropriate. It is also vital that the identities of military personnel be aligned with the right ethics of war. As discussed in Chapter  2, what Morkevicius calls ‘neoclassical’ and ‘Walzerian’ approaches to the ethics of war are statist in their assumptions, and broadly reflect the tension in the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state between the emphasis on individual human rights (which comes to us via the Rationalist Perspective of modernity), on the one hand, and the consequentialist emphasis on the overall reduction of suffering (which comes to us from the Naturalist Perspective of modernity), on the other. In Morkevicius’s terminology, this is ‘realist ethics’ about war. In contrast, revisionist approaches to the ethics of war – which start and end with the rights of the individual  – generate significantly different ethical evaluations of what actions are acceptable for combatants to what states generally take to be appropriate. This, as I discuss below, is a recipe for causing moral injury and, potentially, ethical failure among military personnel.

Shaping individual frameworks – is it ethical? Before considering the what and how of connecting individual moral frameworks to the thin and narrow morality of the state, we need to consider whether it is appropriate to do so at all. Charles Taylor’s account of the centrality of moral frameworks to personal identity alerts us to the seriousness of any attempt to shape, ‘build’ or alter a person’s moral identity (and therefore her ‘character’), which should give us pause. Furthermore, given the context of a liberal democracy which seeks (within broad and accommodating boundaries) to maximize citizens’ freedom to pursue their own conceptions of the good life, there are good reasons to consider the idea of the state deliberately shaping an individual’s moral framework, and with it his or her identity, to be more than a little problematic. Consider, for example, this comment by Israeli military ethicist Asa Kasher: A conception that constitutes a certain professional ethics is a conception of proper behaviour. An interesting alternative to behaviour and the principles that should guide it could be character and the virtues that are

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its parts. … We prefer principle-guided behaviour as the subject matter of military ethics in the context of [the Israeli Defence Force] … mainly because a military force of a democracy that includes people who are conscripts and people who are reserve officers and NCOs should educate them to follow the principles of military ethics necessary for the effective functioning of the military force, but avoid any attempt to change their character in a deep and broad way of long lasting effect. Respect for the human dignity of a conscript or a reserve officer means respect for their nature and liberty to the largest extent compatible with their ability and commitment to do their best in carrying out their military missions. (Kasher 2008, 139–40)

While Kasher limits the application of his comments to conscripts and reservists, it seems to me that these considerations should also extend to fulltime members of an all-volunteer force. Treating them differently is to treat them as in some fundamental way separate from society, as a kind of ‘warrior class’. This is troubling in a number of ways, not least because this must inevitably exacerbate the civil–military gap, a constant source of problems in ensuring appropriate civil–military relations in a democratic society. So, if we are to resist this classification of the military, the issue Kasher raises seems to apply just as forcefully to full-time career military personnel. Key to Kasher’s point is the distinction he draws between principle-guided behaviour and behaviour that is directed through shaping the character and virtue of the individual in question. He writes, People in uniform vary in their attitude to the very idea of an organizational conception of proper behaviour, towards the idea of a code of ethics in general or a military code of ethics in particular, or towards certain values or principles. Eventually, every man and woman in uniform should comply with the norms of their military ethics, on grounds of adequate understanding and sincere undertaking. The variety of preliminary attitudes must be taken into account when successful methods of presentation, explanation and persuasion are designed. (Kasher 2008, 134)

Kasher’s recognition of the normative weight of the diversity of moral perspectives held by uniformed personnel is important and largely overlooked in existing scholarship and practice. As citizens of a liberal democracy the individuals who serve in the armed forces have the right to pursue their own conceptions of the good, so long as these conceptions fall within the broad bounds of liberalism (because, as Charles Taylor memorably puts it,

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‘liberalism can’t and shouldn’t claim complete cultural neutrality. Liberalism is also a fighting creed’ (1995, 249)). It is easy to see why efforts to instil virtues in the citizens who are the armed servants of the liberal state are problematic when we remember that the dominant conceptions of virtue are eudaemonist – that is, they define the virtuous character in terms of some or other conception of ‘human flourishing’, a specific vision of what constitutes the good, or meaningful or valuable life.2 Still, we do recognize that society may place particular ethical demands on particular members of society because of the particular role they play within society. This is the idea of ‘role morality’, or what Carl Ficarrotta calls ‘the functional line’:  ‘general demands on the character and behavior of military professionals mostly of the strictness variety that flow directly from the military function itself ’ (Ficarrotta 2010, 6). This corresponds with Kasher’s minimalist focus on ‘the principles of military ethics necessary for the effective functioning of the military force’, and it seems to me that Kasher is correct that shaping character is not the goal, rather it is shaping behaviour that matters for this purpose. This functional narrowing of the behaviour of military personnel does, obviously, have some impact on the range of possibilities available to them in living out their conception of the good life. However, against this there is the critical point that in an all-volunteer force these individuals have (so long as they have been appropriately informed as to the consequences of volunteering for service) consented to be in this situation  – this is in a real sense the result of them choosing a particular conception of the good or valuable or meaningful life. Furthermore, we should recollect Peter Balint’s point about how to understand the neutrality of the liberal state. Neutrality can be maintained, even where choices are narrowed, if neutrality of justification and neutrality of intent are maintained by the state, and there seems no reason to see this ‘functional line’ as being in violation of that.3 These functional requirements do not, as Ficarrotta notes, amount to an expectation that military personnel be held to a ‘higher’ ethical standard. Ficarrotta encourages us to ‘[notice] that the functional line might be applied to any enterprise, especially cooperative ones. To the degree that any undertaking is important, then we at once have special reasons for more strictly binding those engaged in the enterprise to general [ethical] standards that are necessary for its success’ (2010, 6). So what is needed is that military personnel adhere to particular ethical requirements and do so strictly – the strict application of these requirements is demanded by the severity of the consequences of failure to adhere to them. So we must approach with care the well-known statement by General Sir John Hackett that a morally bad person ‘cannot be … a good soldier, sailor

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or airman’ (1986, 119). The thin and narrow morality of the liberal state does not allow the military arm of the state to define some conception of what the morally good life for the individual in uniformed service is. While functional requirements necessitate common adherence to particular norms within the military, and while the choice to serve in the military does narrow the scope of options for individuals regarding conceptions of the good life (as an obvious example, it is not compatible with a pacifist world view), care must be taken that the state not undermine the very norms that its justification rests on. There is an apparent dilemma here. The state may not impose a deep and wide moral identity onto individuals who serve in the military. At the same time, the diversity of moral perspectives that Kasher rightly recognizes, and which is particularly evident in contemporary secular societies, means we cannot assume that the moral identity of every individual who serves will line up naturally and comfortably with the thin and narrow morality of the state. It is a central contention of this book that this gap is a significant cause of both moral injury and ethical failure by military personnel. We cannot, and should not, seek to resolve this problem by closing or filling in the gap, neither by shaping the identity of each soldier, sailor, marine and airman to conform them to some unitary conception of the moral good, nor by adopting on the side of the state some particular deep and wide conception of the good. Either approach is anathema to liberalism. Instead, what is needed to resolve this apparent dilemma is a bridge. That is, what is needed is a shared conception among military personnel that has enough (but not too much) purchase in each individual’s moral framework, and which lines up with the thin and narrow morality of the state and thereby spans the divide between individual and state.

Preparing the left bank To continue with our analogy of a bridge, then, we must first ensure that the proposed abutment on the ‘left bank’ (representing, in this image, the moral identity of the individual) is sufficiently secure to bear the weight of the bridge. If not, the bridge will not hold and the gap between the deep and wide morality of the individual and the ethics of war (embedded in the thin and narrow morality of the state) will not be spanned, with potentially disastrous effect. Not all individuals are suitable to bear the weight of the bridge. Of course, many are excluded from military service because they do not meet the necessary physical, mental and educational requirements, but given the context of this book I am here referring to the question of the moral suitability of those who put themselves forward to serve. The military

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forces of liberal democracies typically exclude from service those who have a track record of significant ethical failures, which is usually evaluated through an assessment of the applicant’s criminal record and sometimes (particularly for prospective officers) through an evaluation of references provided in support of the candidate by pillars of the community as well as an assessment of any track record of activities by the individual in question which might indicate moral suitability. Thus, while there have long been stories and legends of highly effective military units made up of the moral ‘dregs’ of society,4 states generally recognize that moral suitability – that is, a moral framework which is compatible with the desired ethical practice – is a critical foundation for military service. This is all the more evident when necessity forces states to ‘lower the bar’ in this regard. As army officer Tom McDermott points out, Over the last ten years militaries have needed significant numbers of uniformed personnel to fight the [Global War on Terror], preventing them from vetting potential soldiers on the basis of ‘strong character’ and ‘good standing’. … The United States Department of Defence normally precludes from service those who have been convicted of felonies (that is, violent crimes or crimes leading to a sentence of over one year). … At the height of the dual Iraq and Afghan campaigns, however, this standard was increasingly driven down. In 2006, for example, the US military granted 34,476 ‘moral waivers’ to those who failed to meet the usual threshold; 19.6 per cent of all enlistments, and a major spike from the 7.8 per cent ‘waivered’ in 1997. In the United States Marine Corps, 54.3 percent of enlistments in 2006 were waived previous convictions, up from 11.7 percent in 1997. (McDermott 2016, 4)

The effect of these ‘moral waivers’, McDermott contends, has been significant. He quotes a study (Rosellini et al. 2016) which analysed almost one million soldiers who had served in the US Army between 2004 and 2013 and found that ‘usually young and poor soldiers of low rank with a history of criminal and disciplinary activity, and mental health issues (5 percent of the test group held these characteristics) were responsible for 51 percent of violent crimes conducted during that period’ (McDermott 2016, 4). McDermott goes on to argue that ‘while the data has not been compared, it would seem logical that many of this 5 percent were those who received “moral waivers” to enter the military’ (p. 4). Lest we be too quick to condemn all these soldiers who have ‘a history of criminal and disciplinary activity’, it is worth keeping in mind that numerous factors likely play a contributing role in individuals who act in these kinds of

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ways. (More on this in Chapter 6.) It is important, therefore, that the usual policy of excluding individuals who have been convicted of felonies (and the application of parallel policies in other countries) be seen for what it is, a means of reducing the risk of ethical failure. There is another group of people who are excluded from military service on moral grounds, though this group usually receives far less attention. These are the conscientious objectors, those who are excused from military service because their inclusion would risk undermining military efficiency – Ficarrotta’s ‘functional line’ – and also because their inclusion would likely cause moral injury to these individuals. We don’t, of course, hear much about conscientious objectors5 in the context of the all-volunteer force which has become the dominant form of military organization in most liberal democracies in recent decades, because such individuals are self-excluding. But they are nonetheless excluded on moral grounds, even if this is largely invisible to us. The invisibility of this category of citizens excluded from military service on moral grounds is perhaps why military forces and civil society in general tend to pay inadequate attention to the risk of including individuals in the military who might, from the very beginning, be susceptible to moral injury. Where a significant amount of funding and effort goes into screening applicants to exclude those who pose a risk of ethical failure, essentially no funding and effort goes into screening applicants to establish whether their moral frameworks make them susceptible to moral injury. The problem is particularly acute in times where war seems distant from the general population – in contrast to the all-pervasiveness of conflicts such as the Second World War. During such times (as is arguably the case now) it is all too easy for those considering military service to think of it primarily as a career option, and perhaps as a way to serve and ‘do good’ – seldom is the cold hard fact of killing at the centre of their consciousness. Military recruitment campaigns don’t help, and they often seem to deliberately obscure the central function of military forces. To pick just one example from among a wide range of available exemplars: in 2016 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) released a television recruitment advertisement and associated campaign titled ‘What Is Up?’ which focused on young people dreaming of soaring in the sky, helping others and so on. The advertisement centred on inspirational catchphrases like ‘reach up’ and ‘lift something up’ (as the imagery showed a member of the RAAF carrying a child in the context of a humanitarian operation). At no point in the advertisement was there any suggestion of combat, killing or the idea that RAAF members might ‘blow someone up’ – yet there is good reason to think that the RAAF has killed more people in the conflicts of recent decades than the other services of the Australian Defence Force combined.

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While some citizens have the self-awareness to know that service in the military is incompatible with their moral frameworks, there are some  – perhaps more than a few  – for whom this is true but who do not realize it. In my role as a teacher of military ethics in service academies (first the US Naval Academy and now the Australian Defence Force Academy) I, like others in this role, take it to be a key part of my responsibility to present my students with a clear and rigorous account of pacifism. I want them to take seriously the view that killing in war is morally wrong. The vast majority reach the conclusion that pacifism is a position with which they do not agree, but there are a small number of students who have realized that they would be unable to reconcile themselves with the act of killing in war, and who have consequently left military service. These are men and women who, had they not examined their personal moral frameworks at that point, could well have gone on to incur significant moral injuries. This kind of screening is thus valuable and important but is largely ad hoc – as things are currently arranged in most military forces, there is no guarantee that even officer trainees will be pushed to reflect in this manner, and there is relatively little chance that this will occur with enlisted personnel. It is also very limited where it does occur – teaching pacifism might draw out those who, on reflection, find that they cannot reconcile themselves to killing in war in general, but many who have experienced moral injury do not share this general position. As Tom Frame writes, When uniformed men and women, even those professing no interest in domestic politics, arrive in another country some may feel they are implements, tools and weapons of their governments. Their outlook changes, opinions begin to emerge and politics starts to matter. This transformation of outlook becomes highly personal when a deployed person is placed in harm’s way and their injury or death becomes a possible consequence of government decision making. At the point when someone could be personally damaged, they become engaged and start to think about what they are doing, why they are doing it and whether they really are sufficiently committed to a mission that they are willing to give their life in its cause. … Whereas they could remain neutral and impassive about their service during peacetime training, they cannot avoid taking a stand when they are deployed. They need to have a view about the value of their mission and the manner in which it is being conducted. … For others, a different kind of realisation dawns: the people I am told to protect are neither my family nor my friends. I do not know their names and their faces are unfamiliar. This is not my country and will never be my home. Why should I  die for them and for this

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place? One of the reasons that moral injury may be more prevalent in the modern era is that deployments are a long way from home and it is difficult to see the connection between these activities and the defence of one’s own family and home. Indeed, some deployed personnel may see themselves as nothing more than state-sponsored mercenaries being paid to fight a war that has little to do with them or what they value in life. (Frame 2015, 259–60; italics added)

If we are to mitigate this sort of problem we will need to do more than screen out those whose moral frameworks are at odds with killing in war in general. While this will be uncomfortable for many in the military, what is needed as a starting point is a commitment to have every member of the military engage in some non-trivial way in articulation, in Charles Taylor’s sense of that term. As he writes, Articulating our qualitative distinctions is setting out the point of our moral actions. It explains in a fuller and richer way the meaning of this action for us, just what its goodness or badness, being obligatory or forbidden, consists in. It is possible to know, for instance, as a child sometimes does, that a certain act is forbidden, but not understand yet what kind of badness it exhibits. (Taylor 1989, 80)

A precursor to building the ‘bridge’ between soldier and state is the requirement of an adequate degree of moral self-awareness on the part of the soldier. Following the imagery we are using here, this is analogous to clearing away the loose soil in the area of the abutment on the left bank, to reveal the bedrock into which the foundations of the bridge will be drilled. Sometimes that process of clearing will reveal that the ground is incompatible with the bridge-building project. It is my view that in such cases the individual in question should be respectfully allowed a dignified exit from the Armed Forces. But we must not see this process only in a negative sense, as a means of screening out those who are most at risk of moral injury. For others – likely for most  – a process of moral articulation will be empowering. As Taylor puts it, Moral sources empower. To come closer to them, to have a clearer view of them, to come to grasp what they involve, is for those who recognize them to be moved to love or respect them, and through this love/respect to be better enabled to live up to them. And articulation can bring them closer. That is why words can empower; why words can at times have tremendous moral force. (Taylor 1989, 96)

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Preparing the right bank We turn now to briefly considering what must be done to ensure that the ‘right bank’ abutment of the gap between soldier and state is sufficiently sound to bear the weight of the bridge that I am proposing must be built between the two. The bedrock here is the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state, which is the moral foundation of the state itself. As we saw in Chapter  2, that morality is based primarily on the commitments to liberty and security which provide the basis for the social contract. I argued there that these two imperatives produce what we might think of as a ‘virtuous tension’ between the individualist and rights-focused approach of the Rationalist Perspective of modernity, on the one hand, and the broadly consequentialist viewpoint of the Naturalist Perspective of modernity, on the other. Consequently, in order to do justice to both the rights-imperative within liberalism as well as the consequentialist imperative for the state to protect its citizenry that is the prime justification for the social contract, states must pursue policy in the international realm that reflects both of these fundamental commitments. ‘Western societies are increasingly sceptical about the use of military force in interventions of choice that have only a tenuous link with national interests. The ethical and legal justification underpinning these operations is vital ground, before and during the operation’ (McCormack 2015, 5). Policymakers, then, must have  – and act on  – a clear understanding of the ethics of war that is explicitly tied to these foundations. Revisionist views of the Just War Tradition, which unbalance this ‘virtuous tension’ by overemphasizing the individualist Rationalist Perspective, must be rejected. As we saw in Chapter 2, Phillip McCormack, in his role as ‘ethics czar’ for the British Army, contended that the values of the British Army should be derived from the proposal that: All human persons have a shared moral status, a status based upon fundamental and inalienable natural rights. This proposition recognises the ineradicable sense that all human persons possess an inherent dignity and worth, expressed in the recognition that all human persons possess as inalienable natural rights the right to life and liberty. … This proposition expresses fundamental ideas upon which UK society is built. (McCormack 2015, 12; emphasis in original)

All of this is right, but it is only half right. It overlooks the reality that the British Army – like any branch of a liberal democracy’s military – is an organ of the state with responsibility to the state, not only to individuals. Locating

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the rights of the individual as the sole foundational value of the military locates military ethics within the territory of revisionist Just War thinkers (a consequence I believe McCormack would himself not relish). As I argued in Chapter 2, the ethics of war for the liberal state must unquestionably take strong cognizance of the human rights of individuals affected by war, but the liberal state must at the same time stay true to its responsibility under the social contract to ensure the protection of its citizens – states must blend a commitment to justice with the consequentialist prudence of realism. This balance is reflected in neoclassical and Walzerian Just War thinking, but not in the revisionist approach. As Morkevicius explains, It is not a presumption in favour of peace that separates [non-revisionist] just war thinkers from realists. Neither tradition values peace per se. For realists, peace matters only in so much as it reflects a stable balance. It is desirable not so much as an end, but as a symptom of something potentially positive. For just war thinkers, peace is also not an ipso facto good. Many kinds of peace exist, and most are not peace at all. The peace of the dead after a genocide, the peace of silence under extreme opposition  – these are not true peaces. Instead, just war thinkers are concerned about peace only when it represents peace with justice. (Morkevicius 2018, 33)

If the bridge between soldier and state that I  will describe below is not to wobble and shake, and in so doing unbalance and even (morally) injure those servants of the state who are astride the bridge, then policymakers must understand and clearly defend the ‘virtuous tension’ at the heart of both the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state and a properly conceived account of the ethics of war. Consider this warning from retired Australian Army lieutenant general Mark Evans on the importance of states complying with the principles of jus ad bellum: As a commander who strives to act morally, when the brutishness of modern warfare leaves no-one unsullied, the bottom line for me is this:  democratic governments should only apply force as a last resort and for ‘defensive’ reasons, rather than use it as a political instrument to achieve diplomatic or economic outcomes. To use armed force as a political weapon is to risk exposing military forces and its people to unjust wars. Unjust wars are ultimately unwinnable, and they exponentially increase the potential for moral injury among those who fight them. (Evans 2015, 54)

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Asa Kasher is unquestionably right when he says that ‘the teaching and training of people in uniform have to inculcate the right commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy’ (2008, 135). While it is perhaps less obvious, because it is assumed, the same is true for policymakers.

The bridge: Warrior, professional or something else? Thus far I have argued that there is a gap between the deep and wide morality of the individual soldier (or sailor, airman or marine), on the one hand, and the ethics of war (based in the thin and narrow morality of the state), on the other. I have, further, contended that it is inappropriate to attempt to close this gap, whether by conforming the morality of the individual to that of the state, or by the state adopting a particular deep and wide morality that conforms to that held by (some) individuals – either is anathema to liberalism. Instead I  propose that what is needed is a ‘bridge’, a ‘micro-identity’ or (better) an ethos that is common to military personnel and which is anchored in (but does not ‘shape’) the moral frameworks that define each individual in uniform, and is at the same time anchored in the core foundations of the liberal state. But what, exactly, should that ethos be? One candidate is the ‘warrior’ ethos. Prominent in Hollywood treatments of military themes, the idea of the soldier, sailor, airman or marine as a warrior is also attractive to many in uniform. As one scholar of military ethics puts it, The warrior archetype or ethos … still holds sway in the military selfconception, rooted as it is in the more existential notions of war, honor, identity and meaning. A  cursory look at what the military says about itself on websites, their own training materials and in interviews with military personnel confirms that this is quite strongly the case, even as it seems that the mission of the military is no longer restricted to the conventional combat model. (Kaurin 2014, 1)

Part of the attraction of this label is its historical depth, the sense it gives of connecting to warriors of the past. Shannon French explores this in her book The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present, arguably the most comprehensive treatment of this topic to date. French explains, Warrior cultures throughout history and from diverse regions around the globe have constructed codes of behavior, based on that culture’s image of the ideal warrior. These codes have not always been written down or literally codified into a set of explicit rules. A code can be hidden in the

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lines of epic poems or implied by the descriptions of mythic heroes. One way or another, it is carefully conveyed to each succeeding generation of warriors. (French 2017, 4)

Another part of the attraction is that these codes are demanding; they often seem ‘to hold the warrior to a higher ethical standard than that required for an ordinary citizen’ (French 2017, 4) and are at the same time internally generated from within the warrior community in question. The warrior codes addressed by French are geographically, temporally and culturally diverse: the Homeric hero, Roman legionnaires, Vikings, Native Americans, Chinese warrior monks, Japanese samurai, and Sultan Saladin and the Warriors of Islam. In response to interlocutors who might insist that the idea of a warrior as expressed in these traditions is historically interesting but not relevant to contemporary military personnel, French responds as follows: Far from being outmoded, the genuine, emotional connection of today’s warriors to an intentionally idealized warrior tradition and their sense that they must not betray that legacy is more important than ever. That connection and devotion may help them summon the will to show restraint in situations that will sorely tempt them to throw self-control out of the window, for the world is no longer arranged in such a way that conflicts are likely to arise among great powers that are fairly evenly matched. When two nations with similar strength and resources battle one another, it is relatively easy for their leaders to establish mutually beneficial rules of engagement. … This is not the case, however, in the so-called ‘asymmetric’ conflicts that have become the norm in recent years, which feature lop-sided distributions of military might. (French 2017, 254)

Another candidate ethos to bridge the gap between soldier and state is that of the military professional.6 The idea of the military as a profession arose alongside the emergence of the all-volunteer force, and the image of a professional both seemed to capture what was hoped for from this change and, perhaps more importantly, conferred a desirable level of social status on the leaders who were being recruited into the new all-volunteer force. It also provided a useful construct for scholars of political science and sociology – most notably Samuel Huntington (1957) and Morris Janowitz (1960) – who were seeking to describe civil–military relations in the new era of the allvolunteer force. In her contribution to an influential recent edited collection exploring the idea of the military as a profession, RAAF legal officer Jo Brick helpfully describes this notion in terms of fiduciary responsibilities:

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Morality and Ethics at War The fiduciary relationship between the military and the state is manifested in two ways. First, this relationship is demonstrated at the strategic level where military leaders provide advice to civilian leaders regarding the use of military force as an option for resolving a particular national problem. … The second manifestation of the fiduciary relationship exists at the individual level. The state trusts individual members of the military profession to use their expertise and to behave in a manner that is consistent with the interests of the state. Individual discretion is central to this level of professional decision-making. Professionals are also expected to use their specialized knowledge and skill to exercise discretion when solving the complex problems that are entrusted to them. (Brick 2018, 19)

It is my contention that neither the warrior ethos nor the image of the military practitioner as a professional provides a satisfactory basis for the  bridge that must be built between the soldier and the state. Consider, first, the shortcomings of the warrior ethos. Pauline Kaurin offers a strong critique of the warrior ethos in her book The Warrior, Military Ethics and Contemporary Culture.7 She points out, first, that the ethos is focused on a narrowly defined range of activities. The warrior ethos focuses on combat and, indeed, a particular form of combat: close combat with weapons,8 where the aim is direct engagement and destruction of the enemy. This is a very specific view of warfare and the role of the military which assumes that it is by direct, physical engagement with the enemy that the enemy will be destroyed and presumably, the military will be victorious as a result of the application of this force. (Kaurin 2014, 86)

This, however, is at odds with the broad range of tasks military personnel are required to carry out in a wide range of contexts, including humanitarian operations, peacekeeping and counterinsurgency contexts where the application of military force in combat is only one among many capabilities that military forces apply.9 Some conceptions of the warrior ethos can lead to an apparent tension with the idea of the military serving in a humanitarian or peacemaking role (one is reminded of the view held by many in the US military in the 1990s and the early years of the ‘Global War on Terror’ – ‘we don’t do windows’), which makes it difficult to reconcile with Augustine’s charge to the soldier to ‘be a peacemaker, then, even by fighting, so that through your victory you might bring those whom you defeat to the advantages of peace’ (Augustine [354–430] 1994, 219). If we settle for

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a warrior ethos which is at odds with the humanitarian or peacemaking efforts that the state requires of military personnel, then (as we saw in the Somalia case at the beginning of this chapter) we are in danger of our armed servants failing ethically and falling through this gap. As Kaurin puts it, ‘If these are, in fact, two distinct identities and we are asking the military to do both of them at the same time, that they be able to move back and forth between them and be equally competent and comfortable with both, there will be difficulties about what the central identity really is that roots the military profession’ (2014, 88). Next, Kaurin points out that ‘there is a high identification between the Warrior ethos and notions of manhood/masculinity’ (p.  86) which is arguably problematic for modern military forces seeking to achieve diversity and gender integration. Furthermore, this masculine emphasis can degrade into dangerous forms of hyper-masculinity10 and obscures the fact that many of the skills and behaviours that are desirable for military personnel ‘like dependence on others, adaptability, sense of calling, and the list of competencies under these categories are not necessarily or even primarily masculine in nature. Other traits like communication, attention to diversity, inclusiveness of all members, not imposing leadership from the top down, actually seem to be traits that are traditionally associated with the feminine type’ (p. 86). We might add to the critique of the warrior ethos by pointing out that it encourages the emergence of a warrior class, seen as higher than, and distinct from, society as a whole. I have already mentioned that this is problematic in terms of civil–military relations. Furthermore, it is problematic from the perspective of our modern identity. As Taylor points out, ‘The various offshoots of the modern affirmation of ordinary life have engendered a suspicion of claims made on behalf of “higher” modes of life against the “ordinary” goals and activities that humans engage in. The rejection of the higher can be presented as a liberation, as a recovery of the true value of human life’ (1989, 81). The military professional ethos is problematic too, though for different reasons. Though the self-description as a ‘professional’ is popular among military personnel, what this in fact means is very contested. A useful exemplar of the lack of consensus over what constitutes the military ‘profession’ and what that means for the military ‘professional’ is the recent book Redefining the Modern Military: The Intersection of Profession and Ethics (2018). Edited by two serving US military officers, Nathan K. Finney and Tyrell O. Mayfield, this book is very much an ‘inside-out’ look at the military profession. Where most edited volumes on similar topics are made up of contributions by academics with  – perhaps  – a smattering of practitioners, this book is the

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reverse: just five of the fourteen contributors hold academic appointments, and most of those work within the professional military education orbit. From the beginning, the accounts of military professionalism provided raise significant concerns about this construct. In their introduction, Finney and Mayfield write, The first and arguably most important aspect of a military profession is its sense of a professional ethic. It is this ethical core that provides direction in the absence of orders or clear guidance. Modern militaries that represent liberal democracies are unique in that they draw on volunteers from across the citizenry, and therefore represent a part of the whole. The society’s collective ethical standards, however, are subordinated by military ethics in the training and development that military members undergo. (Finney and Mayfield 2018, xviii)

This idea of a desirable disconnect between ‘society’s collective ethical standards’, on the one hand, and military ethics, on the other, is concerning. I take it that Finney and Mayfield are (rightly) seeking to distance military ethics from the vicissitudes of public opinion, but the idea that military ethics should subordinate the values of the liberal democratic state, that military ethics finds its justification somehow beyond the state, is deeply troubling. The idea of military ‘values’ which are in some sense stand-alone and not directly linked to the fundamental ethos of the state has been critically addressed by Philip McCormack. He points out, Our enemies can have their own version of the [military] values we espouse. For example, the Schutzstaffel or SS had as its official motto ‘Meine Ehre heißt Treue’ or ‘My Honour is Loyalty’. Given the tenacity of their fighting spirit during the Second World War, it is doubtful whether any could question their loyalty as soldiers either to each other or to their cause. In the death camps the SS had a coherent ethic in which some lives were valued and others not. The SS did not value all human life or subscribe to the proposition that all human beings have an inherent worth and dignity. For this reason, few, would associate the SS with an organisation known for its moral conduct. In this regard loyalty, as an abstract concept, is morally relative or subjective. Another extreme version of this argument, it could be argued, is that the grouping calling itself Islamic State could maintain (hypothetically, of course) that it shares a version of five of the six core values in [the British Army’s] Values and Standards. (McCormack 2015, 7)11

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War is an activity of the state, waged on behalf of the nation that the state serves, and as servants of the state military personnel should act in accordance with a framework of ethics which reflects that. Samuel Huntington (and to a lesser extent his contemporaries Janowitz and Hackett) looms large throughout Redefining the Modern Military. Some of the contributors largely accept Huntington’s view, or at least sidestep what is controversial. Many of the book’s contributors, however, struggle with Huntington in particular  – several authors, for example, wrestle with the problem of Huntington’s officer-centric notion of the profession in an era in which the ‘strategic corporal’ has come to the fore. If the notion of the military as a profession fits at all, it fits best with the officer class, yet the responsibilities of military service increasingly rest on the shoulders of noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and other ranks. Thus, while the US Army’s NCO creed states that ‘No one is more professional than I’, it is difficult to reconcile this to a formal account of the military as a profession. Several other contributors to the book take a different approach, offering instead highly individualized notions of what it means to be a military professional, conceptualizations which are at best uncomfortable with Huntington’s account. This broad discomfort with the standard accounts of the military profession is tackled head-on by Lund University’s Tony Ingesson in what is, in my view, the standout contribution to the volume. Ingesson (who, remarkably, has served in all three branches of the Swedish military) observes that ‘the concept of the military profession (in the universal sense) is subject to considerable conceptual stretching’ (2018). In rejecting this stretching of the concept of a profession in an attempt to make it fit the military, Ingesson presents a thorough argument to show that the military is not a profession at all. Instead he proposes that military personnel might better be seen as similar to what Michael Lipsky calls ‘street-level bureaucrats’. Though the term seems unflattering, it isn’t  – Ingesson’s main point (which seems to me to be exactly right) is that what is expected of military personnel is so much more than what we expect from members of other professions that applying the ‘professional’ construct to the military is in an important sense a significant disservice. In his review of Elliott Krause’s Death of the Guilds:  Professions, States and the Advance of Capitalism, 1930 to the Present (1996), sociologist Robert Zussman contends that (in the Anglo-American sphere at least) ‘professionalism was a means of protecting certain core values  – health, justice, knowledge, and, to a much lesser extent, technology  – from the uncertainties of the market and the dangers of a state that was, in any event, probably inadequate to safeguard them’ (1998, 223). Krause, for his part,

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argues that the professions evolved out of the protections and power which had been achieved by their monopoly predecessors, the guilds, but that the state and capitalism have now largely eroded the vigour and strength of the professions. As mentioned above, the idea of the military as a profession arose alongside the emergence of the all-volunteer force, and the image of a professional both seemed to capture what was hoped for from this change and, perhaps more importantly, conferred a desirable level of social status on the leaders who were being recruited into the new all-volunteer force. But considered in the light of accounts of professions like those put forward by Krause and Zussman, or even less radical evaluations like that developed by Andrew Abbott (who argues that the military shares some, but not all, of the characteristics of a profession (Abbott 2002)), it might be worth asking whether the label was ever a particularly good fit for the military. Even if the notion of the military as a profession was perhaps at some point a valuable one, looking to the future should make us wonder. In an era in which the military faces societal, demographic and particularly technological shifts that hold the potential for massive change, the relevance of the profession construct comes under even more pressure. In their bestselling book The Future of the Professions:  How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts (2015), father-and-son team Richard and Daniel Susskind argue that technological progress is already eroding the specialist expertise that defines professions like law, medicine, accountancy and teaching, and predicts their ultimate demise. Even if their predictions are only partially true, the implications that the massive technological changes which are now starting to come to bear have for the future of the military are enormous. How will we make sense of the military as a profession when the specialist technical knowledge necessary for the efficient and effective application of force is largely embedded in algorithms? Will we really think of the uniformed (but perhaps blue-haired) part-time direct-entry ‘cyber warrior’ as a military professional? And what constitutes the ‘profession of arms’ when it becomes commonplace that robotic autonomous platforms are carrying and employing those arms? In an era in which overpaid sports entertainers are ‘professional footballers’ and ‘professional tennis players’, and beauticians proclaim themselves to be members of the ‘beauty profession’, the ‘professional’ label arguably does not have the status or value it once had. And as this book shows us, it’s a construct which fits at best awkwardly with the modern military. Tony Ingesson, it seems to me, is exactly right in pointing out that the responsibilities entailed by contemporary and future military service go well beyond mere professionalism, and members of the profession do themselves a disservice by trying to shoehorn all of that into the profession construct.

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And from the external perspective, that of scholars and policymakers who seek to understand the military and its relationship to the state and society, there are more useful theoretical models to apply  – Peter Feaver’s Agency Theory (based on the principal–agent theory), for example, provides a far more robust way of understanding civil–military relations than does Huntingtonian professionalism (Feaver 2003). So there is good reason, then, to think that we need to disentangle our thinking about the military from these confines if we really want to start redefining the military for our times. In The Warrior, Military Ethics and Contemporary Warfare, Pauline [Shanks] Kaurin argues that the representation of the contemporary serviceman or servicewoman as a ‘warrior’ is too narrow, and nor is ‘peacekeeper’ an adequate description. She proposes instead that we adopt ‘Guardian’ as the conceptual model for military service. It seems to me that this is an excellent suggestion, and one which seems likely to stand firm regardless of the technological and societal shifts which will shape and redefine tomorrow’s military. In the next chapter I continue the trajectory begun in this one, by exploring and expanding on Kaurin’s notion of the Guardian ethos and showing how it maps to a sound conception of the ethics of war.

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In his book Obeying Orders: Atrocity, Military Discipline and the Law of War, Mark Osiel recounts an event that took place during the Vietnam War, an event which has been both an encouragement and a challenge to military ethicists ever since. The anecdote centres on a young US Marine who, it seems, has lost his moral bearings somewhere in the confusion, horror and tragedy of his experience of that war. According to Osiel, this Marine was discovered by an officer ‘with his rifle at the head of a Vietnamese woman’. That this Marine found himself in this position speaks of moral injury, the moral degradation I discussed in Chapter 3. What has captured the imagination of military ethicists is the manner in which the officer in question responded to this confronting scene. He simply said, ‘Marines don’t do that’, and that was all it took to make the young Marine step back from the brink of atrocity (Osiel 1999, 23). Military ethicists are encouraged by this story because it illustrates so powerfully the force of norms in positively shaping battlefield behaviour. But it also carries with it a challenge  – what, exactly, was it about this young man’s identity as a Marine which had such an impact here? And what ethos should we seek to inculcate in military practitioners to best ensure that they act in the ethical ways we expect of them, even under the incredible stresses of combat? A central argument of this book is that there is a gap between the deep and wide morality of the individual soldier (or sailor, airman or marine), on the one hand, and the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state (and the associated ethics of war deriving from that morality), on the other. I  have argued that this gap is a significant cause of both ethical failure and moral injury among military personnel. In the preceding chapter I  contended that attempting to close this gap would be inappropriate, anathema to the fundamental ideals of the liberal state. Instead, I believe that what is needed is a ‘bridge’, an ethos which can be embedded into the moral framework of each individual armed servant of the state and which is also firmly fixed in the moral substructure of the liberal state. It is noteworthy that, in an award-winning paper, Lieutenant Colonel David Glendenning of the British

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Army both identifies the need for such a bridge and recognizes that it must be moral/ethical in substance: ‘switching leadership focus away from traditional transformational models and more towards ethical and authentic leadership models provides a bridge between the British Army and society’ (Glendenning 2017, 58). I argued in the preceding chapter that the warrior ethos and the ethos of the military profession, the most widely followed possible candidates to play this bridging role, both have significant shortcomings. I  contend that the ‘Guardian’ ethos, proposed by Pauline [Shanks] Kaurin, is a superior alternative. In this chapter I begin by exploring and expanding on Kaurin’s account of the Guardian ethos, before showing how it addresses what is arguably the most vexing tenet of military ethics, the doctrine of double effect (DDE). Drawing on this example, I show how the Guardian ethos is able to account for the ‘virtuous tension’ at the heart of the just conduct of war, and how that, consequently, reduces the risk of ethical failure and moral injury.

The Guardian ethos Kaurin’s development of the Guardian ethos is in part driven by her recognition of the ways in which an era of asymmetrical warfare has intensified and expanded the ethical and operational challenges facing today’s military practitioners. As we have seen, she shows that the warrior ethos sits uncomfortably across the range of ‘unique skills, approaches and dispositions that are necessary to effectively engage in’ the complex contemporary conflict environment. She contends – and I agree – that the Guardian ethos offers a way to ‘integrate’ the differing roles military practitioners play in a way that lessens ‘the cognitive and identity dissonance’ produced by the application of the warrior ethos (Kaurin 2014, 88). She explains as follows: In the idea of a Guardian there is clearly a protective element that incorporates the combat and Warrior ethos aspects, since that is necessary at times to be a good protector. … The Guardian ethos also requires some skills that might be considered ‘softer’ in relation to the Warrior, but are not less important to the protective role: attending to the needs of the weak and vulnerable, being able to resolve or prevent issues (if possible) without the use of force, attention to context (including culture, language, politics, and other elements of that context), adaptability and a longterm approach to problems and mission. If we think of … humanitarian intervention … there are clear combat and physical protection aspects involved that seem to speak directly to the Warrior ethos; however, there

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would also be a need to work with NGO’s or other civilian/pseudogovernment groups in distributing the aid, crowd control and protection and also ensuring that the aid is distributed in ways that are effective, fair and in keeping with local cultural, political and religious considerations that might apply. While the ‘harder’ Warrior skills and tools need to be at the ready, an exclusive focus on those could actually impair the mission here which requires ‘softer’ skills like mediation, negotiation, empathy toward the vulnerable, cultural sensitivity, and an understanding of how hunger and anxiety are bound to effect human behavior especially in a crowd context. (Kaurin 2014, 89–90)

Kaurin proposed four ways in which the adoption of a Guardian ethos would shift existing military practice. First, she says, it will necessitate greater command responsibility at lower levels of the military chain of command, in line with the idea of the ‘Strategic Corporal’ first articulated by General Charles Krulak of the US Marine Corps in response to the emerging asymmetrical warfare environment of the late 1990s.1 It is noteworthy that the ‘sense of autonomy and flexibility/adaptability based upon conditions and earned through trust, performance, and accomplishment’ (Kaurin 2014, 89) that Kaurin advocates for through the Guardian ethos corresponds closely with the emphasis on the importance of autonomy for individual military leaders that is at the heart of several of the chapters of Redefining the Modern Military, the recent edited collection on the military profession I discussed in the previous chapter. For example, US Army officer H. M. ‘Mike’ Denny contends that ‘soldiers become professionals when they make the best available decision even when it contradicts the textbook answer’ (2018, 67) – this conception of what constitutes a professional is deeply individualized and hard to reconcile with traditional notions of what constitutes a profession. In what other profession would it be a defining characteristic that its members ‘know when to break the rules’? Of course, autonomy is a key defining characteristic of professions, but it is the autonomy of the profession and its members in relation to society at large, not the autonomy of members of the profession in relation to the profession as a whole. Professions have the autonomy to regulate their members; members do not have the autonomy to decide under which conditions to submit to those regulations. The emphasis on autonomy and responsibility for junior leaders in Kaurin’s notion of the Guardian ethos also addresses another significant worry about the use of the ‘professional’ label – it is generally only officers who are held to be military professionals, but many scholars are rightly concerned that it overlooks the vital role that non-commissioned officers play. All enlisted personnel of the US Army publicly recite The Soldier’s Creed on completion

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of their training and in numerous other public events. The creed includes the words, ‘I am an American Soldier … I am an expert and I am a professional … I am an American Soldier.’ Yet, as Kaurin writes elsewhere, are not those at the lowest level of military members … just doing a job that the military trained them and pays them for? Another issue [also] emerges, not so much in terms of rank or education, but more in terms of experience and age: Is there any meaningful sense in which we could consider an eighteen- to twenty-two-year-old to be a professional, whether enlisted or an officer freshly commissioned? (Shanks-Kaurin 2018, 7)

Kaurin’s second point is that adopting the Guardian ethos will require us ‘to think in much more nuanced ways about … the use of lethal force’ (2014, 89). Where, for the warrior, the use of lethal force is the central defining characteristic, for the Guardian it is one available option among many.2 Critically for the purposes of this book this will also mean that, ‘since the aim will no longer be exclusively focused to the destruction of the enemy, and will also include a focus on the populations involved, this necessitates different calculations about proportionality, collateral damage and to what extent potentially lethal force will be efficacious in achieving the mission’ (p. 89). The Guardian ethos’ relative de-emphasis of warfighting also addresses another problem with the ‘military professional’ construct:  the standard account of the military professional of someone with special expertise in ‘the management of violence’. This description seems to exclude a wide range of military personnel, including officers, whose expertise lies instead in such areas as engineering, information technology, logistics, law, medicine and so on. Where the description of ‘military professional’  – focused as it is on the application of armed force  – sits uncomfortably with these areas of specialization, all are compatible with the idea that these military practitioners are ‘guardians’. Kaurin’s third point relates to how victory is conceptualized  – this will need to be reassessed, she argues, if the Guardian ethos is to be applied: It cannot any longer be a decisive battle in the physical environment, with a secondary focus on the mental and emotional aspects; rather there must be significant attention to populations and the cultural, religious, social, economic factors necessary to their thriving and flourishing. In addition, shifting how we think about victory and success also means that we need to take a much longer view about the time, resources and energy that we are willing to commit to operations that will involve asymmetric conflicts. Rather than thinking of ‘winning’ in

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terms of success in battles, we need to shift to thinking about the war and the distinct possibility that winning battles is not the way to win a war. (Kaurin 2014, 90)

This is, perhaps, somewhat overstated and constrained by Kaurin’s exclusive focus on one form of contemporary warfare, but it seems to me that the broad point is nonetheless a sound one. Finally, Kaurin goes on to suggest that the Guardian ethos will affect how the idea of the military profession is understood. This, however, is left unexplored – in the chapter in which she discusses the Guardian ethos she proposes to hold over this issue to the book’s final chapter on civil– military relations. That chapter, however, includes no direct treatment of the relationship of the Guardian ethos to the notion of the military as a profession. Instead this is left open, as a topic requiring future ‘serious discussion’ (Kaurin 2014, 122): This discussion also needs to take seriously whether the Warrior ethos of the military is appropriate and to what extent another model of the military profession, like the Guardian ethos I argued for, … is necessary and even desirable. Is Huntington right that the core of the military profession is the management of violence? Even if that once held, is it still true? (Kaurin 2014, 123)

As I have already indicated, there are significant problems with the idea of the military as a profession. Kaurin’s brief comments in The Warrior, Military Ethics, and Contemporary Warfare suggest that she recognizes that. She goes further in her contribution to the exemplar publication on the military profession I  have focused on here (Nathan Finney and Tyrell Mayfield’s Redefining the Military Profession), explicitly acknowledging that the military fits awkwardly with notions of military professionalism put forward by Huntington and the like. But rather than reject the military profession construct outright, Kaurin proposes that we should treat the idea of a military profession as an aspirational ideal rather than as an achieved status for military practitioners: If we think about a military profession as an aspiration or goal towards which to work, we can acknowledge two things. First, the development of the military as a profession, as with other professions, is a work in progress. … The military … is always in the process of becoming a profession, just as individuals are always in the process of becoming professionals. … In this process, there must be room for critical

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questioning and reassessing of this identity and the ethical values. … Second, it means that the ethical values of the military are rooted and grounded in a way that is fundamentally different from the ethical values of other vocations or jobs, like business, fashion, or child care. If the military is a profession, then the ethical values of the military must be grounded in the nature and identity of the military as a profession and will therefore be generated internally. (Shanks-Kaurin 2018, 8)

While I understand Kaurin’s reluctance to entirely dispose of a concept which has very significant traction within the military profession, I believe that the shortcomings of this notion, and the availability of a far better alternative in the form of the Guardian ethos (and, from the perspective of civil–military relations scholarship, theoretical frameworks like Peter Feaver’s Agency Theory), mean that is what needs to be done. There are, then, many reasons to favour the Guardian ethos over both the warrior ethos and that of the military professional. Critically for the purpose of the argument in this book, it is also well placed to serve as the ‘bridge’ between the soldier and the state. To help see this, think about how a bridge works. As British science writer Chris Woodford explains, bridges in general succeed by ‘balancing two main kinds of forces called compression (a pushing or squeezing force, acting inward) and tension (a pulling or stretching force, acting outward), channeling the load (the total weight of the bridge and the things it carries) onto abutments (the supports at either side)’ (Woodford 2018; emphases in original).3 In the previous chapter I discussed what is necessary to ensure that the abutments on either side of the gap between soldier and state are suitable to the task. I have also argued that the warrior ethos and the idea of the military practitioner as a professional are inadequate to the task of carrying the load, and risk plunging the soldier (sailor, airman or marine) into the gap, causing ethical failure or moral injury. What makes the Guardian ethos suitable here is its ability, I contend, to balance the two main forces which must be managed for this moral bridge to be successful. Here I am talking about what I have called the ‘virtuous tension’ between the individualist and rights-focused approach of the Rationalist Perspective of modernity, on the one hand, and the broadly consequentialist viewpoint of the Naturalist Perspective of modernity, on the other. This tension is at the heart of the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state, and it is also at the heart of a properly understood conception of military ethics. The Guardian ethos is able to balance these two forces for the individual military practitioner. One the one hand, the Guardian ethos is perfectly compatible with a recognition of, and responsiveness to, the rights of the individual.

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Recall McCormack’s proposal that ‘the values of the British Army should be derived from the proposal that:  All human persons have a shared moral status, a status based upon fundamental and inalienable natural rights’ based on the recognizably Kantian position that ‘all human persons possess an inherent dignity and worth’ (McCormack 2015, 12; emphasis in original). An individual who identifies herself with the ethos of a Guardian will have no problem acknowledging and acting on a recognition of the weight of this view. Indeed, the idea of protection is at the very heart of the notion of being a guardian. By contrast, the idea of a war-ior is centred first and foremost on engaging in war – ethics is at best secondary. Consider how the warrior ethos can quickly become associated in the minds of some practitioners with (to use a contemporary example) the death-skull and vengeful motives of ‘the Punisher’. Or consider the ethically problematic practices of traditional warrior cultures, such as the samurai practice of tsujigiri, testing out a new sword or fighting technique on a random passer-by (tsujigiri translates as ‘crossroads killing’).4 Some might argue that the warrior ethos is necessary to ensure that military personnel display what is sometimes referred to as the ‘warrior virtues’, most notably courage. As Clausewitz put it, ‘War is the realm of danger; therefore courage is the soldier’s first requirement’ (quoted in Kaurin 2014, 24). But notice how a switch from ‘warrior’ to ‘guardian’ does not endanger this requirement. As Kaurin points out, ‘war begins, not with the willingness to kill, but with the willingness to risk dying. Aquinas concurred, arguing that the willingness to die was the hallmark of the courageous action’ (p. 22). Arguably, ‘willingness to die’ fits even more comfortably with a self-image of ‘guardian’ than it does with a self-image of ‘warrior’. There is, of course, more to courage than just this. As Kaurin points out, Clausewitz distinguishes between ‘two kinds of courage: 1) courage in the face of personal danger (physical courage) and 2) the courage to accept responsibility (moral courage)’ (quoted in Kaurin 2014, 24). Again, while the idea of accepting responsibility is not incompatible with an understanding of oneself as a war-ior, it is intrinsic to the idea of oneself as a guard-ian. So the Guardian ethos can well accommodate the recognition of the worth of individuals that is so central to the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state, and we might reasonably expect that this should likewise be compatible with a wide range of the individual moral frameworks which define the identity of military practitioners. But as we have seen, a focus only on individual rights pushes strongly towards contingent pacifism, for as Morkevicius puts it, ‘unfortunately, the idea of a war that does not endanger civilians (nor target non-liable combatants) is pure fiction. Requiring adherence to impossible standards forecloses the possibility of using force’ (2018, 220). The consequentialist impulse in modernity which has helped

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shape the liberal state is best placed to accommodate this. It is an inescapable fact that war is, by its nature, a collective activity, and in order to be successful any ethos which seeks to bridge the gap between the soldier and the state must be able to accommodate this fact without in so doing failing to recognize the inherent value of the individual. As Michael Walzer eloquently puts it, This is, after all, one of the reasons that we hate war: It is a coercively collectivizing enterprise; a tyrannical enterprise; it overrides individuality, and it makes the kind of attention that we would like to pay to each person’s moral standing impossible; it is universally oppressive. Just war theory is adapted to the moral reality of war, which means that ‘justice’ in the theory lives, so to speak, under a cloud. (Walzer 2006, 43)

The Guardian ethos is able, it seems to me, to accommodate the ‘virtuous tension’ between a recognition of the value of the individual, on the one hand, and the need to carry out the state’s mandate as protector of its citizens and the nation as a whole, on the other. Put differently, the Guardian ethos can, and must, accommodate the virtuous tension that faces military practitioners, that between acting as protector of the dignity and value of the individuals – friendly, enemy and neutral – they encounter in the course of their service, and their role as protector of the nation. To see how this might work, let us turn to a consideration of one of the most vexing tenets of military ethics, the doctrine of double effect.5

The doctrine of double effect and the Guardian ethos I briefly introduced the DDE in the Introduction and alluded there to its controversial nature. To recap, in the context of the use of military force the DDE most commonly comes into play as a consequence of a challenge posed by the principle of discrimination, which requires that non-combatants not be targeted in war because they are, in the relevant sense, ‘innocent’ – that is, they are not engaged in the business of war and therefore not liable to be killed. But as Valerie Morkevicius has forcefully reminded us, ‘the idea of a war which does not endanger civilians (nor target non-liable combatants) is pure fiction. Requiring adherence to impossible standards forecloses the possibility of using force’ (2018, 220). The sad reality, however, is that war is a messy business and civilians and other non-combatants are invariably among the bulk of the casualties of war. In the First World War, due to the static nature of the conflict, there were relatively few civilian deaths caused by military action. Since then, however, as military forces have become

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more mobile and irregular forces have increasingly sheltered within civilian populations, the ratio of civilian deaths to combatant deaths has increased alarmingly. The Iraq Body Count project, for example, estimated in 2018 that of the approximately 288,000 war-related deaths that had occurred in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, between 64 and 71 per cent were non-combatants.6 While many of those deaths were the result of the deliberate targeting of civilians, and so constitute acts of murder or war crimes (depending on whether a domestic law or Law of Armed Conflict paradigm is applied), many of those deaths were either unintended and unforeseen, or foreseen but unintended. The latter group of deaths falls into the category often referred to as ‘collateral damage’. While we might hope for, and should unquestionably strive towards, a future in which collateral damage does not occur, as things currently stand (and as things will, realistically, be for the foreseeable future), we do not have any means by which to fight wars without causing any collateral damage. Without a means to identify when collateral damage can be ethically acceptable, the only (extremely unpalatable) options available are either a contingent pacifism of the type which revisionist Just War thinking trends towards or an unprincipled form of realism in which the principle of discrimination is abandoned altogether. There is broad agreement that Thomas Aquinas was the first scholar to articulate the DDE. In his Summa Theologica (II-II, Qu. 64, Art. 7)  he discusses the ethics of killing in self-defence. Like Augustine before him, Aquinas was addressing the knotty problem for Christians bound by the Sixth Commandment (‘thou shall not kill’) faced with the prospect of using lethal force in self-defence. Where other Christian thinkers (including Augustine) had maintained a hard pacifist line in this regard, Aquinas noted that ‘nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. … Accordingly, the act of self-defense may have two effects: one, the saving of one’s life; the other, the slaying of the aggressor.’ Accordingly, he argued, an act intended to save one’s life which has the unintended, but foreseen, effect of the death of the attacker could be justified  – the defender has not intended to kill, only to defend. But this permission to use lethal force in the cause of self-defence should not, Aquinas contended, be without limits – ‘though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore, if a man in self-defence uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful, whereas, if he repels force with moderation, his defence will be lawful’ (Aquinas 1988, 226–7). There are thus both deontological and consequentialist elements to the DDE. Most scholars of the ethics of killing today would not apply the DDE to the case of individual self-defence. Instead, we apply some version of the idea

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of forfeiture. In the case addressed by Aquinas, the idea is that the attacker, in seeking to seriously harm or kill the defender, has in so doing forfeited his or her right not to be killed. Thus, in using lethal force (where that force is proportional to the threat) in self-defence, the defender does no moral harm to the attacker. This is not because he or she does not intend to kill the attacker (as in Aquinas’s account), but because the attacker has forfeited his or her right not to be killed. The key element in this approach is the status of the target, whether or not she or he is liable to be attacked. In the case of self-defence, liability is incurred due to being engaged in an illegitimate attack on the defender. In the case of war, liability is incurred by taking on the status of a combatant, someone who (in Michael Walzer’s celebrated phrase) is ‘engaged in harm’. Application of the DDE in war is, therefore, today generally limited to cases involving the foreseeable deaths of those who are not liable to harm – non-combatants. As most widely applied, the DDE can be summed up as a four-step test: 1. The act itself (i.e. the act that will result in the harm in question) is either a good or morally neutral act. 2. The act is intended to achieve the good effect that will result, not the bad effect. The test here is a counterfactual –would the act go ahead if the bad effect were not going to occur? 3. The good effect must not be caused by the bad effect. 4. The harm caused by the act must not be out of proportion to the good that will be achieved. Consider, by way of illustration, a fictional example which nonetheless reflects a fairly common situation in contemporary armed conflict involving a high-value target (HVT) (let’s call this HVT strike). Imagine that intelligence reports indicated, with a high degree of reliability, that an HVT  – in this case an influential and capable insurgent leader responsible for multiple atrocities – will be at a certain place at a certain time. Time constraints do not allow for the insertion of a Special Forces team to attempt to capture or, failing that, kill the HVT. The only targeting option available is to engage the HVT with an air-launched missile. Unfortunately, the location where the HVT will be at the time when he can be targeted is in the middle of a village, and it is almost certain that some of the villagers will be killed in the strike (intelligence estimates are that there will be between five and twenty civilian casualties). In this fictional case, is it legitimate to go ahead with the strike on the HVT? The first test, according to the DDE, is whether or not the act itself – firing the missile at the HVT – is either a good or morally neutral act. In this case it seems clear that the answer is in the positive: the target is a legitimate target and

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failing to engage him now will likely result in further atrocities in the future. The second test asks whether the intentions of those ordering the strike are appropriate – is the intention to achieve the good effect, or the bad effect? In this case, again, it seems that the test is met, as the intention is clearly to kill the HVT – were it possible to kill the HVT without causing the death of any villagers, the strike would certainly still go ahead. Third, the good effect (killing the HVT) must not be a consequence of the bad effect. Again, the requirement is met – the deaths of the villagers do not cause the death of the HVT. Finally, the DDE requires an assessment of proportionality – is the death of the HVT of such importance that it outweighs the harm of causing the deaths of between five and twenty villagers? This is, in this case, the hardest question to answer, as there is no hard and fast rule for weighing proportionality. While the DDE is widely considered to be an important means of distinguishing between permissible collateral damage and the unjustified killing of non-combatants, some scholars are sceptical about the doctrine. The most common concern is that it places too much emphasis on intentions. While it is obviously a good thing that non-combatants are not intentionally targeted, it matters little to those who are killed, and their loved ones, that their deaths were ‘foreseen but not intended’ rather than directly intended. So is this really a strong enough basis on which to rest a distinction between permissible and impermissible killing of non-combatants? The fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of academic journal articles and books engaging with this doctrine is a fair indication that it remains, from a philosophical perspective, deeply challenging. Yet, in practice, it remains vital to the ethics of war if we are not to find ourselves facing an unpalatable choice between contingent pacifism or unfettered realism. My contention is that, at least in the context of the application of military force, the DDE represents the meeting point of the ‘virtuous tension’ between what I have argued are the two main normative forces of modernity which constitute the foundation of the thin and narrow morality of the state:  the emphasis on the rights and dignity of the individual, on the one hand, and the recognition of the normative weight of the group that is inherent in consequentialist morality, on the other. As a general rule it is the rights of the individual that takes primacy. This is the basis of domestic law and, in the sphere of war, gives primacy to the principle of discrimination. Pressing up against this first principle, however, is the need for the state to fulfil its responsibilities to the nation as a whole, which must sometimes, in sufficiently severe circumstances, override the rights and dignity of affected individuals. As the UK 2010 National Security Strategy correctly states, ‘providing security for the nation and for its citizens remains the most important responsibility of government’ (Government of the United Kingdom 2010, 3).

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Understood this way the DDE in the context of war is a doctrine of the state, not of the individual carrying out the particular acts of war in question. Consider again the hypothetical example discussed above, HVT strike. The principle of discrimination takes primacy  – were that not the case, there would be no ethical challenge inherent in this case. The starting assumption, then, is that the right to life of all those likely to be affected by the attack must be respected. The principle of forfeiture tells us that the HVT, who is the primary target, and other combatants likely to be killed or harmed in the strike are legitimate targets  – that is, we do no moral wrong in seeking to kill them. That, however, does not apply to the non-combatants who we foresee (though do not intend) will be killed or harmed. And so we reach the point of tension  – the force of the state’s commitment to the rights and dignity of the individual presses up against the force of the state’s moral responsibility to protect the nation it serves. The tension is ‘virtuous’ because if we were to ignore the first moral ‘force’ there would be no constraint on the state’s use of force, and if we were to ignore the second moral ‘force’ the state would be unable to use military force at all in defence of the nation. So the application of the DDE acts as a deadlock-breaking mechanism, a means of deciding which of these forces should take precedence in the inevitable boundary disputes between these two moral foundations of the liberal state at war. The idea of the soldier/sailor/airman/marine as ‘Guardian’ fits seamlessly with this understanding. As an agent of the state she or he is, first, a guardian of the rights and dignity of the individual. This will permeate the way she or he interacts with colleagues, civilians, non-liable enemy personnel … and enemy combatants. At the same time, the Guardian must exercise, on behalf of the state, the state’s responsibility as protector of the nation. Regrettably, this will sometimes mean that sufficiently serious consequences will require the Guardian to act in ways which foreseeably cause harm to non-combatants. But that harm must never be what is intended, for that would directly undermine the Guardian’s role as protector of the rights and dignity of the individual. And that harm must never be inflicted lightly  – the circumstances must be reasonably judged to be sufficiently serious, and the potential contribution to achieving the intended military effect must be reasonably judged to be sufficiently significant.

The Guardian ethos, individual morality and moral injury The example of the DDE cues us in to see just how the Guardian ethos works as a bridge between the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state and the

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wide and deep morality of the individual moral identity of the state’s armed servants. There is no requirement here that members of the armed services take on the all-encompassing identity of ‘warrior’, or that they all develop special expertise in the management of violence as ‘military professionals’. What is required is that they adopt a minimalist but powerful ethos which should be compatible with a wide range of different individual moral frameworks – because it connects directly to the fundamental foundations of the conception of the state which accommodates that variety of conceptions of the good, meaningful and valuable life. This is entirely consistent with Asa Kasher’s contention that ‘the teaching and training of people in uniform have to inculcate the right commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy’ (2008, 135). As an anonymous reviewer of this manuscript commented in this regard, a major advantage, then, ‘of the Guardian paradigm for soldiers in liberal democratic countries is that it can be taught effectively at military institutions to incoming officers and can be taught in basic training’ (more on this in Chapter 7). The Guardian ethos is also true to Philip McCormack’s determination to embed the values and standards of the British Army in the philosophical underpinnings of the liberal democratic state, but it does not overstep its bounds. How, exactly, does adopting a Guardian ethos act to prevent ethical failure and moral injury? Consider, first, the more common forms of battlefield ethical failure. A  scan of recent headlines highlighting such cases shows that they almost always involve either using unwarranted force, using force against non-liable persons, or else acting in a manner which unnecessarily violates the human dignity of combatants or noncombatants. Such actions are not, by some interpretations at least, entirely incompatible with the self-understanding of a war-ior, which morphs too easily into seeing one’s role as being primarily about killing or being a ‘punisher’. Unfortunately, this kind of mentality is not uncommon among contemporary military personnel. For example, a recent funeral for a US Air Force special operations combat controller, arranged by his fellow special operations airmen, featured the burning of a specially constructed ‘Viking longship’, and it is common for US special operations personnel, on hearing of the death of one of their own, to wish them a speedy journey to ‘Valhalla’. Vikings were of course known for their ferocity in battle, but they were equally well known for their unconstrained bloodthirstiness and propensity for ‘rape and pillage’  – clearly it is problematic when this has become the self-identity of a modern soldier/sailor/marine/airman who is expected to fight with discrimination and within the bounds of law and ethics. The tension here is evident in the confusion in this comment from one of the fallen airman’s teammates:

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When two members of the 26th Special Tactics Squadron learned of [the airman’s] death, [a Viking funeral] was the first thing that came to mind. ‘After we got the news, we spent some time being sad, but we immediately thought, “We have to honor Dylan, a true warrior,” ’ one special tactics airman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Task & Purpose. ‘The whole warrior culture is very prevalent in the special operations community, and I’m sure you see these super-hard types on Twitter and Instagram and stuff ’, he added. ‘But Dylan wasn’t some Viking or lone wolf — he was a warrior professionally.’ (Keller 2018)

I am in no way suggesting that this particular airman was involved in any form of unethical or illegal battlefield conduct. Despite the prevalence of this unhelpful warrior ethos – fuelled by a growth industry in ‘tactical’ apparel bearing slogans such as ‘Although he had many hobbies, his most favorite of all was stacking bodies’ and ‘I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me’7 – the majority of military personnel who serve liberal democratic states do so appropriately. But this kind of ethos unquestionably confuses things and opens up a significant danger that inappropriate conduct will occur. In contrast, a military practitioner who understands him or herself as a Guardian, where that description is linked firmly to a deep respect for the rights and dignity of the individual (whatever ‘side’ of the conflict that individual happens to be on), will be primed for restraint in circumstances in which inappropriate use of force and related unethical behaviour might occur. The focus for the Guardian is on what he protects, not on the harm he inflicts. It corresponds well with Augustine’s classic advice to the military practitioner:  ‘Let necessity slay the warring foe, not your will’ (Augustine [354–430] 1994, 220). It is also inherent in the self-identity of the Guardian that she is willing to take risk onto herself and her fellow Guardians in order to fulfil her role as protector. Now consider how the Guardian ethos can serve to prevent moral injury. As we saw in Chapter 3, moral injury results from moral trauma and can take the form of either moral dislocation or moral degradation. The moral trauma that results in these two forms of moral injury occurs when the individual in question is exposed to circumstances which are deeply at odds with her or his moral framework. Sometimes, of course, moral trauma can be a consequence of ethical failure – someone who has, say, mistreated or harmed a prisoner or non-combatant can be morally traumatized and either experience moral dislocation (a debilitation arousal of moral emotions such as guilt and shame) or else become morally degraded (and therefore unable to manifest moral emotions appropriately). If, as I am arguing, a Guardian ethos can help military practitioners better avoid ethical failures of this

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kind, the knock-on effect will therefore be a reduction in cases of this kind of moral injury. Other cases of moral injury occur when the sufferer is unable to reconcile his or her own moral identity with the jarring realities of warfare. This is particularly common where collateral damage occurs. Consider, for example, the experience of ‘Jamie’, a mission intelligence coordinator for a Royal Air Force Reaper crew, whose first ‘weapon event’ in this role was an attack on a Taliban vehicle which was carrying explosives (a legitimate target), but which also resulted in the deaths of a number of civilians: ‘How did I find myself in this situation? I  joined the Reaper Force to make a positive difference after the shit I experienced on the ground in Afghanistan. How did my first weapon event turn into a nightmare, an awful nightmare?’ (Lee 2018, 107). Jamie’s experiencing this situation as a ‘nightmare’ is appropriate – it reflects his ‘ineradicable sense that human life is to be respected’ (Taylor 1989, 8). But this moral pain could easily turn into moral injury if there is not in place an ethos which enables the combatant to reconcile such events. A focus entirely on the rights and dignity of the individual would be effectively useless in this regard. Likewise, an ethic of war which is focused solely on the rights and dignity of the individual (as advocated by revisionist Just War thinkers) rejects the traditional view of the moral equality of combatants, and with it the divide between the justice of the war as a whole (jus ad bellum) and the justice of acts within a war (jus in bello), therefore loading onto the shoulders of combatants responsibility not only for their actions but also for the justice of the war itself – a recipe for moral injury if there ever was one. In such a scheme the combatant cannot avail himself of Augustine’s comfort that ‘one who owes a duty of obedience to the giver of the command does not himself “kill” – he is an instrument, a sword in its user’s hand’ (Augustine [426] 2014, XIII.10). On the other hand, the Guardian ethos, as we have seen, accommodates the ‘virtuous tension’ between the respect for the individual and the responsibility of the state. As Walzer reminds us, ‘no government can put the life of the community and all its members at risk, so long as there are actions available to it, even [normally] immoral actions, that would avoid or reduce the risk. … That is what political leaders are for; that is their first task’ (2000, 42). The acknowledgement of the legitimacy of this state-level perspective within the Guardian ethos helps the Guardian to cope with many of the ugly realities of war. Wars are not ‘immaculate’, and if they must be fought the Guardian must accept that collateral damage – while always undesirable and to be avoided wherever reasonably possible  – will occur. This perspective also helps the military practitioner to come to terms with the harsh reality that the violent and chaotic nature of war almost inevitably gives rise to what

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Marcus Schulzke calls ‘ethically insoluble dilemmas’: ‘They are insoluble in the sense that it is unreasonable to expect a person to judge these problems effectively and to make sound decisions given the circumstances in which these decisions must be made’ (Schulzke 2013, 95). Military practitioners must often make very difficult decisions based on very limited information. The Guardian ethos’ starting emphasis on respect for the rights and dignity of the individual is an important guide in such cases, as is the Ethical Triangulation model I outline in Chapter 7. But as Schulzke rightly points out, ‘Ethically insoluble dilemmas are a serious challenge regardless of the moral theory that one applies. Agents who face ethically insoluble dilemmas lack the crucial information that they need to understand the situation and to evaluate different courses of action’ (p. 96). When this happens, and the outcome is undesirable (say a teammate or non-combatant is killed), the military practitioner is confronted by the tragedy of war. In such cases it is vital that she be able to draw on an ethos which recognizes the legitimacy of the state waging war even in the light of the inevitability of such events taking place  – if that is not available to her, the weight of her actions will likely prove unbearable. As Kaurin warns, ‘where there is a gulf between the ethical demands placed upon warriors and their lived experience of war, we do and will find significant ethical breakdowns’ (2014, 12). Of course, this does not remove the moral pain of such events. If this were to happen that would simply be another form of moral injury – moral degradation. But the Guardian ethos allows its adherent to be remorseful about non-combatants who are killed in the course of a war waged within the constraints of jus in bello, while protecting her from guilt and shame. We should not desire military professionals who feel no moral pain, but nor should we accept an ethos which unduly opens the military professional up to the risk of moral injury. There is, of course, more to be said. An appropriate ethos is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for the minimization of ethical failure and moral injury. In the next chapter I outline a range of factors which can contribute to both, before moving on to suggest some practical means by which to mitigate these risk factors.

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War is a form of social interaction which puts morality and ethics under pressure like no other. In the terms I have been using in this book, it is an enterprise which sets morality at war with ethics. Yet, if we are to resist the unpalatable alternatives of pacifism and unconstrained realism we must have ways to fight which are acceptable both to the societies our armed forces serve and to the individual consciences of the individuals who bear arms against the nation’s enemies. My argument in this book is that this requires an understanding of the ethics of war which is compatible with the foundational perspectives which shape our contemporary modern and liberal democracies, and it requires an ethos for military practitioners which enables them to reconcile the killing and destruction which is inescapably a feature of war with both their own individual moral frameworks and the thin and narrow morality of the state. For the first I have contended that the ethics of war must be understood from a statist perspective and cannot be reduced to the rights of the individual (as revisionists would have us believe). For the second I have argued for the adoption of a ‘Guardian’ ethos, which can accommodate the ‘virtuous tension’ at the heart of the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state. Such an ethos, I have argued, also bridges this state morality to the deep and wide moral identity of the individual military practitioner and can play a vital role in addressing moral injury and ethical failure. We must, however, go further. We must account for the growing evidence from experimental and other studies which is now emerging and which cumulatively supports an important and somewhat troubling conclusion:  ethical behaviour is not fully reducible to the deliverances of an individual’s moral identity and ethos. Instead, there are a range of environmental and other contextual factors which significantly influence the way we act when faced with ethically challenging circumstances. US Army officer H. M. ‘Mike’ Denny might well be accused of understatement when he writes that ‘combat is not an ideal environment for decision-making’ (2018, 56). Environmental factors can, in some circumstances, lead to poor ethical

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choices which run against the grain for otherwise ethically sound decision makers. In other words, these factors can not only result in ethical failure but can also potentially lead to moral injury. It is vital that this be properly understood in the context of military ethics. Military forces have a tendency, in response to notable cases of ethical failure, to tighten up the rules and focus on ‘building character’ – but this often ignores and does not address the contextual factors which are in many cases important causes of the ethical failures in question.1 Likewise, it has become increasingly common among military ethicists (following a suggestion put forward by my colleague Stephen Coleman (2009)) to distinguish between ‘ethical dilemmas’ (situations where the complexity of the ethical choice facing the decision maker makes it difficult to know what the right thing to do is) and ‘tests of integrity’ (situations where it is clear what the ethical thing to do is, but for whatever reason it is difficult to do that thing). The distinction itself is a helpful one, and one I  employ myself quite regularly in my teaching. There is a danger, however, that the phrase ‘tests of integrity’ can obscure the contextual factors – distinct from the decision maker’s integrity or lack thereof – which can significantly affect ethical decision-making. Ethical failures which occur when the right thing to do is clear to a rational observer are not always just a consequence of a lack of integrity on the part of the offender. The Canadian psychologist and defence scientist Deanna Messervey has, along with her co-authors, led the way in articulating the relevance of much of the experimental research and field data related to ethical decision-making for the military context. She writes, An individual’s moral code is far from the only factor that shapes an individual’s decisions on the battlefield. Research has shown that an individual’s split-second decisions can be influenced by strong situational cues, and that these situational cues are as important as an individual’s moral code in predicting ethical and unethical actions on the battlefield. In fact, the power of a situation to override an individual’s considered judgment has been well-documented in the psychological literature. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 83)

While I cannot do full justice to Messervey’s work, and even less so to the broad base of scholarship on which it is based, in this chapter I attempt to identify some of the most important factors which can potentially impact on military ethical decision-making. If the philosophical reflections of the earlier chapters of this book were, to some readers, overly abstract, the

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considerations outlined here are bluntly practical and should be part of the knowledge base of any military leader. What follows is an unranked list of what seem to me to be the twelve most significant risk factors of this kind – a ‘dirty dozen’, if you like. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and is contingent on the deliverances of research as they stand at the time of writing.

Combat exposure The wars which have been fought by the current generation of military practitioners have generally exposed a relatively small number of troops (particularly special operations forces) to a frequency (if not always intensity) of combat exposure far greater than that experienced by their predecessors in conventional wars such as the Second World War and the Korean War. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a significant risk factor for ethical failure which has been identified by researchers is combat exposure. As Jo Brick rightly points out, It is easy to answer an ethical question on, say, detainee handling, while we are in the peaceful confines of a café in Canberra or Washington, DC. It is an altogether different matter if we are infantry soldiers answering the same question after a fierce battle in the dusty and oppressive heat of Kandahar Province. This is not to condone or justify any behaviour that runs counter to the law or professional military codes, but rather to highlight that human emotion can cloud rational judgment when determining ethical issues. (Brick 2018, 23)

Messervey and Peach quote a study which showed a clear correlation between levels of combat exposure among US soldiers and self-reported incidences of mistreatment of non-combatants. Another study shows that US soldiers who had handled corpses were statistically more likely to report that they had physically assaulted a non-combatant. ‘Taken together, these findings suggest that combat exposure is a risk factor for unethical attitudes and unethical behaviour’ (Messervey and Peach 2014, 85). What is difficult to evaluate is whether combat per se is a risk factor, or whether combat simply provides a context which is in many respects the ‘perfect storm’ for the risk factors listed below – stress, anger and aggression, fatigue, animalistic dehumanization and so on. Regardless, it is clear that rates of combat exposure must be taken very seriously by leaders seeking to mitigate the risk of ethical failure and consequent moral injury.

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Stress To state the blindingly obvious, combat is – as Messervey and Peach dryly point out – ‘a highly stressful experience’ (2014, 85). Of course, it is not only combat which causes high levels of stress to military personnel – there are a wide range of circumstances in which they experience extreme stress, even if combat does not in fact eventuate. Stress is well known to affect cognitive function. For example, it ‘makes it difficult to learn new information and to remember previously learned information’ and undermines the ‘ability to engage in deliberate and rational thinking’ (Messervey and Peach 2014, 85). Unfortunately, stress also significantly increases the likelihood of unethical behaviour. As Robert Sapolsky wryly points out, ‘the effects of stress … are dissected by the late Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner in an aptly titled paper, “How to Think, Say or Do Precisely the Worst Thing on Any Occasion.” … The chance that you will do precisely the wrong thing rises not despite your best efforts but because of a stress-boggled version of them’ (2017, 62). The problem with stress is that it undermines the functioning of the parts of the brain most responsible for deliberate rational thought. Specifically, ‘during sustained stress, the amygdala processes emotional sensory information more rapidly and less accurately, dominates hippocampal function, and disrupts frontocortical function; we’re more fearful, our thinking is muddled, and we assess risks poorly and act impulsively out of habit rather than incorporating new data’ (Sapolsky 2017, 131). The effect on the frontal cortex is particularly important because, as Sapolsky emphasizes, ‘the frontal cortex makes you do the harder thing when it’s the right thing to do’ (2017, 45; emphasis in original). While it is somewhat of a heuristic, it has become common (in part as a result of Daniel Kahneman’s bestselling book Thinking Fast and Slow (2011)) to describe human cognition as being the product of two distinct ‘systems’ or as two ‘types’ of thinking. Messervey and Squires translate this into the military context as follows: Sometimes people make quick, intuitive and effortless decisions, which are beyond their level of awareness and do not require access to a working memory resource. This kind of quick and effortless thinking is called Type 1 processing. Firing drills and other repetitive training used by militaries to make behavioural responses automatic are examples of Type 1 processing at work. Indeed, the ‘train as we intend to fight’ doctrine is predicated on the insight that successful training depends on the appropriate response being automatic. … At other times, people

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make decisions in which they engage in deliberative, effortful processing that is generally slow and involve controlled attention and awareness. This kind of thinking is called Type 2 processing. Unlike Type 1 processing, Type 2 requires access to a working-memory resource. Type 2 processing is used any time you need focused attention, such as when completing your taxes and/or learning a new task. It is also used when reasoning about hypothetical moral dilemmas. (Messervey and Squires 2014, 62)

It is this second type of thinking which is most negatively affected by stress. To illustrate this, in his bestselling account of the science of human behaviour, Behave:  The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (2017), Robert Sapolsky reports on two studies (Starcke et al. 2011; Youssef et al. 2012) which evaluated the impact of stress on moral decision-making. Subjects were asked to respond to a range of scenarios requiring moral choices, some of low emotional intensity and others of high emotional intensity. In some cases the subjects had previously been subjected to a social stressor, while in the other cases the preceding environment had been stress-neutral. ‘Stress made people give more egoistic answers about emotionally intense moral decisions (but not milder ones); the more [stress-induced] glucocorticoid levels rose, the more egoistic the answers. Moreover, in the same paradigm, stress lessened how altruistic people claimed they’d be concerning personal (but not impersonal) moral decisions.’ In short, these studies reveal ‘bad news: stress biases us toward selfishness’ (Sapolsky 2017, 132). Related to stress is time pressure, which has similar limiting effects which can result in less than optimal decision-making and action. In a helpful summary of recent scholarship Jessica L.  Wildman and her colleagues explain, Under high levels of time pressure, team members tend to use a combination of the following activities: limit their search for information; … use less rigorous and complicated decision-making strategies (e.g., simplify the problem, use heuristics, tend not to consider multiple alternatives …); narrow focus to a limited range of task-salient cues; … important information is often discounted, and negative information that gains attention is often given greater weight; … and leaders who accelerate their cognitive processing send less information to team members. (Wildman et al. 2011, 75–6)

Clearly, none of this is good for ethical behaviour.

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Surprise I opened Chapter 4 with a short discussion of the case of Shidane Abukar Arone, the Somali teenager who was murdered by members of the (since disbanded) Canadian Airborne Regiment in 1993. The subsequent investigation noted that several other members of the regiment were in a position to intervene to stop the assault on Arone, but all of them failed to do so. The reason? A  significant factor seems to have been that they were taken by surprise by what they witnessed and were ‘shocked and confused’ and unable to respond appropriately. Messervey and Peach speculate that ‘this surprise may have made them more susceptible to situational cues such as the unethical actions of their comrades’ (2014, 86). (Situational cues are discussed in more detail below.) Like stress, surprise seems to affect the way the brain functions. As Sapolsky explains, under normal circumstances ‘when sensory information enters the brain … [m]ost is funnelled through that sensory way station in the thalamus and then to the appropriate cortical region (e.g. the visual or auditory cortex) for the slow, arduous process of decoding light pixels, sound waves, and so on into something identifiable. And finally information about it … is passed to the limbic system.’ However, the brain also incorporates a shortcut which bypasses this slower process and instead moves information directly from the thalamus to the amygdala, the part of the brain most associated with emotions and survival-focused behaviours. Thus, while the first few layers of, say, the visual cortex are futzing around with unpacking a complex image, the amygdala is already thinking, ‘That’s a gun!’ and reacting. [But] there’s the trade-off: information reaches the amygdala fast but is often inaccurate. The amygdala thinks it knows what it’s seeing before the frontal cortex slams on the brakes; an innocent man reaches for his wallet and dies. (Sapolsky 2017, 87–8)

Visceral states: Anger, fear and aggression Both surprise and stress have the effect of, as it were, ‘front-loading’ the amygdala in decision-making. The amygdala is also, as already mentioned, the part of the brain most closely associated with the emotions. And as with surprise and stress, this can negatively impact on ethically sound decisionmaking. Particularly for those exposed to the visceral realities of combat – including, but not limited to, special operations forces, infantry and other forward deployed combatants – emotions such as anger, fear and frustration

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can become overwhelming, and empirical studies have shown that this can result in unethical behaviour.2 Anger seems, for example, to have played a significant role in the Vietnam War massacre of civilians by US soldiers at My Lai, and the massacre carried out by US Marines in Haditha in Iraq (Messervey and Peach 2014, 87). Others who are deployed in roles which carry less direct risk and less direct exposure to the death and destruction of the battlefield may nonetheless still experience circumstances which cause high levels of anger and frustration. For example, anger and frustration seem to have played a significant role in motivating the abusive behaviour that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq: Sergeant Javal Davis said that a prisoner hitting a female member of the military police in the face with a cinder block triggered the anger he experienced when he stepped on the hands and feet of a group of prisoners. Likewise, Specialist Roman Krol reported that ‘Abu Ghraib was mortared almost everyday. People would die in there so my frustration level was pretty high. When I  heard that detainees had raped a little boy I completely went nuts.’ (Messervey and Peach 2014, 87)

While there are as yet no empirical studies showing a connection between anger and frustration and moral injury, it would not be at all surprising if such a link were confirmed. Consider, for example, the experience of ‘Gav’, a British Reaper (remotely piloted air vehicle) pilot interviewed by Peter Lee in his book Reaper Force (2018). Tasked to provide protection to troops on the ground, Gav and his team are preparing to strike a suspected ‘Islamic State’ (IS) armoured vehicle (believed to have been captured from Iraqi forces) which is approaching the troops’ position. At the last moment Gav and his crew are forced to hold off due to a request to double-check that the vehicle is ‘definitely under IS control’. During the intervening delay the suspect armoured vehicle moves within the danger radius for employing the Reaper’s Hellfire missiles: At the speed the armoured vehicle was moving, by the time a Hellfire reached it the Iraqi guards would be in the blast radius. The JTAC announced over the radio:  ‘Confirmed hostile. You are cleared hot.’ ‘Cleared hot’, confirmed Gav. Except they could not fire now without killing or wounding the Iraqi friendlies. … It was a massacre. From the IS perspective, it was a brilliantly planned and executed massacre. From 18,000ft overhead it was a slaughter. Worse, it was a preventable slaughter, in Gav’s view. (Lee 2018, 187–8)

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The impact of these emotions, which Messervey and her colleagues refer to as ‘visceral states’, is exacerbated in subjects who are more prone to aggressive behaviour. This is of course a particular challenge for military personnel whose training encourages aggression. The stress of combat adds to the likelihood of aggression. Sapolsky explains that ‘stress fosters aggression’ for a number of reasons, perhaps most notably because it reduces stress. Shock a rat and its glucocorticoid levels and blood pressure rise; with enough shocks, it’s at risk for a ‘stress’ ulcer. Various things can buffer the rat during shocks – running on a running wheel, eating, gnawing on wood in frustration. But a particularly effective buffer is for the rat to bite another rat. Stress-induced (aka frustration-induced) displacement aggression is ubiquitous in various species. (Sapolsky 2017, 131)

Given that the combat arms, particularly those responsible for the close fight, are still predominantly male in their personnel make-up, levels of testosterone play an important role here too  – though it is important that this not be misunderstood. The wide-spread view that testosterone causes aggression has been challenged by recent advances in neuroscience. As Sapolsky points out, ‘testosterone’s actions are contingent and amplifying, exacerbating pre-existing tendencies toward aggression rather than creating aggression out of thin air’ (2017, 105). In that regard, then, the effect of testosterone is like the effect of stress: it magnifies rather than causing a preexisting tendency for aggressive behaviour. Sapolsky notes that ‘aggression is typically more about social learning than testosterone, and differing levels of testosterone generally can’t explain why some individuals are more aggressive than others’ (2017, 102). Interestingly, it seems that ‘testosterone makes us more willing to do what it takes to attain and maintain status’ (p. 107), an important conclusion I will discuss in the next chapter. When considering the impact of emotions like anger, fear and frustration, and exacerbating factors like aggression, stress and testosterone, it is vital that we not overlook a key point. As Messervey and Squires explain, ‘it is important to recognize that emotions can lead to impulses, but that these impulses do not necessarily lead to behaviour. … In most cases … the impulse to seek revenge when people are caught up in the heat of the moment does not typically lead to unethical behaviour’ (Messervey and Squires 2014, 63). That, of course, makes sense – the vast majority of military personnel who experience situations which cause anger, fear, frustration and related ‘visceral states’ nonetheless behave honourably. So what, exactly, makes the critical difference? Neuroscientists and behavioural scientists have little doubt about

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the answer: self-control. ‘Self-control is one of the critical differences between military personnel who act ethically despite impulses to act otherwise and those who have faltered – that is, self-control is a distinguishing characteristic of professional and ethical military personnel’ (Messervey and Squires 2014, 64). I briefly and incompletely discuss the critical role that self-control plays in ethical behaviour in the next chapter, but it is important here to highlight a vital limitation on self-control:  it is a depletable resource. There is some controversy over what, precisely, is depleted, whether it is ‘willpower’ or ‘motivation’. For now, though, it is enough to note that self-control has its limits, as Sapolsky explains: All this ‘I wouldn’t do that if I  were you’-ing by the frontal cortex is taxing. … Frontal cortical neurons are generalists, with broad patterns of projections, which makes for more work. All this takes energy, and when it is working hard, the frontal cortex has an extremely high metabolic rate and rates of activation of genes related to energy production. Willpower is more than just a metaphor; self-control is a finite resource. … Pertinent to this is the concept of ‘cognitive load’. Make the frontal cortex work hard  – a tough working-memory task, regulating social behaviour, or making numerous decisions while shopping. Immediately afterward performance on a different frontally dependent task declines. Likewise during multitasking, where PFC [prefrontal cortex] neurons simultaneously participate in multiple activated circuits. (Sapolsky 2017, 49)

Where self-control is depleted, impulses are more likely to lead to unethical behaviour, whether on the battlefield or in ordinary life: ‘increase cognitive load on the frontal cortex, and afterward subjects become less prosocial  – less charitable or helpful, more likely to lie. Or increase cognitive load with a task requiring difficult emotional regulation, and subjects cheat more on their diets afterward’ (Sapolsky 2017, 50).

Fatigue Another factor which depletes or erodes self-control, and thereby increases the risk of ethical failure, is fatigue. While the everyday folk view considers the mind as being somehow separate from the physical functions of the body, it takes only brief reflection (and experience) to realize that our cognitive capabilities are body functions which are affected by how much energy we have available. Of course, some of us have better endurance in this regard

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than others – this is why military forces have for so long included a blend of physical and mental challenges in selection courses and the like. But in the end all of us find our thinking impaired by fatigue. That much is no surprise, but what is interesting here is that the reverse is true too  – physical tasks can become more difficult after a fatiguing cognitive challenge. Indeed, any act which requires the exercise of some form of self-control  – ‘resisting temptations, making choices, religious reminders, fatigue, stress, mood, orderliness and any act that requires controlled attention’ (Messervey and Squires 2014, 65)  – depletes glucose levels in the brain and has significant downstream impact. ‘Researchers have … found that people who used their self-control resource on one task were then more likely to act aggressively in response to provocation, show less sexual restraint, have impaired cognitive performance on intellectual tasks, be unable to inhibit impulsive behaviours, and demonstrate greater procrastination’ (p. 65). All of this is, needless to say, ethically risky. Sapolsky reports, likewise, that ‘various studies, predominantly by Roy Baumeister of Florida State University, show that when the frontal cortex labors hard on some cognitive task, immediately afterward individuals are more aggressive and less empathic, charitable, and honest. Metaphorically, the frontal cortex says, “Screw it. I’m tired and don’t feel like thinking about my fellow human” ’ (Sapolsky 2017, 91–2).

Anonymity In his book The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One (2009), my colleague David Kilcullen describes the experience – at the height of the counterinsurgency war in Iraq – of driving through Baghdad in a convoy of armoured vehicles: ‘This is truly an “urban submarine” – we drive around in an armoured box with three-inch-thick windows, peering out the portholes at the little Iraqi fish swimming by. They can’t see us, and we don’t seem human to them. We are aliens – Imperial stormtroopers with our Darth Vader sunglasses and grotesque and cowardly body armour’ (Kilcullen 2009, 136). This less than flattering description reflects Kilcullen’s belief, as a noted counterinsurgency expert, that counterinsurgency campaigns cannot succeed when the military personnel conducting them are isolated from the population of the region in question. There is another risk that is inherent in this isolation, the anonymity that comes from those ‘Darth Vader sunglasses’ and being invisible inside an ‘urban submarine’. Anonymity, it turns out, can be a significant factor in cases of ethically problematic behaviour. As Messervey and Peach explain,

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When people feel anonymous and unaccountable for their actions, they are at risk of acting aggressively and unethically. Instead of focusing on their personal identity, individuals who feel anonymous may instead focus on situational cues. If others are acting unethically, a feeling of anonymity may lead individuals to go along with others and also act unethically. For example, Robert Watson, an anthropologist, found that cultures where warriors change their appearance (e.g. through masks or face painting) were more likely to produce warriors who kill, torture or mutilate their enemies than cultures where warriors do not change their appearance. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 88)

In the contemporary context, camouflage face cream, sunglasses and helmets (not to mention ‘urban submarines’) can reasonably be expected to be a notable risk factor. There is also the anonymity of distance, where the ever-increasing standoff range enabled by modern weapons systems (such as sniper rifles) makes the combatant effectively invisible. For special operations units, which eschew name tapes on uniforms and allow the growth of face-hiding beards, or in some cases employ disguises, this is a risk factor of particular relevance. Anonymity likely plays a role in the set of circumstances which combine to create the phenomenon referred to as ‘bystander effect’ in which individuals who make up a crowd fail to act in a manner that seems required by the ethics of a situation, particularly coming to the aid of someone in need. Other contributing factors include surprise and diffusion of responsibility. It is worth noting, though, that while some (like Messervey and Peach) treat the bystander effect as a distinct phenomenon, this is not supported by all. Sapolsky refers to this ‘effect’ as a ‘quasi myth’, contending that ‘the bystander effect does occur in non-dangerous situations where the price of stepping forward is inconvenience. However, in dangerous situations, the more people present, the more likely individuals are to step forward. Why? Perhaps elements of reputation, where a larger crowd equals more witnesses to one’s heroics’ (2017, 95).

In-group loyalty As a scholar and teacher of military ethics, some of my most challenging classroom discussions are focused on, or are driven by, the notion of loyalty. In my experience few virtues are held in higher esteem by military personnel – only courage carries more weight. But as we saw in Chapter 4, Philip McCormack points out that the ethical valence of loyalty is importantly context dependent, as he illustrates by reminding us of the Nazi SS motto: ‘My

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honour is loyalty’. Misplaced or misguided loyalty is often implicated in unethical behaviour. For example, Winslow suggests that in-group loyalty played a contributing role in the Somalia incident, and Bradley suggests that in-group loyalty continues to play a role in unethical conduct by soldiers in more recent conflicts. Even though soldiers have a responsibility to report ethical infractions committed by fellow soldiers, research shows that people may be more likely to intervene than to report such unethical behaviour. This may be because intervening to prevent unethical behaviour does not undermine in-group loyalty as much as reporting does. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 89–90)

While discussions of loyalty in the context of military ethics generally focus on the concept as a philosophical notion, there is an important sense in which the practice of loyalty often reflects what Sapolsky calls ‘Us/Them-ing’, ‘our tendency to form Us/Them dichotomies and to favour the former’ (2017, 387). Though conscious thought plays an important role in Us/Them-ing, ‘its core is emotional and automatic’ (p. 400). To illustrate this phenomenon Sapolsky relates an anecdote related to the filming of the 1968 film Planet of the Apes. According to the stars of the film, Charlton Heston and Kim Hunter, ‘at lunchtime, the people playing chimps and those playing gorillas ate in separate groups’ (p. 387). This kind of example is amusing, and ethically unproblematic. However, this deep-seated propensity to identify with an in-group has a dark side. Because ‘being in a group means that someone else’s behaviors can make you look bad’ (p. 396), group identification can increase the likelihood of in-group bullying and a reluctance to call out inappropriate behaviours by members of the group. While being a member of a group increases the propensity to act prosocially towards members of that group, it can at the same time amplify antisocial behaviour to outsiders. For example, ‘people often make in-group amends by being more antisocial to another group. Moreover, in such scenarios, the guiltier the person feels about her in-group violation, the worse she is to Thems’ (p. 394). Us/Them distinctions can also skew the pursuit of outcomes in ethically problematic ways: ‘in-group parochialism is often more concerned about Us beating Them than with Us simply doing well’ (p. 395).

Obedience Perhaps the most obvious risk factor for ethical (and legal) failure in the military context is the unique hierarchical discipline system which exists in

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that context. Military personnel are expected to obey orders – this is necessary for the system of military command and control, which is critical to mission success, to work. In most cases following orders is the right thing for military practitioners to do. Things can, however, go very wrong when the orders followed are illegal or deeply unethical. A tragic example of such ‘crimes of obedience’ is the infamous My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War. While the military command and control system uniquely intensifies the risk in this regard, many studies in other contexts have shown that this is a challenge for human beings in general. Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiment carried out at Yale in 1961 is the most famous of these studies, but there are many more which show how the involvement of an authority figure can cause people to do things that would otherwise be at odds with their personal ethics. For example, Messervey and Peach quote a study in which [psychiatrist Charles K.  Hofling] and colleagues conducted a real-life study on a sample of nurses. A  doctor unknown to the nurses called on the telephone and asked them to administer dangerous levels of a drug to patients. (In this study, an observer stopped the nurses from administering the drug at the last moment.) Ninety-five percent of nurses obeyed the doctor’s orders, even though the nurses did not know the doctor, the prescribed dose was twice the recommended dosage, and nursing regulations required paperwork signed by a medical doctor to administer unscheduled medications. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 90–1)

As with many of the risk factors listed in this chapter, increased levels of stress exacerbate the challenge here – greater stress (such as the stress caused by combat or deployment into a life-threatening region or context) increases our tendency to obey authority figures. Among the most famous studies of how obedience can lead otherwise ordinary people to do horrifying things is Christopher R. Browning’s study of the ‘ordinary men’ – drafted middleaged German males – of Reserve Police Battalion 101 who carried out Hitler’s ‘final solution’ against Jewish men, women and children in Poland in the Second World War. As Browning explains, The largest group within the battalion did whatever they were asked to do, without ever risking the onus of confronting authority or appearing weak, but they did not volunteer for or celebrate the killing. Increasingly numb and brutalized, they felt more pity for themselves because of the ‘unpleasant’ work they had been assigned than they did for their dehumanized victims. For the most part, they did not think what they were doing was wrong or immoral, because the killing was sanctioned by

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legitimate authority. Indeed, for the most part they did not try to think, period. (Browning 1992, 215–16)

It’s worth pausing to reflect on the description of moral injury inherent in Browning’s account. In this case the injury takes the form of moral degradation. It’s a stark example of the link between ethical failure and moral injury. In some cases obedience-related ethical failures occur in the military context when orders are ambiguous and military personnel ‘fill in the blanks’ to do what they think is being asked of them. The study of the circumstances leading to the killing of Somali teenager Shidane Abukar Arone by members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment showed that ambiguity of orders may have been a contributing factor – the night before the killing the regiment’s commander told his soldiers ‘that they needed to get “more aggressive” with intruders’ (Messervey and Peach 2014, 91). Ambiguous orders seem also to have played a role in the My Lai massacre.

Adolescence In 1995 I  enlisted in the British Army. My goal was to become an officer, but as I  had at that point never lived in the UK (though a British citizen, I grew up in Southern Africa) I was required to first spend a period as an enlisted soldier with the odd label of ‘potential officer’ before I  would be allowed to move on to Sandhurst and officer training. I thus underwent basic training at Sir John Moore Barracks in Winchester, Hampshire, as Trooper Baker, alongside enlisted recruits selected to serve in the armoured units of the British Army.3 I  was by then 22 years of age, having just completed an undergraduate degree as well as previously enjoying a post-high school year as an exchange student in Houston, Texas. That made me far and away the ‘old man’4 of my squad – my teammates were otherwise almost all aged between 16 and 18. There was a lot to get used to: difficult regional accents (I found the Scouser in the squad almost impossible to understand), puzzling slang and strange customs. But one thing I never got used to was just how young they all were. Those with aspirations to enlist in the British Army can commence the application process when they are 15 years and 7 months! My discomfort with the youthfulness of my teammates led me to my first serious consideration of pacifism (reading Bertrand Russell’s Justice in War Time) as I wrestled with my discomfort over the thought that these adolescents who had so little knowledge (or interest) in international affairs could soon be sent to fight, kill and die for their country. Clearly there are

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strong ethical (and legal) reasons for not employing child soldiers in armed conflicts, including that we generally hold that they lack the mental maturity to enable them to be held responsible for their actions. What I did not know at the time was that studies have shown clearly that adolescence is also a very significant risk factor for poor ethical decision-making. And I was also unaware that that fact did not only apply to my young teammates, but also to me! As Sapolsky explains, The final brain region to fully mature … is the frontal cortex, not going fully online until the midtwenties. This has two screamingly important implications. First, no part of the adult brain is more shaped by adolescence than the frontal cortex. Second, nothing about adolescence can be understood outside the context of delayed frontocortical maturation. If by adolescence limbic, autonomic, and endocrine systems are going full blast while the frontal cortex is still working out the assembly instructions, we’ve just explained why adolescents are so frustrating, great, asinine, impulsive, inspiring, destructive, self-destructive, selfless, selfish, impossible, and world changing … it’s the time of life of maximal risk taking, novelty seeking, and affiliation with peers. All because of that immature frontal cortex. (Sapolsky 2017, 155)

While the British Army is something of an outlier in recruiting soldiers at quite such a young age (applicants for the Australian Army can only begin the process when they are 16 years and 6 months old), the fact is that a very significant proportion of the personnel in most military forces are younger than their mid-20s, and so are physiologically in this ‘adolescence risk zone’. And ‘risk’ is the operative word here: adolescents are notorious risk takers. Sapolsky offers the following sobering anecdote: In the foothills of the Sierras are California Caverns, a cave system that leads, after an initial narrow, twisting 30-foot descent down a hole, to an abrupt 180-foot drop (now navigable by rappelling). The Park Service has found skeletons at the bottom dating back centuries, explorers who took one step too far in the gloom. And the skeletons are always those of adolescents. (Sapolsky 2017, 161)

In addition to making poor risk calculations, studies have also shown that adolescents are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure (Sapolsky 2017, 164)  and are especially prone to both impulsive and violent behaviour (p. 170). The risk of ethical failure is obvious.

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Cues and primes Among the most unsettling results to emerge from contemporary psychological research is the extent to which we are unconsciously influenced in our ethical decision-making by a wide range of environmental cues. Consider, for example, this study carried out by Dutch scholar Kees Keizer, which sought to test ‘whether cues of one type of norm violation made people prone to violating other norms’: When bicycles were chained to a fence (despite a sign forbidding it), people were more likely to take a shortcut through a gap in the fence (despite a sign forbidding it); people littered more when walls were graffitied; people were more likely to steal a five-euro note when litter was strewn around. These were big effects, with doubling rates of crummy behaviors. A  norm violation increasing the odds of that same norm being violated is a conscious process. But when the sound of fireworks makes someone more likely to litter, more unconscious processes are at work. (Sapolsky 2017, 98)

The context of ethical decision-making matters in ways we often simply do not realize. Often the cues influencing our decisions are visual, but they can be auditory or olfactory. Of relevance in the military context is the research which shows that we can be influenced by the mere smell of fear. Researchers compared the response of subjects who were asked to sniff the sweat on armpit swabs taken from two sets of volunteers. One set of volunteers had produced sweat during a low stress run, while the other set had produced sweat during their first ever tandem skydiving experience – an activity that requires little physical activity, hence it is reasonable to infer that the sweat was the product of fear. ‘Subjects sniffed each type of sweat and couldn’t consciously distinguish between them. However, sniffing terrified sweat (but not contented sweat) caused amygdaloid activation, a bigger startle response, improved detection of subliminal angry faces, and increased odds of interpreting an ambiguous face as looking fearful. If people around you smell scared, your brain tilts toward concluding that you are too’ (Sapolsky 2017, 90). Given that fear is a notable risk factor for ethical failure (as discussed above), we can reasonably conclude that the smell of fear increases risk in this regard. Another important set of cues which can skew ethical decision-making are cues that point to hierarchy or inequality. One clue to this is the growing incidence of air rage: between 2014 and 2015 alone, incidences of air rage

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increased by 14 per cent (Silver 2017). A number of factors likely contribute to this – flights are fuller, seats are narrower (and passengers are on average larger)5 and cost-cutting has meant that there are fewer attendants on board and therefore reduced service. For our purposes, however, what is of particular interest is a study by two Harvard Business School academics, Katherine DeCelles and Michael Norton, which showed that when a commercial passenger aircraft has a first-class section, the likelihood of an air rage incident is 3.84 times higher than where there is not. The likelihood of an incident is even higher when passengers board the aircraft through a section other than the one in which their seats are located – and this applies, interestingly, not only to economy passengers but even more so to firstclass passengers: ‘Economy passengers are 2.18 times more likely to become unruly and first-class passengers are 11.86 times more likely to act out than when they board from the middle’ (Silver 2017). The biggest and most awkward elephant in this particular room is race. As Sapolsky explains, Our brains are incredibly attuned to skin color. Flash a face for less than a tenth of a second (one hundred milliseconds), so short a time that people aren’t even sure they’ve seen something. Have them guess the race of the pictured face, and there’s a better-than-even chance of accuracy. We may claim to judge someone by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. But our brains sure as hell note the color, real fast. (Sapolsky 2017, 85)

Shockingly, by the time humans reach the age of 3 or 4 they already automatically group people by race and gender and display a more negative attitude to those who are in a different race or gender group to themselves. Most notably, by this age other-race faces are perceived ‘as being angrier than same-race faces’ (Sapolsky 2017, 391). The automaticity of this negative discrimination is powerfully illustrated by what is known as isomorphic sensorimotor response: Show a video of someone’s hand being poked with a needle, and [subjects’] … hands tense in empathy. Among both whites and blacks, the response is blunted for other-race hands; the more the implicit racism, the more the blunting. Similarly, among subjects of both races, there’s more activation of the (emotional) medial PFC when considering misfortune befalling a member of their own race than of another race. (Sapolsky 2017, 86)

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What can follow from this is pernicious Us/Them-ing. Critical in all this is the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), the part of the brain most associated with rational thought. Given enough time and energy the dlPFC can – and for most of us usually does – override the lightning-quick fear- and survival-driven deliverances of the amygdala. But if we are taken by surprise, fatigued or otherwise cognitively overloaded it is much harder for the dlPFC to gain the ascendency. Related to cues are primes, which we might think of as ‘intentional cues’ – cues which are not accidental features of the environment, but which are instead the deliverances of intentional human acts. Here we find the problem of loyalty rearing its head once again: ‘priming loyalty strengthens in-group favouritism and identification, while priming equality does the opposite’ (Sapolsky 2017, 395). Us/Them priming also affects how we respond to those in need: ‘priming people to think of a victim of violence as an Us, rather than a Them, increases the odds of their intervening’ (p. 393). Interestingly, primes don’t always work the way we might expect them to. A  series of studies by Jennifer Jordan, Elizabeth Mullen and J.  Keith Murnighan showed that ‘recalling one’s own (im)moral behavior leads to compensatory rather than consistent moral action as a way of completing the moral self. In three studies, people who recalled their immoral behavior reported greater participation in moral activities (Study 1), reported stronger prosocial intentions (Study 2), and showed less cheating (Study 3) than people who recalled their moral behaviour’ (Jordan et al. 2011, 701). Messervey and Squires report, further, as follows: Research has demonstrated that people who previously disagreed with blatantly discriminatory statements were more likely than those who did not to indicate their willingness to engage in discriminatory hiring practices. Benoit Monin and Dale T.  Miller coined the term ‘moral credentials’ to refer to people who have established that they are egalitarian and ethical, and, as a result, are at an increased risk for making less egalitarian and ethical decisions in the future. (Messervey and Squires 2014, 69)

Animalistic dehumanization Killing, as has often been pointed out, is a difficult thing to convince ordinary human beings to do  – yet history is awash in blood. In many, if not most, of the cases in which non-psychotic humans kill, dehumanization is a key factor. The most pernicious form of dehumanization is animalistic

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dehumanization, where those doing the killing are encouraged to view the enemy as somehow less than human. Infamously, the Hutu radio and print propaganda that preceded the Rwandan genocide characterized Tutsis as ‘cockroaches’ (Ndahiro 2014). Similarly, Nazi propaganda portrayed Jews, Roma, Slavs, blacks and other ‘non-Aryans’ as undermensch, subhuman: Just as the night rises against the day, the light and dark are in eternal conflict. So too, is the subhuman the greatest enemy of the dominant species on earth, mankind. The subhuman is a biological creature, crafted by nature, which has hands, legs, eyes and mouth, even the semblance of a brain. Nevertheless, this terrible creature is only a partial human being. Although it has features similar to a human, the subhuman is lower on the spiritual and psychological scale than any animal. Inside of this creature lies wild and unrestrained passions: an incessant need to destroy, filled with the most primitive desires, chaos and coldhearted villainy. (Reichsführer-SS 1942)

This process of animalistic dehumanization is referred to by scientists as ‘pseudospeciation’, and Sapolsky rightly notes that ‘it underpins many of our worst moments’ (2017, 372).6 Animalistic dehumanization is among the worst forms of Us/Them-ing. As French and Jack explain, If your propaganda machine can convince your soldiers that their opponents are not really human but are ‘inferior forms of life’, then their natural resistance to killing their own species will be reduced. … This enemy-as-subhuman approach plays off of what psychologists call ‘in-group bias’. … We are innately biased against outsiders. This bias is seized upon and manipulated by indoctrination and propaganda to motivate men and women to slaughter one another. This is done by inducing [them] to regard their enemies as subhuman creatures, which overrides their natural, biological inhibitions against killing. (French and Jack 2015, 176–7)

It is easy to think that this is not an issue which should concern leaders within the military forces of Western liberal military forces. But that would be arrogant  – animalistic dehumanization can take subtler forms than the blatant statements of genocidaires and the Nazi SS. There will always be a temptation to go down this road as a means of convincing soldiers to override their ‘natural, biological inhibitions against killing’. As recently as late 2017, for example, the International Committee of the Red Cross publicly raised concerns over rhetoric emanating from official Western

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government sources ‘that “dehumanizes” and “demonizes” the enemy or suggests that a particular adversary is “outside the bounds of humanity” and can be treated “as if humanitarian law doesn’t apply” ’ (Barnard 2017). And animalistic dehumanization can certainly happen at lower levels and become a pernicious part of unit culture in the military.

Brain injury In Chapter  4 I  related Tom McDermott’s unease over the spike of ‘moral waivers’ granted to those seeking enlistment in the US military during the height of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Driven by shortages in manpower, these waivers allowed entry to applicants who would normally have been excluded on grounds of having been convicted of felonies: ‘violent crimes or crimes leading to a sentence of over one year’ (McDermott 2016, 4). McDermott’s hypothesis is that these ‘moral waivers’ likely account for a high proportion of the violent criminal activity credited to members of the US military in subsequent years. It turns out that there is strong neuroscientific justification for McDermott’s discomfort over these ‘moral waivers’. As we have seen, the functioning of the prefrontal cortex is critical to self-control. Sapolsky explains, Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania and Kent Kiehl of the University of New Mexico report that criminal psychopaths have decreased activity in the frontal cortex and less coupling of the PFC to other brain regions (compared with nonpsychopathic criminals and noncriminal controls). Moreover, a shockingly large percentage of people incarcerated for violent crimes have a history of concussive trauma to the frontal cortex. (Sapolsky 2017, 54)

This connection between concussive brain trauma and violent criminal behaviour should give us pause. While I am not aware of any studies which have evaluated whether there might be a link between battlefield ethical failure and a history of concussive brain trauma, this is a possibility that should be taken very seriously indeed. In an era in which the improvised explosive device and suicide bomb are the insurgent’s weapons of choice, many soldiers are being subjected to concussive effects which could potentially cause unseen damage that could contribute to ethical failure. There is even the possibility that the concussive effect of military firearms could have an impact in this regard. For example, at the time of writing, Lakota Jones, a graduate student at Marshall University, has commenced a study into a possible link between

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firearm recoil and traumatic brain injury (Jones 2018). If studies of this kind yield conclusive results, this must be considered seriously in the military context.

Conclusion The risk factors for ethical failure outlined in this chapter are very troubling. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as essentially rational beings, and we tend to view the ethical or unethical decisions taken by ourselves and others as being the outcome of deliberate choices. Yet here we see the strong influence of factors which in important ways bypass that process of deliberate decision-making. The danger of moral injury is obvious – if we act in ways which go against the codes of ethics we have adopted, and don’t understand why (because we have been unconsciously influenced by the factors described here, or others like them), the gap between our ethics and our practice is a hazard which can certainly cause us moral injury. As troubling as all this is individually, it is a particular challenge for leaders in the military context. Military leaders have a responsibility, both to the state and to the men and women they lead, to set conditions which minimize the risk of ethical failure and moral injury, without in so doing unduly undermining the likelihood of mission success. In the next chapter I draw together the main threads of this book, including the discussion of this chapter, to consider the implications for preparing and leading military personnel in a way that reduces the risk of ethical failure and moral injury.

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Rising to the challenge: Preparing and leading the Guardian

Thus far in this book I have focused primarily on identifying the challenge that military leaders (at all levels) face in addressing the danger of ethical failure and moral injury. I have argued that a central cause of both ethical failure and moral injury is the gap that exists between the deep and wide morality of the individual and the thin and narrow morality of the state. This is a gap that is critically in need of bridging. I have set aside two of the most popular candidates for such a bridge, the warrior ethos and the notion of the military professional, and I have proposed instead that a Guardian ethos offers a sturdier conceptual structure for this purpose. The question remains, however, as to just what implications this proposal has for the military leader. I  have also set out a range of contextual factors which can exacerbate the risk of ethical failure (and corresponding moral injury). This raises a further question: just what can the military leader do to mitigate these risk factors? Preparing and leading the Guardian in order to protect him or her from ethical failure and moral injury requires addressing both what is internal to the identity of the soldier, sailor, airman or marine, as well as the contextual factors that can undo him or her. This chapter explores what is required to meet this demanding test. In some military forces what I contend for below is already, to varying degrees, in place, but for others that is not the case. But none can afford to rest on their laurels – more work in better preparing and leading is always needed, and always yields reward.

Educating and training the Guardian In undertaking the research for this book, I had the considerable privilege of being able to discuss some of the key themes I  am contending for here with General Martin Dempsey (USA, Ret.). General Dempsey served as the eighteenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces from 2011 to 2015 – that is, he was the senior leader of the most powerful

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military force the world has ever known. Among the many roles he took on after his retirement from the army, General Dempsey accepted a Rubenstein Fellowship at Duke University, where he has taught courses on leadership and civil–military relations. I  happened to overlap with General Dempsey during a sabbatical partially spent at Duke, and he was generous enough to share with me some of his insights into leadership. Without any prompting from me, one of the key issues he mentioned was the importance of instilling a common identity. As he and his co-author Ori Brafman put it in their book Radical Inclusion (2017), The human desire to belong holds a key to understanding how to lead in our current environment. As we discover a sense of belonging to a team, organisation, cause, or community, we find that our goals are in line with those of the group and with those of the leaders and other members of our team. With our combined efforts aligned and everyone working toward a common goal, we find a sense of control that produces a sense of order for each of us within the organisation, and this trickles into our individual daily lives. (Dempsey and Brafman 2017, 76–7)

After its motto ‘Semper Fiedelis’,1 the most well-known axiom associated with the US Marine Corps is ‘Every marine a rifleman’. It is a principle which reflects the core identity of the Corps and its understanding of its primary mission  – to close with, and defeat, the nation’s enemies in close combat.2 What I am proposing in this book is a similar axiom: ‘Every [soldier/sailor/ airman/marine] a Guardian’. Making this core identity a reality will require a significant commitment to training and educating the nation’s military personnel in ‘Guardian ethics’. Much ink has already been spilled by educators and military practitioners addressing ethics education and training in the military, and it would be beyond the scope of this book to go into detail in that regard here. I do, however, want to highlight a number of key principles which, it seems to me, need to be taken into consideration in making ‘every [soldier/sailor/airman/marine] a Guardian’.

1. Guardian ethics education and training must be applied rigorously at all levels of the force As already discussed, current practice (reflecting the ‘military professional’ construct) tends to focus ethics education and training primarily on officers, with other ranks receiving little or no instruction of this kind. This overlooks the reality that all members of the force face ethical challenges – one need only look at the recent history of the military ethical failures which have been

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reported in the media to see that this is the case. To list just two examples from Afghanistan:  ‘Marine A’, the Royal Marine who killed a wounded Taliban prisoner in 2011, was a sergeant; and the Australian Special Air Service soldier responsible for cutting the right hands off the bodies of two suspected Taliban insurgents in 2013 was a corporal. Just as important is the reality that the risk of moral injury is also not limited to members of the officer class, and appropriate ethics education and training is a vital means of preventing moral injury. As I discuss in the Conclusion of this book, we are very much in the era of the ‘strategic corporal’ (and ‘strategic rifleman’, for that matter), and consequently ethics training and education must reach all levels of the force.

2. Ethics education is not enough – ethics must also be integrated throughout the training cycle As I discussed in Chapter 6, the risk of ethical failure and moral injury emerges not only from inadequate understanding of what is ethically appropriate, but also from a range of other contextual factors which can undermine ethical performance. Consequently, it is critical that the maxim ‘train as you fight’ be applied also in the realm of ethics. ‘Training for moral fitness should … include ethical scenarios that individual members can be expected to confront during operations. Training units should design such scenarios that include challenging ethical problems, as one method for preparing individuals, and to mitigate against moral injury’ (Brick 2018, 26). As French and Jack point out, military forces spend a great deal of time in training their personnel to overcome the natural human inhibition against employing violence against others, with the goal of ensuring that they will employ their weapons as ordered and to achieve the level of lethality necessary to prevail on the battlefield. To achieve this requires a degree of dehumanization of the enemy – this is what S. L. A. Marshall meant in his well-known study of combat effectiveness, published in the aftermath of the Second World War, when he wrote that moral reservations are a ‘handicap’ (quoted in French and Jack 2015, 174–5). But this should not be the animalistic dehumanization discussed in Chapter  6. Instead, as French and Jack argue, this should be the professional disengagement of the surgeon who ‘learns to see his or her patient as a biological machine in need of fixing, a task that is clearly analytic in nature. When surgeons come to wield their scalpels, empathetic thinking is not only of little use to them, but is, in fact, a positive hindrance’ (pp. 180–1). As necessary as this kind of objectifying or mechanistic dehumanization is, it is equally vital that training should be deliberate about equipping Guardians to also ‘rehumanize’ the enemy when the circumstances require. Likewise,

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training must set out to develop in Guardians the well of self-control that is, in many cases, vital in girding them against many of the environmental factors discussed in Chapter 6. As Messervey and Squires note, While self-control is a limited resource that can be depleted, a great deal of research suggests that self-control should also be thought of as a muscle that can be strengthened through exercise  – i.e. regular practice and training. For example, Thomas F. Denson and colleagues found that periods of self-control training can effectively reduce anger and aggressive responses in those who are high in trait aggression. Likewise, Eli J.  Finkel and colleagues showed that people who had engaged in self-control training for a two week period were less likely than people who had not to respond aggressively after provocation from their intimate partner. Importantly, self-control training can result in improvements even after cessation of the routine. (Messervey and Squires 2014, 66)

Guardians can also be trained to recognize ethical risk factors and take steps to counter them. Stress management exercises, such as controlled breathing, are already part of some military training, and bystander intervention training is sometimes included in measures designed to counter sexual assault – such measures could be further extended to address conflict-zone ethics situations. As Messervey and Squires point out, One method for reducing effortful processing of information is by creating plans that determine ‘when, where, and how’ a person intends to achieve a particular goal. And one effective way is to use if-then statements to specify the when, where and how. The technical term for this approach is ‘goal implementation’ or ‘implementation intentions’. For example, ‘If situation X occurs, I  will initiate the goal-directed response Y.’ (Messervey and Squires 2014, 68)

Indeed, there is some evidence that even just being aware of ethical risk factors can mitigate somewhat against them (Messervey and Peach 2014, 84). The point here is not to describe a complete comprehensive approach to integrating ethics throughout the training cycle  – that would be a major endeavour in its own right, and should be guided by experts in the psychology of ethical risk like Deanna Messervey. But I hope the key point is clear:  mitigating ethical failure requires a significant commitment to deliberately addressing ethics through the entire process of training the Guardian.

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3. Excellence in ethics must be embedded through the force; it cannot only be the domain of external specialists As things currently stand, most military ethics education and research is carried out by individuals who are in some sense external to the military. In many cases they are, like me, civilians who are academic philosophers employed to teach and research ethics at military educational institutions and research centres. In other cases they are former military personnel (mostly officers, and sometimes with advanced academic qualifications) who have retired after extensive periods of service to step into a similar role. Within the force ethics as a specialized area of focus is often seen as ‘chaplain business’ (addressing personal moral struggles), or ‘lawyer business’ (legal compliance) or ‘inspector general business’ (senior leader personal conduct failures) – but this does not adequately cover the scope of what I have been calling ‘Guardian ethics’, and while chaplains and military lawyers are part of the force they are often seen as being on the periphery. What is needed is what I call ‘embedded excellence’, that is, members of the force who are subject-matter experts in ethics and who can serve as an ethics resource for all. I have argued elsewhere (Baker 2014) that one way of thinking of these ethics subject-matter experts is as analogous to bearers of the Ranger ‘tab’ in the US Army. This would be an ethics-focused badge qualification which would indicate a special degree of competence and mark the bearer as someone to whom peers, superiors and subordinates can reliably turn for guidance in that area of competence. Just as the Ranger programme allows for the embedding of excellence in small unit leadership and tactics in units across the Army, [this qualification] would allow for the embedding of excellence in ethical awareness and judgment across the [force]. (Baker 2014, 179)

It is an idea that is not without controversy. A significant objection is that having ethics specialists in the force will undermine the general responsibility of military personnel to be themselves ethically ‘fit’. However, if handled properly, such a programme need not have this consequence  – after all, it has not been an objection to the Ranger programme that it undermines the responsibility of non-Ranger qualified personnel to be competent small unit leaders and tacticians.

4. Mentoring is key Any serious study of leadership in the military environment will recognize the enormous value of mentoring. Mentoring should not, of course, be

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limited to a focus on ethics and the Guardian ethos, but it unquestionably should incorporate this focus. Having ethics specialists to turn to will be invaluable for addressing particular ethical challenges, but this does not replace the value of what can be learned through long-term mentor–protégé relationships. A commonly used example of the power of mentoring is that of Major General Fox Conner, of the US Army. Conner was personally selected by General John J. Pershing to serve in the operations section of the American Expeditionary Force staff in France in the First World War. He is, however, best remembered for his influence through mentorship, and is known as ‘the man who made Eisenhower’ (he also played an important mentoring role in the careers of other key leaders, including George S. Patton). Despite strong evidence of the positive impact of mentoring in the military context, there is often a reticence to formally encourage this practice. In a helpful recent study of the application of mentoring in the military context, Raymond Kimball makes a strong case for the military taking up the responsibility for demystification of this practice: The single most powerful means of advancing mentoring is to talk about it, publicly and frequently. The more military leaders openly discuss their mentoring experiences, both as a protégé and as a mentor, the more mentoring becomes a demystified and commonly accepted practice. … The task of the organization … is to build and support receptive spaces that showcase individual strengths, allowing protégés to seek out potential mentors in needed areas. These receptive spaces can take many forms: one manifestation that has fallen out of favour is the afterwork social gathering to discuss topics of professional interests. These gatherings might appear to be boisterous revelry to outsiders, but they perform a vital function of allowing unit members to share ideas and begin to open up to one another. (Kimball 2018, 153)

There is, of course, much more that could be said here. The key point is that the Guardian ethos should be instilled rigorously and throughout the force. Part of that is about ensuring a common understanding of what it is to be a Guardian. Another part is ensuring that there is a sound understanding of the principles of military ethics as delivered to us via the Just War Tradition (JWT) (as discussed in Chapter 2). But not all ethical decisions that Guardians will face can be answered simply by reference to the principles of the JWT. I  believe it is necessary to also provide Guardians with a general ethical decision-making model which is both tried-and-tested and appropriate to the context of state servants entrusted with carrying out the will of the nation.

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A Guardian ethical decision-making model As we have seen, the minimalist, yet powerful, Guardian ethos is able to connect the moral identity of the individual military practitioner to the ethics of war which are appropriate to the liberal state without in so doing unduly impinging on the individual’s conception of the good.3 But that still leaves an important question to be answered:  if the individual’s moral intuitions are not conformed through some kind of character-shaping exercise, how will it be possible to ensure any degree of consistency in ethical decisionmaking across the force? One part of the answer is straightforward  – the Guardian ethos requires (and is consistent with) adherence to the ethics of war as outlined in the Introduction and Chapter 2. A Guardian will use force discriminately – because the Guardian is first a protector of the rights of the individual. A Guardian will use force only when doing so is necessary, for the same reason. A  Guardian will use force proportionately  – because the requirement of proportionality reflects the need to balance the Guardian’s role as protector of the individual and that as protector of the state she serves. But things are more challenging when it comes to addressing ethical dilemmas that are not amenable to resolution through straightforward application of the principles of the JWT.4 How do we avoid the situation in which, when faced with such ethical challenges, Guardians have nothing to fall back on in making their decisions other than the intuitions and leanings generated by their personal moral frameworks, and no way of accounting for their decisions except in those terms? One response could be to apply one of the three main approaches to ethics. As Marcus Schulzke correctly points out, Military ethics and just war are usually analysed from the perspective of one of the three dominant traditions in western moral philosophy:  Aristotelian virtue ethics, Kant’s deontological moral theory, and utilitarianism. Each of these theories offers its own decision procedures and reasons for acting, and each may lead to radically different conclusions about what is the right course of action. (Schulzke 2013, 96)

Schulzke’s point about the ‘radically different conclusions’ that can be generated by applying each of these approaches cues us in to the problem of opting to apply one of them over the others. Which one should the Guardian choose? The natural tendency is to choose the theory which most comfortably fits with one’s individual leanings and biases – but that will be

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different for different members of the military, so this approach reverts again to personal preference, which is unsatisfactory. And there seems no way to identify one of these approaches to military ethics as the most appropriate guide for those applying military force on behalf of the liberal democratic state. So what is to be done? The answer, it seems to me, is to teach and instil an ethical decision-making model which is compatible with the Guardian ethos and which provides an appropriate common language for talking about ethical decision-making, and which, most importantly, is coherent with the thin and narrow morality of the liberal state. In Chapter 1 I outlined what I call the three ‘perspectives’ of the modern self: the Rationalist Perspective, with its deep emphasis on the rights and dignity of the individual; the Naturalist Perspective, with its commitment to the greater good for all; and the Inner Perspective, which radically individualizes the good. The ‘virtuous tension’ between the Rationalist Perspective and the Naturalist Perspective accounts for the thin and narrow ethics of the liberal state, and that framework of ethics accommodates – within broad and accommodating boundaries – the vast variety of conceptions of the good which are generated by the radial individualism of modernity. These perspectives of modernity map broadly to the three dominant approaches to ethics. One approach focuses on following ethical rules or principles that are mostly intended to ensure respect for others (deontology) while another focuses on ensuring good consequences (consequentialism). The third approach is more difficult to map to the Inner Perspective, given the radial individualism of that perspective, but it weakly correlates with virtue ethics, which takes good character, or virtue, as the central feature of the ethical life (the weakness of this connection is not problematic for the decision-making model I am proposing, as we shall see below). For most of us, each of these approaches resonates deeply. The idea that consequences matter in ethics has strong intuitive appeal, as does the notion that others are deserving of our respect and should not be treated merely as a means to an end. Likewise, there are few of us who don’t feel the pull of character-based concepts like courage, integrity, compassion and honour. However, despite the appeal of each of these approaches, each of them also has its own challenges. Consider first Utilitarianism, the dominant form of consequentialism. This approach seems to have trouble accounting for the importance of the individual, and sometimes seems to give rise to counterintuitive results. From a specifically military perspective, Lieutenant Colonel David Glendenning points out, Divorcing outcomes from motives, although morally logical, can lead to ethical cul-de-sacs and may not offer firm ground when trying to

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appease your conscience after an event. Similarly, the unpredictable nature and fast tempo of military events removes the epistemic certainty to accurately predict the second and third order consequences of any given action. Another danger of this approach is slipping towards ethical egoism whereby one, consciously or subconsciously, prioritises personal utility which could be at odds with the selfless nature of military service. Lastly, a strictly utilitarian reasoning model creates an analytical reliance that could constrain a flash of military brilliance and intuition within a military planning cycle. In this sense, operational art and consequentialism are not necessarily mutually reinforcing. (Glendenning 2017, 27)

Deontological (or rule-based) theories of ethics, such as that developed by Immanuel Kant, are also problematic in some regards. They can sometimes seem too rigid and blind to the importance of consequences in certain circumstances. ‘The common problems associated with a rules-based approach to ethics include a failure to properly consider consequences and, at times, the production of a counterintuitive result where rules may inhibit a rational response. … [T]rying to overlay a set of rules to an ever changing operational context is laced with complexity’ (Glendenning 2017, 28). The third main approach to ethics is virtue ethics. With its emphasis on ‘achieving what is good rather than avoiding what is bad’, and its focus on character, this is both an appealing and a common approach in military training (p.  29). But virtue approaches to ethics, with their focus on what we should be, suffer from a significant drawback: they don’t seem to offer us enough clear guidance about what we should do when dealing with moral dilemmas. This is, of course, by no means a comprehensive account of the challenges faced by each of these approaches to ethics, or of the many sophisticated ways in which adherents to each approach have sought to address these issues. This is what we might call the philosophical approach to ethics. For our purposes, however, a more comprehensive account is not needed – the goal here is not to choose one approach over the others but instead to articulate a mechanism which enables the best features of each to come to the fore and which at the same time compensates somewhat for the shortcomings of each. Put differently, what I am advocating here is what we might call the pragmatic approach. This is, in practice, what many well-trained applied ethicists do  – apply each of the different approaches and concepts as they best fit the circumstances concerned. What makes this pragmatic approach work for professional ethicists is their deep and intuitive understanding of the theory. For most non-specialists,

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however, there is value in having an explicit methodology to guide us. For Guardians the value is more specific. Having a methodology which (at least broadly) maps to the three perspectives of modernity which so shape the societies of liberal democratic states, and which also provides a common language for ethics, gives Guardians a more appropriate alternative to simply falling back on the intuitions and leanings of individual moral frameworks when ethical dilemmas must be faced. This section outlines one such approach, one I  have developed over years of teaching ethics to military officers in training, first at the US Naval Academy5 and now at the Australian Defence Force Academy. I call this approach Ethical Triangulation. The idea of ‘triangulation’ resonates with military personnel because of the importance of navigation in the military, and the idea fits well with the tripartite nature of mainstream ethical theory. In its simplest form the idea is to, as it were, ‘take a bearing’ from each of the main approaches to ethics when considering an ethically challenging question. This ensures that the decision maker does not overlook any important ethical considerations that might be obscured by applying only one ethical approach, and also benefits from the fact that the strengths of each of these approaches often fall in exactly the ethical ‘space’ that the weaknesses of one or both of the other approaches are in. As an explicit methodology Ethical Triangulation works like this. The first step is to take a bearing from the ethical peak of ‘Respect’ (deontology), by asking what ethical principles or rules apply to the situation we are considering. For some this is a little counterintuitive as, in my experience, many want to begin by examining potential consequences. But there are good reasons for starting with deontology rather than consequentialism. For one thing, deontological theories of ethics represent what we might think of as the collected ethical wisdom of the ages, and the principles embedded in deontological ethics are often (as rule Utilitarians recognize) a good guide to achieving the best consequences. Perhaps more importantly for the Guardian, starting here represents a recognition of the first imperative (as so ably identified by Phillip McCormack): to respect the rights and dignity of the individual. (While deontological principles are many and varied, they do, as a broad rule of thumb, reflect this imperative.) Add that to one of the key limitations of consequentialism  – that we’re often poor at predicting consequences, particularly when self-interest is involved – and we have good reason to start with deontology. Once the decision maker has identified the deontological principles which apply to the case in question, he or she will either have a first suggestion of what the ethically appropriate action or actions should be, or it will become clear that there are competing principles which suggest different courses of

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action. The next step is to look to the horizon again and consider the possible consequences of the course or courses of action which we are weighing up. This is the ‘Consequences’ peak. In so doing, the decision maker might find that the potential consequences of the course of action suggested by his or her assessment of the deontological principles are serious enough, and certain enough, that those consequences outweigh the deontological principles. This will then point us to a different ethical solution. Alternatively, it may be that weighing up the consequences favours one course of action over the alternatives in those cases where conflicting deontological principles suggest different ways forward. The third step is to take a final bearing from the ethical peak of ‘Character’ (which connects us, loosely, to virtue ethics). This step shifts the decision maker’s attention, for a moment, away from the issue under consideration onto himself or herself. It is a moment of self-reflection in which the decision maker must weigh the impact her moral identity may be having on her assessment of the ethical problem and its potential solution. The goal is to recognize and, if necessary, compensate for known biases and blind spots. This will, of course, be meaningless if the decision maker does not know her character well, and here it is worth reminding ourselves of one of the most famous quotes in all of philosophy, alleged to have been uttered by Socrates, that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ (Plato 1966, 38a). This is another reason for the uncomfortable but necessary process of articulation (to use Charles Taylor’s term) which I  discussed in Chapter  1  – ‘articulating our qualitative distinctions is setting out the point of our moral actions’ (Taylor 1989, 80). Just as a strong magnet can throw off the needle of a compass, the decision maker’s moral identity can, if she is not careful, affect her ethical decision-making and potentially point her in an ethically problematic direction. It is important to note that including this self-reflective step in the Ethical Triangulation decision-making model does not constitute character shaping (which, as we saw in Chapter 2, is problematic in the context of an official arm of the liberal state such as the military). It is a genuinely individual assessment and as such reflects well the Inner Perspective of modernity. It can potentially also bring clarity to the earlier steps in this process of Ethical Triangulation. As Taylor puts it, ‘we should treat our deepest moral instincts, our ineradicable sense that human life is to be respected, as our mode of access to the world in which ontological claims are discernible and can be rationally argued about and sifted’ (1989, 8). Deliberately working through these three steps of Ethical Triangulation should generally help Guardians to make better ethical judgements than they would otherwise. In many cases – perhaps even most – that will be all that is needed. Ethics is not, however, a perfect science, and while this process will

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certainly help us to exclude a significant number of possible courses of action as clearly inappropriate, it is possible that sometimes there will still be an unresolved conflict between two or more possible options that could perhaps be the right thing to do. In this grey area in which theory-driven analysis is sometimes inadequate to the task of giving final guidance, it becomes a matter of wisdom of how to proceed. This reflects, though I think in a nonproblematic way, the virtue ethics idea of phronesis or practical wisdom. Practical wisdom is the ability to appropriately marry up right intentions and sound character with practical action. It is the product of experience and is often best developed through learning from those wiser than ourselves. Some will find this lack of analytic precision in such cases to be frustrating, but we would do well to remember the wisdom of Aristotle himself, who reminds us that ‘it is the mark of an educated [person] to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs’ (Aristotle 1984, Book I, 1094.b24). Lieutenant Colonel Glendenning comments on the potential (in the context of the British Army) of adding Ethical Triangulation to the conceptual tools imparted to military personnel: Teaching ethical leadership and ethical theory triangulation will provide a functional theoretical framework to structure the delivery of ethics education in the British Army. … Recognising the various ethical lenses that will interpret dilemmas from a different perspective offers a powerful frame of reference to design an ethical educational pathway for the British Army … a necessary stepping-stone towards creating moral autonomy. (Glendenning 2017, 30)

Leading the Guardian Training and educating the Guardian, as well as having in place the common decision-making process that Ethical Triangulation provides, will, I believe, contribute significantly to protecting military personnel from the risk of ethical failure and lower the likelihood of moral injury. But we should not stop there. It will not be surprising to hear that leadership, too, has a vital role to play. It is vital that military leaders be deliberate in including ethical risk in their calculations on how best to guide the men and women under their command to achieve the objectives set for them. One part of this, to state the obvious, is the importance of the leader being a clear and unambiguous exemplar of ethical behaviour. Consider, for example, the

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case of the Canadian Army warrant officer David Schultz, who received the Star of Military Valour (Canada’s second-highest military award for bravery, after the Victoria Cross) for actions while serving as a patrol commander in Afghanistan in 2008. Schultz was honoured for his leadership in responding to an ambush in which one of his teammates, Corporal Mike Starker, was killed. In a subsequent interview Schultz articulated how his awareness of his role as leader and exemplar shaped his actions: Corporal Starker had been wounded very badly and we moved him out of the direct line of the impact zone … and then went back in. By then you’re seeing absolute red. When we got back to the FOB [forward operating base] and the medical officer … pronounced Mike as being killed in action, again I  was filled with rage, I  was filled with hate  – I  was ready to go absolutely berserk. … But you can’t just go out and start shooting everybody because you had a TIC [troops in contact] the previous day. When you’re a commander of a platoon you have to set the example, set the standard, and show that you’re in control of your emotions. Your weapon is clean and ready to go. All your gear is working. You’re leading guys back into harm’s way but you’re going to be professional about it. (Messervey and Squires 2014, 63)

Of course, most military leaders are well aware of the importance of being a role model to those under their command when it comes to ethical behaviour. However, the responsibility of leading Guardians extends beyond setting an example. Leaders must understand the factors that heighten the risk of ethical failure (and moral injury) and must seek to reduce that risk wherever possible. So what can a leader do? It would be understandable if an examination of the risk factors outlined in Chapter 6 led to a feeling of helplessness. Consider, for example, the risk factor adolescence – what on earth is a military leader to do to counter that? Sapolsky wryly points out, ‘Late adolescence and early adulthood are when violence peaks, whether premeditated or impulsive murder, Victorian fisticuffs or handguns, solitary or organized (in or out of a uniform), focused on a stranger or on an intimate partner. And then rates plummet. As has been said, the greatest crime-fighting tool is a thirtieth birthday’ (2017, 170). Military leaders don’t, unfortunately, have the luxury of waiting until all of their soldiers turn thirty before they are deployed! Still, an awareness of the challenges that adolescence poses can help leaders to take measures to counter them somewhat – ensuring, for example, that younger soldiers are paired up with older ones. And a deeper understanding of the science of adolescence can help too. In young men testosterone is an

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important factor during adolescence – testosterone levels peak during this period and steadily decline over the remainder of a man’s life. This peak period is challenging because ‘testosterone makes people overconfident and overly optimistic, with bad consequences. … Testosterone makes people cocky, ego-centric, and narcissistic. Testosterone boosts impulsivity and risk taking, making people do the easier thing when it’s the dumb-ass thing to do’ (p. 103). This is clearly bad news for military leaders; however, there is an important factor here that can be exploited: ‘testosterone’s effects are hugely context dependent … contingent and amplifying … it prompts whatever behaviors are needed to maintain status’ (pp.  104–6; emphasis in original). Status, then, is a lever that leaders can use to manipulate the effects of testosterone. Building a unit culture in which professional restraint and ethical behaviour are held in high regard can have a significant effect, even on adolescence-afflicted subordinates.6 Sapolsky again: ‘Testosterone makes us more willing to do what it takes to attain and maintain status. And the key point is what it takes. Engineer social circumstances right, and boosting testosterone levels during a challenge would make people compete like crazy to do the most acts of random kindness’ (p. 107). To take another risk factor as an example: what can a military leader do to reduce the ethical risk posed by obedience when, after all, a significant part of her role is to ensure that her subordinates follow orders? In an awardwinning study, British Army officer Lieutenant Colonel David Glendenning acknowledges the challenge:  ‘Critics … might contend that military personnel should dutifully obey orders from their superiors to prevent a breakdown in discipline. Although speaking truth to power is an effective antibody, translating the slogan into practice is challenging’ (2017, 39). Despite the challenge, Glendenning contends that leaders should, indeed, seek to encourage what he calls ‘moral autonomy’ in their subordinates. He contends that good leaders should ‘embrace reasoned dialogue and create a command environment that welcomes criticism and celebrates purposeful collaboration. Using ethical theory as a catalyst to stimulate philosophical thinking is the gateway to educating a new breed of soldier and officer in how to think and thus the key to unlocking moral autonomy’ (pp. 39–40). The more military leaders understand the implications of ethical risk factors, the better equipped they will be to mitigate them. While this is not the place (and nor am I the person) to attempt to set out all that can be done in this regard, military leaders would do well to take note of this summary offered by Messervey and Peach: The research on psychological factors in ethical behaviour also has important implications for leaders. First, it highlights the importance of

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giving specific orders that leave little room for ambiguity because such orders may reduce unethical conduct. Second, it suggests that leaders in a combat situation should be prepared to diffuse soldier’s anger resulting from key triggers (such as the injury or death of a brother or sister in arms) by practicing techniques they can use to diffuse this anger before deploying. In some cases, it may be a good idea to give soldiers a cooling off period before they engage with the enemy after exposure to one of those triggers. Third, this research shows that face painting, masks and other alterations of appearance make soldiers feel anonymous, which is a risk factor for unethical behaviour. Although altering appearance is often a necessary component of deployment, leaders can still monitor the dress and deportment of their subordinates and emphasize the importance of acting ethically when the temptation to act unethically may be high. Fourth, this research suggests that leaders can work with in-group loyalty instead of against it to increase ethical conduct. For example, when discussing ethical conduct, leaders can focus attention on how ethical misconduct could cost the lives of platoon members and cause lasting psychological harm to soldiers and embarrass the unit. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 94)

Conclusion In this chapter I have endeavoured to outline some of the practical measures that those entrusted with preparing and leading military personnel should consider implementing. What I  have offered here is well short of being comprehensive and is far from the final word in this regard. What I  am certain of is that there is much of practical impact that can be done, and I am convinced that there is both an opportunity and an ethical obligation to continue to vigorously explore ways to better help the men and women who serve in uniform to avoid the pitfalls of ethical risk and to reduce the likelihood that they will suffer moral injury.

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Conclusion: Morality and ethics in the four block war

A platoon of US Marines, led by Second Lieutenant Franklin, is deployed to provide security for a food distribution point in the war-torn central African city of Tugala, the capital of the nation of Orange, which is described as ‘wracked by civil unrest and famine’. Lieutenant Franklin’s marines are part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) which has been deployed on a stabilization mission designed to allow international humanitarian assistance organizations to deliver food to those affected by the famine. US involvement in the theatre has become necessary as a result of the failure of a previously deployed Regional Multi-National Force (RMNF) to adequately implement security for the famine relief efforts. The 2nd Platoon’s unglamorous mission seems, a month into the deployment, to be reaping rewards: as a result of the security the platoon is providing, relief aid is reaching those who need it and ‘the grim daily death tolls ha[ve] slowly begun to decrease and the city ha[s] begun to recover some sense of normalcy’. However, a threat arises as members of a hostile militia, ‘led by the renegade warlord Nedeed, [is] observed congregating near the river that [divides] the capital in half and [marks] the boundary separating the turf of [Nedeed’s militia] from that of its principal rival’, a faction led by the warlord Mubasa. Though no attacks have yet been committed against the Marines in-theatre, threats have been made by Nedeed and his cronies, and there have been frequent attacks on members of the RMNF. To meet this looming threat, 1st Squad, under the command of Corporal Hernandez, are deployed to form a roadblock at Checkpoint Charlie. As the day unfolds, Corporal Hernandez finds himself facing an environment that is fluid, complex and requires multilayered responses to different and simultaneous challenges. The first challenge that Hernandez faces is the requirement to provide security to the usual crowd of locals, mostly women and children, who have begun queuing at Checkpoint Charlie in order to collect the relief supplies that have rolled in on the morning’s convoy. Today, however, the crowd has been swelled by a significant number of hostile young males, who begin chanting and hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at Hernandez’s marines. Another threat also looms:  two groups of armed

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and vehicle-mounted militia, one from each of the competing factions led by Nedeed and Mubasa, are converging on Hernandez’s position, seemingly intent on engaging one another and any marines who come between them. Mubasa’s group is, furthermore, accompanied by a network news crew. Then, just when it looks as though things couldn’t get any more challenging, they do. A helicopter operated by one of the international relief organizations engaged in the famine relief effort is shot down by ground fire and has crashed nearby. The survivors are unarmed and in serious need of medical assistance, and a group of Nedeed’s militia are rapidly closing in on the crash site. While help, in the form of reinforcements, is on the way, Hernandez must make quick decisions about what to do, decisions that could potentially have a strategiclevel impact on the overall mission. This daunting scenario was outlined over two decades ago by US Marine Corps General Charles C.  Krulak in his influential article ‘The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War’ (1999).1 Corporal Hernandez’s predicament was designed to illustrate the leadership qualities that Krulak believes junior Marine Corps leaders require if the Corps is to successfully execute missions in circumstances of complex and irregular armed conflict, but the ethical challenges and the potential for moral injury are plainly evident. Krulak’s scenario was written before the emergence of a wide range of factors which have further complicated the operational environment. These range from the global rise of fundamentalist Islamist terrorism to climate change and, most significantly, the explosion of connectivity that the internet has brought with it. By 2003, knowledge management specialists Alex and David Bennet had memorably described the operational environment for organizations in general as follows:  ‘Time accelerates. Distance shrinks. Networks expand. Information overwhelms. Inter-dependencies grow geometrically. Uncertainty dominates. Complexity boggles the mind. Such is the environment and context within which current organizations must compete, survive, and thrive’ (Bennet and Bennet 2004, 1). The intervening years have done nothing to make that description less apt for our era, and its intensity is arguably felt nowhere more keenly than in the complex military operations that characterize the ‘workspace’ of those in uniform. Ethical risk and the danger of moral injury loom large. It is unsurprising, then, that ethically aware practitioners are calling for more to be done in equipping uniformed personnel to face the ethical and moral challenges of what (by adding into consideration the challenges of psychological or information operations) General James Mattis and Lieutenant Colonel Frank G.  Hoffman have called the ‘four block war’ (Mattis and Hoffman 2005). Simply defining and articulating sets of core values, which has been the focus of many military forces among the liberal democracies, is not enough. As Lieutenant Colonel David Glendenning

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reminds us, Philip McCormack showed powerfully that a comparison of the British Army values with those articulated by the so-called Islamic State shows an overlap of over 80 per cent (Glendenning 2017, 34). Glendenning proposes normalizing the term ‘strategic moral corporal’ and argues emphatically, and correctly, as follows: It is the role of the moral component to provide the moral armour to ensure that the forces opposing an adversary that flouts international law remain loyal to the laws and conventions that govern just war. Operating within a goldfish bowl, the connected power of social media forces soldiers to comprehend that their actions at the tactical level can be immediately broadcast to a global audience. This combination of increased moral responsibility within a highly complex and transparent counter-cultural operating environment expands the notion of the strategic corporal from the physical component into the moral component. (Glendenning 2017, 46)

It must be said, though, that not all observers agree that all this is necessary. They point out, as Shannon French and Anthony Jack acknowledge, that ‘the vast majority of modern, professional combat troops never commit atrocities. For every My Lai, Haditha, Mahmudiyah killings, or Kandahar massacre, there are thousands of military engagements that are conducted fully within the restraints of the Law of Armed Conflict’ (French and Jack 2015, 169). As one former US Navy SEAL has pleaded, in the face of pressure to ‘do something about ethics’ in his former community, why not just ‘cut us some slack’? (Higbie 2019). The answer, of course, is that ethics matters, and we can no more afford to ‘cut some slack’ in this regard than we can afford to cut military personnel some ‘slack’ when it comes to proficiency in the employment of their core TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures). Inadequate proficiency in TTPs can lead to operational failure, and the same is true of inadequate moral and ethical preparedness. As US Army officer Mike Denny puts it, ‘the pressure or decision to kill an enemy has changed little since the beginning of time, but the ramifications of this action today are fundamentally different. A  spear through an enemy combatant or villager by a Roman legionnaire probably did not impact the operational strategy of a campaign’ (2018, 55). While an ethics failure of the level of My Lai, Haditha, Mahmudiyah or Kandahar remains, thankfully, relatively rare, the implications and ongoing reverberations of these events are hugely counterproductive to military success. And while events of this level are rare, less dramatic ethical failures are far more common and are cumulatively also counterproductive

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to achieving desired operational outcomes. Few personally understand the bitter implications of a slide into ethical failure as well as Janis Karpinski, who in 2003 and 2004 was commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, the unit that was implicated (along with attached contractors) in the abuses against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq: ‘To be truly successful, a leader must be committed to enforce ethical behaviour. Understanding and clarifying standards of ethical behaviour thus become critical to leadership success’ (Karpinski 2008, 93). The focus of this book has not, however, been primarily on the impact that ethical failures have at the operational and strategic levels, as important as that is. I  have, instead, sought to address their impact on the men and women we send to fight wars on our behalf. For some, perhaps more than we have previously recognized, their experiences of war have left them deeply affected. In the terminology I  have employed in this book, these men and women have experienced moral trauma that has left them morally injured. Most of the events they have experienced may not have made the news cycle, but the impact on the affected individuals is profound. As one anonymous former Australian Army officer writes, I was prepared as well as I  could have been for overseas service. The realities are, of course, always different from training. I believed in the mission in Afghanistan. My personal faith gave a context for the ‘greater good’ we were called to pursue. I saw the international military action as just and had no reservations morally about deploying to Afghanistan. The Australian Army was deploying, and I  was a professional soldier. While I  believed in Australia’s contribution, was confident in my job and content that we had prepared properly, I  was deeply affected by several events during my time overseas. They left a mark on me because they either had a direct bearing on my role and what I was expected to do, or because I was unable to prevent the deaths of indigenous forces and Afghan civilians. As a result of the incidents I will describe, I have experienced a wide range of feelings including guilt, anger, shame and helplessness. These events have affected me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Years later, I  am still processing the evil that I  observed and, in a curious way, the evil to which I have been party. (An Officer 2015, 63–4)

Those of us tasked with preparing military personnel to face the rigours of combat must ask ourselves, pointedly, is it truly the case that this soldier and so many others like him or her were ‘as prepared as they could have been’ for the moral and ethical challenges they were confronted with? The

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uncomfortable answer is, it seems to me, a clear ‘no’. Was there more that could have been done that might have helped reduce this moral trauma? Is there more work that needs to be done to help us to better understand what good moral and ethical preparation looks like? Yes, and yes. As ethicist Shannon French and neuroscientist Tony Jack point out, The profound psychological dissonance provoked by an act as ultimately harmful as killing can only be offset by the possession of a very strongly embedded cognitive model that allows it to be reconciled. If this positive cognitive model is not reinforced, some troops are bound to resolve the intolerable dissonance by adopting a cognitive model that is destructive, both to their military performance and to their own long-term emotional well-being. (French and Jack 2015, 183)

So, what will it take to prepare soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen morally and ethically for the fight? I have argued that preparation has to begin at the level of the individual. He or she must undertake the kind of personal introspection that sits so uncomfortably with the conforming structures of traditional military life. He or she must be encouraged and aided to fulfil the Delphic maxim nosce te ipsum – ‘know thyself ’. This is not a self-indulgent exercise in naval gazing but a vital first step in the effort to bridge the individual’s moral identity with a properly conceived and understood framework for the ethics of war. It is a precursor to achieving moral fitness: ‘Moral fitness … points to the attitude of a person who can cope with an increase in ethical questions and dilemmas because he or she has the necessary moral alertness required. Moral fitness implies that a person regularly practices self-critical reflection’ (Richardson, Verweij and Winslow (2004), quoted in Brick 2018, 26). Developing a coherent account of one’s own moral framework is fundamental to such reflection and the moral alertness it brings. Some will find, in the process of articulating their moral frameworks, that their moral identity is incompatible with a profession which requires a willingness to kill others. How much better that that should occur before the persons concerned find themselves in the midst of war! Self-reflection cannot, however, occur in an intellectual vacuum. We need concepts and mental tools and big ideas to help us to navigate in this exploration. This is why US Air Force officer and Oxford scholar Joseph O. Chapa argues forcefully for education in moral philosophy to be built into the fabric of military life, as a ‘force protection measure’ (Chapa 2019). None engaged in the business of providing what Pauline [Shanks] Kaurin calls ‘moral education’ could disagree with her account of what this entails:

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I do not see the aim of moral education (whether in the military or other professional contexts) as producing individuals that would never commit any action of an ethically questionable status. Rather the function of moral education is to prepare individuals to deal with an ethical landscape, particularly a fluid and changing one. This is accomplished by providing and honing various ‘tools’ such that one can respond in combat or in whatever context, having thought through a range of ideas, theories, and perspectives but honed with a central core of ethical commitments. Like the tool bag that resides in my truck for emergencies, there is a ‘tool’ bag that one might provide, not knowing exactly what challenges, contexts, or problems that a particular individual might encounter, but providing a variety of things to use, practice in how to use them and a sense of what might be appropriate in different types of situation. While no moral education or training can possibly prepare students for every eventuality, it can anticipate common issues, categories, and problems that might be encountered and do some preparation along those lines. In addition, good moral education provides a relatively safe space for students to develop and practice the dispositions of moral risk taking and learning from the results of these ‘experiments’ – both positive and negative – adapting future actions and ideas based upon their experience. (Kaurin 2014, 94)

All moral frameworks are individual, but if the account I  have given (drawing on the work of Charles Taylor) of the nature of those frameworks is correct, we share a common structure. Likewise, each of us is unique in our conception of what constitutes the good, worthwhile and meaningful life. Nonetheless, all of us are shaped by our social and cultural contexts, what Taylor calls our ‘webs of interlocution’. I have, consequently, given an account of the moral horizons which in an important sense define the Western self (and which have also, through the irresistible power of globalization, come to have a strong influence on the non-Western world). Some readers may well have found these parts of the book to be heavy going, and perhaps overly theoretical. My only defence against this charge is to plead my case in the terms of Kurt Lewin’s famous maxim that ‘there is nothing as practical as a good theory’ (quoted in van de Ven 1989, 486). The effort of building a bridge between the individual’s moral framework and the ethics of war, such that she or he will be protected from plunging into the chasm of ethical failure and consequent moral injury, will come to naught if the construction of the ethics of war on the far side of that chasm is not itself sound. I have argued, alongside Valerie Morkevicius, that we must

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resist the revisionist urge within the Just War Tradition (JWT), with its start and end points of the rights and dignity of the individual. I have tried to show how the broad JWT, unrevised, interacts with the foundational principles of the liberal democratic state. I have also sought to show that the intellectual forces which have shaped the horizons of the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who serve the world’s liberal democracies also make sense of the magnificent compromise between ethical theories that is the JWT. That the foundations of the abutments on either side of the chasm are built from the same material is a reason to be hopeful that the bridging effort will succeed. Which brings us to the bridge itself. I  began with an exploration of Kaurin’s account of the Guardian ethos, which I proposed as a superior bridge between the soldier and the state – superior, that is, to the ‘warrior’ ethos or the ‘military professional’ ethos. Kaurin herself makes a strong case for the superiority of the Guardian ethos to the warrior ethos in the contemporary operational environment. I go further and contend that we should also see the image of the military practitioner as a guardian as a replacement for the idea of the military practitioner as a professional. I contend that the Guardian ethos is able, better than the other contenders, to accommodate the ‘virtuous tension’ that is at the heart of the morality of the liberal democratic state and, consequently, at the heart of the ethics of war appropriate for such a state. I illustrated this by showing how this applies in the case of what is arguably the most contentious principle of military ethics, the doctrine of double effect. I also showed how the Guardian ethos is compatible with an ethical decision-making model I  call Ethical Triangulation, which leverages the three main approaches to ethics, which in turn map to the three dominant perspectives of modernity which define the central values of the liberal state. As Lieutenant Colonel Glendenning writes in his reflections on this model, ‘Anchoring some intellectual muscle memory and introducing a common ethical language will better equip service personnel for an altruistic life of duty and sacrifice that will inevitably present wicked ethical dilemmas to rationalise’ (2017, 25). The Guardian ethos, then, is central to what I  contend is the response military forces need to make to the challenge of both ethical failure and moral injury. But that is not the whole story. Studies in neuroscience, social psychology and related disciplines have shown that there are a range of other factors which increase the risk of ethical failure (and corresponding moral injury). For example, we are only now starting to understand the impact that ‘Us/Them-ing’ (as Sapolsky calls it) has on our approach to the use of force. This has even been a factor in the development of the JWT itself, as Morkevicius explains:

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It is unsurprising that the degree to which warfare is understood to be an act carried out against members of an out-group, rather than a group more or less like one’s own, affects what means are deemed permissible. After all, social distance has been identified as an important variable in determining the degree to which warfare is regulated. When cultural differences are minor, the conduct of war will be more comprehensively subject to limiting rules, but is generally more brutal the more the parties concerned perceive each other as ideological foes. The same has been found for civil wars, which tend to be bloodier where religious differences are involved. Perhaps as a consequence of this tendency, just war thinkers concerned primarily with intracommunal conflict elaborate more precise and more restrictive in bello rules. (Morkevicius 2018, 56–7)

These factors, which shape our behaviour beyond the reaches of clear and rational thought, significantly heighten the risk of ethical failure and corresponding moral injury. It is therefore vital that we recognize them and develop training and other measures to compensate for their effects. In his book On Killing:  The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, former US Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman colourfully notes the importance of training appropriately for the challenges of combat:  ‘Do not expect the combat fairy to come bonk you with the combat wand and suddenly make you capable of doing things that you never rehearsed before. It will not happen. You don’t rise to the occasion. You sink to your level of training’ (1996, 387). There is no reason to think this should be any different when it comes to preparing for the ethical challenges of war. As Messervey and Peach put it, If soldiers generally need to make ethical decisions under extremely stressful situations where their hearts are racing and their cognitive ability is limited, then soldiers may not know what to do. Their emotions and the situational cues on the battlefield may be more powerful predictors of what soldiers believe they should do than ethical principles that were learned in non-combat learning situations. When learning is implemented in a way that is consistent with how behaviour is carried out, training programs may be more efficient. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 86)

Ultimately, if we are to seriously tackle the challenge of morality and ethics at war, it will require significant leadership. At the junior level leaders must be committed to developing a deep understanding of the moral and ethical

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challenges they and those under their leadership face, and they must show the courage and determination to make changes in order to better face those challenges. At the senior level leaders will need to be prepared to resource and organize their forces in a way that allows for this issue to be addressed seriously, not just as another ‘tick in the box’ compliance measure. It is my hope that the incomplete and imperfect thoughts expressed in this book will be of some utility to military practitioners and might perhaps stimulate further discussion on how we might best address the twin challenges of ethical failure and moral injury. At the very least I hope it has gone some way to highlighting the importance of this topic. I can think of no better way to conclude this book than with this wisdom from a seasoned and distinguished soldier, Lieutenant General Mark Evans AO DSC (Ret.):  ‘In my judgment, wars are ultimately won or lost in the minds of the men and women who fight them. Moral ascendency is critical. When it is abandoned, the war is lost, and, beyond the physical and psychological damage, those who fight will be prone to a moral injury’ (2015, 62).

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Notes Introduction 1 See particularly Pinker (2011). 2 Here I am using the term ‘Just War Tradition’ to refer to the Western tradition that emerged from Christian thought. As Valerie Morkevicius and other scholars have skilfully shown, there are similar lines of thought within Islamic, Buddhist and other traditions – Morkevicius (2018) captures this broad similarity under the umbrella of ‘just war thinking’. 3 In his influential book War and Self Defense (2002), revisionist Just War thinker David Rodin argues that individual self-defence and defence of others are the only legitimate grounds for killing at the interpersonal level, but that this cannot be extended into a justification for national defence. Rodin contends that only a global state, or a similar global authority, can resolve this dilemma by in effect reducing all state uses of force to domestic law enforcement. 4 For a discussion of the ‘right to fight’ for guerrillas and insurgents, see Michael Gross’s The Ethics of Insurgency: A Critical Guide to Just Guerrilla Warfare (2015), 21–49. 5 See Harbour (2011) for a thorough rebuttal of these objections. 6 ‘International Humanitarian Law’ is the term given to that part of international law which defines what is legal conduct for parties engaged in armed conflicts. 7 See Morkevicius (2018), chapter 4, for a discussion of how this perspective has changed from early writings in the JWT. 8 Arguably the most influential discussion of proportionality is Thomas Hurka’s paper ‘Proportionality in the Morality of War’ (2005). 9 It may or may not be the case that having a robot make the decision to kill a human is a violation of human dignity; however, my view is that this is not, in fact, an ethically problematic issue in the case of lethal autonomous weapons systems. I argue elsewhere that (hypothetical ‘Terminator’-type systems aside) claiming that lethal autonomous weapons systems make the decision to kill is inaccurate (Baker forthcoming). 10 This discussion of the DDE draws on my discussion of the concept in Key Concepts in Military Ethics (Baker 2015), chapter 25, and is used here with permission. 11 For a rigorous discussion of some of the central objections to the DDE, see Alison MacIntyre’s ‘Doing Away with Double Effect’ (2001).

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12 This discussion of jus post bellum draws on my discussion of the concept in Key Concepts in Military Ethics (Baker 2015), chapter 23, and is used here with permission. 13 Pattison’s work falls clearly into the category of ‘revisionist’ just war thinking. As indicated above, and as discussed in Chapter 4, I reject the foundational assumptions of this approach. In quoting Pattison here I do not intend to lend support to his overall approach in this regard.

1 1 The discussion of Taylor’s account of personal moral identity that I provide here draws from chapter 5 of my book Tayloring Reformed Epistemology (Baker 2007) and is used here with permission. 2 Also known as the ‘eidetic reduction’ or epoche. 3 One of the difficulties in coming to grips with Taylor’s notion of hypergoods is a lack of clarity over the relationship between this concept and another term used by Taylor, that of ‘constitutive goods’. I address that elsewhere (Baker 2007, 117–20) and will set aside that discussion for the purposes of this argument. 4 This section is a revised and amended version of my account of Taylor’s retrieval of the modern self in Baker (2009) and is used here with permission. 5 Descartes’s proof, an ontological argument, is as follows: But if the mere fact that I can produce from my thought the idea of something entails that everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive to belong to that thing really does belong to it, is not this a possible basis for another argument to prove the existence of God? Certainly, the idea of God, or a supremely perfect being, is one that I find within me just as surely as the idea of any shape or number. And my understanding that it belongs to his nature that he always exists is no less clear and distinct than is the case when I prove of any shape or number that some property belongs to its nature. (Cottingham et al. 1984, 45)

2 1 The account of the social contract and liberalism given in this chapter draws on the account I give in my book Citizen Killings (Baker 2016) and is used here with permission. 2 Confusingly, in Australia where I am writing this, the Liberal Party is in fact the party of socially conservative values.

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3 Australian Human Rights Commission, ‘An Introduction to Human Rights’ (n.d.), https://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/students/get-informed/ introduction-human-rights (accessed 12 March 2020). 4 Like most central issues on political theory, there are competing views on this. Perfectionists in particular turn a jaundiced eye towards liberal neutrality. I cannot enter that debate here and will take it that my reader concurs with me that state neutrality is both desirable and demanded by liberalism. 5 I discuss the question of whether the military is, or should be, a profession in Chapter 4. 6 Morkevicius goes further to expand the aperture to include non-Western systems of ethics, describing this broad span of thought at ‘Just War thinking’. 7 While I focus here on revisionist Just War thinking, Morkevicius is right to point out that Walzerians have also contributed to these trajectories: The centrality of individual human rights is particularly obvious in the work of revisionist scholars, whose analysis depends on a careful determination of an individual’s liability to harm based on his or her responsibility for posing a direct and unjustified threat. … Nonetheless, the rights of individuals are also foundational for Walzerians. As Walzer puts it, ‘individual rights (to life and liberty) underlie the most important judgments that we can make about war’. (Morkevicius 2018, 216) Nonetheless, the picture for Walzerians is more nuanced. As Morkevicius points out, Walzerians share with neoclassical thinkers a group-centric, rather than individual-centric, approach to the ethics of war, as well as a general pessimism about human nature. To avoid muddying the waters I have, therefore, essentially set aside the Walzerian perspective here, though I strongly encourage readers to take advantage of Morkevicius’s excellent account.

3 1 Relatively new, that is. Though the term has only relatively recently begun to gain widespread traction, Rob Sutherland identifies the first application of ‘moral injury’ as having had as its focus the pilots and crew of Bomber Command in the Second World War: The term ‘moral injury’ was first applied to the experience of the Bomber Command aircrews involved in fire-bombing the German

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Notes cultural city of Dresden in mid-February 1945. The raids killed in excess of 25,000 people for little apparent strategic gain. The bombing seemed to be little more than punishment for the war which was soon to end in any event. Images of the burnt-out city moved some of Britain’s leaders to accuse Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris of war crimes. Those who conducted the raids had mixed emotions about what they had done and whether the death and destruction was justified. (Sutherland 2015, 193)

2 It is important to acknowledge here that moral injury is not a malady that is unique to military personnel who have been engaged in war – that is merely the context for this particular work. There is increasing recognition that individuals from all walks of life and across a wide range of circumstances can suffer from moral injury. 3 This section draws on my chapter ‘Moral Ambiguity and Ethical Dilemma’ in Tom Frame’s edited volume Moral Injury: Unseen Wounds in an Age of Barbarism (New South Books, 2015, chapter 6) and is used here with permission. 4 Nielsen herself acknowledges this: My argument hinges on a departure from existing definitions of moral injury, specifically in relation to the exclusion of individuals being morally wronged, or bearing witness to, a morally impermissible act. For example, while Brett Litz and his colleagues acknowledge that ‘theories of PTSD attempt to explain the long term phenomenology of individuals harmed by others (and other unpredictable, uncontrollable and threatening circumstances)’, they continue to include ‘bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations’ as things that possibly cause moral injury. Similarly, Jonathan Shay locates moral injury in the ‘betrayal of what’s right’ – thémis – by an authority in a high stake situation. I am arguing, however, that a ‘betrayal of what’s right’ against an individual, or to which the individual bears witness, does not constitute moral injury but they may experience what I regard as ‘moral affront’. (Nielsen 2015, 141–2)

4 1 This is not, however, to overlook the importance of contextual factors which may have exacerbated the situation in this case. I examine the impact of contextual factors on the risk of ethical failure in Chapter 6. 2 There are, admittedly, non-eudaemonist accounts of virtue ethics. In their summary of virtue theory, Rosalind Hursthouse and Glen Pettigrove identify

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three additional types of virtue ethics advocated by leading scholars: ‘agentbased and exemplarist’ (Linda Zagzebski and Michael Slote), ‘target-centric’ (Christine Swanton) and ‘Platonistic’ (Iris Murdoch, Timothy Chappell and Robert Merrihew Adams). We can, however, set these aside given their relative lack of influence (and, in the case of Platonistic virtue ethics, vulnerability to the same objection) (Hursthouse and Pettigrove 2016). 3 As we saw in Chapter 2, Balint explains, Under neutrality of justification, no law of policy should be justified by the rightness of any particular way of life. This is a form of procedural neutrality, where the laws and policies that citizens should live by should be equally justifiable to all. …The second type of neutrality is of a different order. Here what matters is not so much how a law or principle has been justified, as much as its intention. Under neutrality of intent, a neutral institution or policy should not intend to favour (or hinder) any particular way of life. … The third type of neutrality is effectively the flipside of neutrality of intent. Neutrality of outcome is concerned not only that institutions of policies do not intend to favour any particular way of life, but that they do not actually favour – even unintentionally – any way of life. (Balint 2015, 498–9) 4 The highly effective group of misfits and criminals in military service is a motif that has long been a favourite in Hollywood, and the French Foreign Legion’s famous policy of requiring recruits to enlist under a ‘declared identity’ (pseudonym), which made it attractive to criminals on the run, has – combined with the Legion’s elite status – contributed significantly to this mystique. 5 Here I am talking about those who object to participating in the application of military force in general (usually pacifists), rather than to ‘specific’ conscientious objectors (or, better, selective conscientious objectors) – those who object to participation in particular wars and/or operations which they feel to be unjustified. I will address selective conscientious objection below. 6 The discussion of the idea of the military as a profession in this section draws on my article ‘Trust Me, I’m a Military Professional’, which offers a review of Finney and Mayfield (2018) and which was published on 11 September 2018 at Defence-in-Depth, the blog of the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London. It is used here with permission. 7 She is now Pauline Shanks Kaurin, and has since publishing the book taken up the Admiral James B. Stockdale Chair in Professional Military Ethics at the U.S. Naval War College. 8 Instances of this emphasis are easy to find. Consider, for example, the opening line of the Australian Army’s ‘contract with Australia’ (oath): ‘I’m an Australian soldier who is an expert in close combat.’

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9 A personal anecdote: the distorting effect of the warrior ethos and its focus on close combat was first brought home to me at a conference I attended, at which one of the presenters, a US Army officer, showed a PowerPoint slide delineating the ‘non-kinetic fires’ that had been employed in an operation in which he had played a part. It took me a while to work out that he was referring to efforts taken to address the threat environment which did not involve the application of military force. 10 One of the last acts Lieutenant General Angus Campbell took as chief of the Australian Army, prior to his elevation to Chief of the Australian Defence Force, was to issue a ban on the wearing of patches or badges bearing ‘death symbols’. According to a news report, ‘Lieutenant General Campbell said the practice was arrogant, ill-considered and that it eroded the ethos of the Army.’ Symbols that were specifically banned ‘because of their violent, murderous and vigilante symbolism’ included ‘the Grim Reaper, the Skull and Crossbones, Spartans, and the Phantom or Punisher’. General Campbell is quoted as saying that wearing such symbols ‘implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession; the legitimate and discriminate take of life. As soldiers our purpose is to serve the state, employing violence with humility always and compassion wherever possible. This symbology to which I refer erodes this ethos of service’ (Chen 2018). 11 Lest anyone think this is a problem particular to the British Army’s list of ‘values and standards’, consider how easily a member of the Islamic State, arguably among the most reprehensible fighting forces of recent history, could adopt, with very minor modifications, the Australian Army Values: These core values form the bedrock of everything we do: Courage – I am resilient and always act with integrity, moral and physical courage and encourage others to do the same. I am courageous on the battlefield, in the barracks and in public. Initiative – I take action to continuously improve myself, my team and Army, not only on the battlefield but in all areas, all the time. Respect – I value differences. I always respect others through my actions and my words. Teamwork – We work together to achieve our tasks, objectives and mission. (https://www.army.gov.au/our-people/our-values, accessed 12 March 2020).

5 1 I discuss the relevance of the concept of the strategic corporal to the contemporary context in the conclusion of this book. It is also explored

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in depth in a volume I co-edited with David Lovell, The Strategic Corporal Revisited: Challenges Facing Combatants in 21st Century Warfare (2017). Anecdotally, this reflects the way special operations personnel tend to think about the use of force. I once had the privilege of having dinner with Admiral Eric T. Olson, veteran of SEAL Team 6 and the Battle of Mogadishu, and Commander of US Special Operations Command at the time of the bin Laden raid. I asked Olson what defines special operations personnel, and without hesitation he replied, ‘Physically fit problem solvers.’ Given that we are seeing a clear trend for more traditional forces taking on a more special operations-like posture, there seems good reason to think that this broader and non-force-specific perspective is a good fit beyond the special operations community as well. Many, though not all, bridges also employ ‘piers (one or more supports in the middle)’ (Woodford 2018; emphasis in original), but I’ve set that aside here in the interests of keeping the analogy as simple as I can. The discussion of the practice of tsujigiri in Western moral philosophy largely centres on Mary Midgley’s discussion thereof in her book Can’t We Make Moral Judgements? (1993). The discussion of the doctrine of double effect in the following section draws in part on my overview of the doctrine in chapter 25, ‘Collateral Damage and the Doctrine of Double Effect’, of Key Concepts in Military Ethics (ed. Baker 2015) and is used here with permission. Calculated as at 6 December 2018 using data drawn from the Iraq Body Count database (https://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/, accessed 16 March 2020). Both of these slogans appear on apparel offered by RE Factor, ‘a SOF veteran led company with the mission of providing special operations with Unconventional Solutions™ that are essential for adapting to unconventional problems on the battlefield’ (https://www.refactortactical.com/pages/teamroom, accessed 12 March 2020). RE Factor is both popular and successful; this is by no means a peripheral or unrepresentative example. Perhaps most disturbing is the poster this company offers for sale which depicts a US soldier employing his weapon and reads, ‘We stop looking for monsters under our beds, once we realize they’re inside of us.’

6 1 Among the most experienced, and wise, military ethicists I know is Martin Cook (Admiral James B. Stockdale Emeritus Professor of Professional Military Ethics at the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Naval War College). Having worked as an ethicist ‘inside the system’ for the US Navy, Army and Air Force over the course of a distinguished career, few have as clear a picture of the way military bureaucracies respond to

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Notes ethical scandals. Cook wryly refers to this as the ‘holy trinity’: fire the leader, mandate more training and issue new policies. The main consequences of this approach, Cook contends, is an ever-increasing bureaucratic load and a risk-averse culture (‘since every mistake is a hanging offence’).

2 One study revealed that American soldiers and marines who felt angry were significantly more likely than American soldiers and marines who did not feel angry to report mistreating noncombatants, and American soldiers who had lost a fellow soldier in combat were more likely than those who had not to insult or curse non-combatants and to unnecessarily damage Iraqi property. Clearly, anger is a risk factor for unethical behaviour. (Messervey and Peach 2014, 87–8) 3 My squad also had one recruit destined for an artillery unit, whom we all knew only as ‘Gunner’ – I don’t think any of us ever bothered to find out his actual first name. 4 All of us were male: though there were women being trained at the same time as us, basic training was gender-segregated. 5 In recent years average seat ‘pitch’ – a proxy for legroom – has shrunk, along with the width of individual seats. Average pitch in coach has narrowed from about 35 inches to 31. On some discount carriers, such as Spirit and Frontier, pitch is as low as 28 inches. Average seat width has shrunk from 18 inches to 17 inches or less. That would be bad enough if passengers had remained the same size. They haven’t. An average woman who weighed 140 pounds in 1960 weighed nearly 169 pounds by 2014, according to the most recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average man went from 166 pounds to 196. (USA Today Editorial Board, 2018) 6 Interestingly, this kind of process can go the other way as well, as Sapolsky notes: Human irrationality in distinguishing kin from nonkin takes us to the heart of our best and worst behaviors. This is because of something crucial – we can be manipulated into feeling more or less related to someone than we actually are. When it is the former, wonderful things happen – we adopt, donate, advocate for, empathize with. We look at someone very different from us and see similarities. It is called pseudokinship. (Sapolsky 2017, 371–2) While this is generally a good thing, it can also have perverse effects. Sapolsky also highlights a study which had subjects decide on a hypothetical

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situation in which they had to choose between saving the life of a person or a dog. ‘The decision depended not only on who the person was (sibling, cousin, stranger) but also on who the dog was – a strange dog or your own. Remarkably, 46 percent of women would save their dog over a foreign tourist’ (Sapolsky 2017, 371).

7 1 ‘Always Faithful’, often shortened to ‘Semper Fi’. 2 The weight of this axiom is evident in the fact that even marines who are selected to train as fast jet pilots are required to successfully complete foundational rifleman training. 3 The discussion of the Ethical Triangulation model in this section draws on my chapter on that topic in Baker (2015) and is used here with permission. 4 Here I will use ‘dilemmas’ in the loose manner which has become commonplace, to refer to any set of circumstances where the decision maker is faced with two or more undesirable courses of action. Put differently, I will use ‘dilemmas’ as a catch-all phrase to include trilemmas, tetralemmas, pentalemmas and so on. 5 Nothing worthwhile is developed alone. Much of the credit for the Ethical Triangulation model described here must go to my former colleagues at the US Naval Academy, particularly Captain Rick Rubel (USN, Ret.). 6 An important and counterintuitive effect that leaders seeking to build such a culture should be aware of is worth highlighting here. While it would be natural to think that praising ethical behaviour and reminding subjects of past ethical behaviour would have a positive effect on future behaviour, some studies suggest that the opposite is true: subjects reminded of past ethical behaviour are more prone to future misconduct, while those reminded of past unethical behaviour are more likely to resist ethical failure. This effect is known as ‘moral credentialing’ (see, e.g., Monin and Miller 2001).

Conclusion 1 This account of Krulak’s scenario is taken from Deane-Peter Baker and David Pfotenhauer, ‘The Strategic Contractor’, in The Strategic Corporal Revisited: Challenges Facing Combatants in 21st-Century Warfare, edited by Deane-Peter Baker and David W. Lovell (University of Cape Town Press, 2017), pp. 57–9. It is republished here with permission.

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