Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War
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Oxford University Press
Cian O’Driscoll, Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
Committing one’s country to war is a grave decision. Governments often have to make tough calls, but none are quite so painful as those that involve sending soldiers into harm’s way, to kill and be killed. The idea of ‘just war’ informs how we approach and reflect on these decisions. It signifies the belief that while war is always a wretched enterprise it may in certain circumstances, and subject to certain restrictions, be justified. Boasting a long history that is usually traced back to the sunset of the Roman Empire, it has coalesced over time into a series of principles and moral categories—e.g., just cause, last resort, proportionality, etc.—that will be familiar to anyone who has ever entered a discussion about the rights and wrongs of war. Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War focuses both on how this particular tradition of thought has evolved over time and how it has informed the practice of states and the legal architecture of international society. This book examines the vexed position that the concept of victory occupies within this framework.