Drone Warfare Debate Continues in Ethics & International Affairs

The escalating use of drone warfare by the Obama administration is the setting for a re-examination of the just use of force in the latest issue of the journal Ethics & International Affairs (EIA), published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

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"...only 13 per cent of drone strikes have killed a militant leader..."

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 08, 2013

The escalating use of drone warfare by the Obama administration is the setting for a re-examination of the just use of force in the latest issue of the journal Ethics & International Affairs (EIA), published by C ambridge University Press on behalf of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

In a section devoted to ‘Just War and its Critics’, Daniel Brunstetter and Megan Braun argue for a fundamental re-think of the moral issues raised when using military force short of war. Their essay is part of a special section to mark the centennial of the 1914 founding of the Carnegie Council.

In From Jus ad Bellum to Jus ad Vim: Recalibrating Our Understanding of the Moral Use of Force, Brunstetter and Braun claim the old tradition of ‘just war’ principles is no longer sufficient to cover modern-day uses of force such as drone campaigns. Instead, these now exist in an ethical context of their own, meaning that old doctrines need to be overhauled – a process with implications for international law.

In the first part of their article, Brunstetter and Braun argue that the ‘just war’ framework cannot help us to properly assess the type of ‘just use of force’ actions that have become the hallmarks of the Obama administration’s approach to combating terrorism. In the second section they contend that a new and robust theory of just force can be created by revising current just war criteria and adding a new principle – the probability of escalation. They warn:

“The use of just force to help a state to act proportionately and discriminately may gradually lead to the very opposite. Indeed, U.S. drone targeting practices have expanded in worrisome ways. The initial policy was to target only high-level leaders, but the targeting list has since widened to include strikes against individuals based solely on suspicious behavior. New research suggests that under the Obama administration only 13 per cent of drone strikes have killed a militant leader, while leaders represent just 2 percent of all drone related fatalities.”

They conclude with a call for an urgent re-evaluation of the moral framework in which these types of warfare exist. And such a re-evaluation of just force principles means that ‘international law may also have to evolve.”

Brunstetter and Braun are returning to a subject explored by them in a previous issue of EIA. In September 2011, they published The Implications of Drones on the Just War Tradition, an exploration of the morality of drone strikes, in which they suggested that “concerns regarding transparency and the potentially indiscriminate nature of drone strikes….may undermine the probability of success in combating terrorism.”

Daniel Brunstetter is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California. He has published on the just war tradition and modern political philosophy in Political Studies, International Relations, Review of Politics, The Atlantic, and elsewhere.

Megan Braun is a Rhodes Scholar and an MPhil candidate in International Relations at Oxford University, where her research focuses on the interaction among technology, law, and the just war tradition. As an intern at the New America Foundation she revised and updated its drone database. She has published on drones on CNN and in Ethics & International Affairs, and is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy's Afpak Channel.

This special section of EIA also includes essays on the historical approach in the Just War tradition; Just War and its critics; and Just War thinking as social practice.

Ends

Notes to Editors
For further information or to arrange interviews with the authors, please contact Michael Marvin with Cambridge Journals at (001) 646-460-3467 or at mmarvin(at)cambridge(dot)org.

About Ethics & International Affairs
The aim of Ethics & International Affairs, the journal of the Carnegie Council, is to help close the gap between theory and practice (and between theorists and practitioners) by publishing original essays that integrate rigorous thinking about principles of justice and morality into discussions of practical dilemmas related to current policy developments, global institutional arrangements, and the conduct of important international actors. The Carnegie Council is a leading global voice promoting ethical leadership on issues of war, peace and social justice. The Council was established by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1914.

For more information visit: http://journals.cambridge.org/eia

About the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1914, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an independent, non-profit, educational 501(c)3 institution serving international affairs professionals, teachers and students, and the public.

For more information, visit: http:// http://www.carnegiecouncil.org

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