Recent international developments have introduced the possibility of war waged on behalf of people unable to defend themselves, and when the attacking parties’ interests appear not to be at stake. Are purely military forms of “humanitarian intervention” sometimes morally required? Can such military missions be reconciled with the widely held belief in the moral distinction between killing and letting die? In exploring these questions, the two dominant paradigms in writing about war are considered: just war theory and utilitarianism. The moral centrality of intentions emerges through an explanation of the distinction often made between natural and man-made catastrophe. Ultimately, the alleged permissibility of the “collateral damage” to which military intervention gives rise implies the permissibility of pacifism, thus invalidating the claim that the resort to deadly force is sometimes morally obligatory.
foreign policy, just war, military intervention, state sovereignty, utilitarianism
"Killing, Letting Die, and the Alleged Necessity of Military Intervention,"
Peace and Conflict Studies: Vol. 8
, Article 2.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol8/iss2/2