Friday, September 16, 2011

Saba Bazargan on David Fisher's new book on ethics of war

Saba Bazargan reviews David Fisher's Morality and War: Can War Be Just in the Twenty-First Century? for NDPR. According the the review at least the second part of the book looks quite valuable as Dr. Fisher was a member of various organizations in the UK's defense establishment. Far too little ethics is written by practitioners in their respective fields. This book ought to be welcomed by the ethics community as it is written by someone who is philosophically sophisticated and has actual experience in offices that were responsible for decisions about going to war, and not mere outsider observers who lack the insight, context, and training of an inside observer. Added a few days later: The more political science I read about the Iraq war and the Bush Doctrine, the more I realize that, at least according to the review, Fisher is hitting on an important distinction when he talks about the (non) difference between preemption and prevention. Many many people run roughshod over that and uncritically accept that they are radically different things, and ergo Bush is wrong in advocating preemptive war and ignoring preventive war. If Fisher is correct and the distinction is merely epistemic, a lot of what passes for political science has to be rewritten. (See e.g., Kegley and Raymond's After Iraq (p 80-84) and Joan Hoff's A Faustian Foreign Policy (170-171).)