Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Drone articles

Today sees a spate of interesting articles on military drones. Here is how the Pentagon envisions the future of drones that really have no human operators (not a likely prospect). Here is another take on that vision. The Pentagon will also be weaponizing more drones: story here. Here is an article about the new testing locations for drones. Time Magazine has an odd article about what drone killing is really like here. And finally, the Navy tells us that Drone videos were among its most popular this year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Call for Papers - Philosophies of peace and war

Got this in an email

Call for Essays:

Philosophies of Peace and War

Under the guest editorships of Professor W. John Morgan (UNESCO Professor of the Political Economy and Education, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK) and Dr. Alex Guilherme (Director, Paulo Freire Center for the Study of Critical Pedagogy, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK), Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice is dedicating issue 25.4 to examining the philosophies of peace and war.

In 1795 France and Prussia signed the Peace of Basel, which established French sovereignty over the West bank of the Rhine whilst allowing Prussia to divide Poland up with Russia and Austria. In that same year Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential Western philosophers, wrote an essay titled, "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch." In this well-known, philosophical text Kant prescribes a series of six principles and three fundamental articles for a program leading to long-lasting peace among sovereign states. The crux of these self-explanatory principles is that no sovereign state, no matter how large or small, should neither come under the dominion of another state by any means, nor should it be interfered with, and national armies should be abolished completely. The fundamental articles are concerned with the relations between individuals, founded on republicanism; among nations, founded on a federation of free states; and within humanity, founded on the virtue of universal hospitality. Kant's motivation for writing this essay was his indignation at the absurdity of foreign politics and its pursuit of peace through inadequate and often deceptive means. He was not the only philosopher, however, to reflect on the subject of peace. Jeremy Bentham, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Richard Price, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Rosa Luxembourg, Nicholas Berdayev, Jane Addams, Maria Montessori, Simone Weil, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt and, more recently, Leonardo Boff and Noam Chomsky, to name just a few, have also written on this subject. Others have written philosophies of war and confrontation, such as Sun Tzu, Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, Carl von Clausewitz, and Frantz Fanon.

We invite essays on philosophical approaches to peace and to war, broadly conceived, or on a particular philosopher's understanding of peace or of war. Interested writers should submit essays (2500-3500 words) and 1-2 line bios to: http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/peace_review/issues/ by April 15th, 2014. Essays should be jargon- and footnote-free, although we will run Recommended Readings. Please refer to the Submission Guidelines. We publish essays on ideas and research in peace studies, broadly defined. Essays are relatively short (2500-3500 words), contain no footnotes or exhaustive bibliography, and are intended for a wide readership. The journal is most interested in the cultural and political issues surrounding conflicts occurring between nations and peoples.

Please direct content-based questions or concerns to Special Editors: Professor W. John Morgan (john.morgan@nottingham.ac.uk) and Dr. Alex Guilherme (guilhea@hope.ac.uk)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar - new book

Here is the website for a new book on Cybersecurity and Cyberwar. If anyone reads it and wants to share a review, I'll post it here. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Life or Death - Call for papers - and a comment

Penn State Philosophy Graduate Student Organization is holding a philosophy conference about "Philosophy, life, death". The Call for papers is here.

I am somewhat struck by the lack of reference to war and soldiers. Soldiers are people who spend an inordinate amount of time 1) learning how to take lives and 2) learning how to prevent their own deaths. You would think, and you would be right, that much philosophical ink has been spilled on this. Their philosophical reflections should be reflected in the canon too. 

Call for Papers: Concussion/mTBI

Got this in an email. This may be of interest to some of the readers here as concussion/mTBI has been so prevalent in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. (UPDATE: New rules about TBI related conditions were just released for the VA. See the stories here and here.) Though the call for papers focuses more on sports (though military as well), similar considerations apply to military situations in most cases. Here are some suggestions of mine that I would hope the journal might consider if anyone were to attempt a paper. Feel free to use them: 

(1) Overlooking TBIs: Does the medic work for the commander or the Soldier?; 
(2) Injurious Weapons: TBI as end result; 
(3) Designing TBI-resistant armor, what sacrifices are legitimate?; 
(4) Should soldiers be warned about TBI in advance? How?; 
(5) How to discharge a Soldier with TBI; 
(6) Should TBI victims get a Purple Heart? When?

Can you think of others?

Call for papers:

This special issue of Neuroethics will focus on concussion and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). Concussion/mTBI affects millions of individuals each year and the long term neurological effects of concussion are currently being debated. Concussion is a common injury among professional, amateur and youth athletes in many sports, and has also been called the “signature injury” of military personnel in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. This significant public health problem has received considerable attention in the popular press, and is an area of active research in the neurosciences, but is an underdeveloped area of neuroethical inquiry.

Possible questions and topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

What can/should neuroethics contribute to discussions about the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussion/mTBI in athletes or military personnel?

Ethical issues bearing upon physicians or other stakeholders in:

implementing or facilitating return-to-play, or return to active duty

preventing athletes from participating in high risk sports

condoning risky sports with their presence (e.g. the ringside doctor at a boxing match)

Conflicts of interest for sporting leagues, concussion experts, and other stakeholders

The team doctor or military physician as “company doctor”

Research ethics and concussion/mTBI

Ethical issues in the use of new technologies for diagnosing, treating or managing concussion/mTBI

Consent and the disclosure of risk

Preserving/protecting autonomy in the at-risk individual

Risky sport participation and the rights of children and adolescents

The ethical obligations of professional sporting leagues with high rates of concussion

Contributions from stakeholders and multidisciplinary scholars are encouraged. The editors welcome early discussion of proposals and/or abstracts by email.

Full papers are due by March 7, 2014. Manuscripts should be submitted to Neuroethics online at: http:// www.editorialmanager.com/nero using code “SI: concussion.” Manuscripts should be of a high quality and will be subject to the normal peer review process of Neuroethics. For submission requirements, format and referencing style, refer to the Author Guidelines at: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/applied+ethics/journal/12152? detailsPage=societies

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Aerial and maritime drone warfare

Interesting take on drone warfare, perhaps as asymmetric warfare at Salon.com. Also extremely interesting is an article on unmanned maritime systems on the US Naval Institute's site. 

Call for papers: Why War?

Just got this in an email: 

1st Call for Papers

Why War? Peace Studies in the 21st Century.

International Conference to be held as part of the 40th Anniversary Celebrations of the Division of Peace Studies & Humanities, University of Bradford, (and in conjunction with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War).

Date: 1-3 May 2014

Location: Campus of the University of Bradford (UK)

Why War? A Historical Debate

In 1931 and 1932, a correspondence occurred between two of the greatest intellects of the day, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, on the question, “Why War?” Einstein initiated the correspondence, as part of an initiative to promote the contribution of intellectuals to public life. The plan was to initiate debate amongst a network of intellectuals, whose ponderings would be published in the popular press, with the goal of exerting “a significant and wholesome moral influence on the solution of political problems”.

The project of harnessing theoretical and intellectual debate to the resolution of political and policy problems is one that has animated the Department of Peace Studies – now the Division of Peace Studies and Humanities - at the University of Bradford since its founding in 1973. Consequently, as the finale of our 40th anniversary year, we are proud to host an international conference examining the state of peace studies in the 21st Century and the contribution peace studies can make to public policy in the contemporary world.
As part of the conference we invite paper submissions on philosophical aspects of just-war theories and philosophies of peace. Key note speaker: Dr Helen Frowe, Director of the Stockholm Centre for Ethics of War and Peace, University of Stockholm

Paper abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted to the organising committee by 14 February 2014. The submission must state the title, author(s) name and affiliation, and the relevant thematic stream. Applicants will be notified by 28 February if they have been accepted for the conference.

Conference participation is free but no travel or accommodation grants can be provided.

Registration for the conference opens on 1 December 2013 and continues until 31 March 2014.

For all enquiries or to submit an abstract for consideration, please email peacestudies40@bradford.ac.uk

For more information see conference website: http://www.bradford.ac.uk/ssis/events-and-podcasts/events/peace-events/peace-studies-international-conference-may-2014.php

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Army's "pretty woman" scandal

A little while ago an email was leaked that contained a suggestion that the Army use average looking women in their public relations materials. This suggestion was made by a Colonel as part of a discussion about integrating women into combat roles in the military. The website Politicio made a big to-do about this. The Colonel who initially sent the email got into all sorts of trouble and some are questioning whether or not her "punishment" was justified.

I am no expert on the best way to market the idea of women in combat to the American people. But I assume that people who are, have to take a lot of things into consideration when deciding on the "look" that they want to put on promotional material. I assume that had she said that there should only be unattractive women, or only attractive women on promotional material, the same firestorm would have erupted. Every company presumably takes scores of factors into consideration when deciding on the models for their advertisements. Why is this different?

The Colonel's stated reason is certainly relevant (though only a public opinion survey could tell if it was accurate). Her reasoning was that "In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead. . . There is a general tendency to select nice looking women when we select a photo to go with an article (where the article does not reference a specific person). It might behoove us to select more average looking women for our [communications] strategy. For example, the attached article shows a pretty woman, wearing make-up while on deployed duty. Such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty)." Is her stereotyping of the American people, or perhaps members of the military, the reason she got into trouble? Did she get into trouble for stating a truth that the American public doesn't want to hear? I don't know.

I suspect that advertising agencies around the world send hundreds of emails a day making the exact same point: "We need to use a person who looks like x, because others are perceived in a way not beneficial to us."

Was she wrong to write what she wrote? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

van der Vossen on Chatterjee's Ethics of Preemptive War

Here is Bas van der Vossen's NDPR review of Deen Chatterjee's collection on The Ethics of Preventive War.
The review has some important stuff to say about the distinction that the book fails to capture between preemptive and preventive war. The review also praises a few of the chapters that undoubtedly merit such praise. For the most part, the authors he discusses defend the views you'd expect them to defend (though McMahan is still rewarding and sometimes surprising to read).

Importantly, I think, something the reviewer said was long overdue to be mentioned in a respectable book review. He points out that
Distaste for the Bush administration is palpable throughout the volume (for example in the chapters by Brown and C. A. J. Coady). This reader would have preferred the editor to have weeded some of this out, as it is frequently accompanied by claims or assertions that receive no support or reference.
The reviewer goes on. I agree. Way too much really bad "philosophy" makes it into edited collections merely because it is of the "correct" ideological bent. Editors (and in this case Cambridge U Press) should not be in the business of publishing screeds. 

volunteer armies and responsibility

Yesterday's Washington Post carried an Op-Ed by Dana Milbank advocating for some form of conscription. Robert Goldich thinks it is misguided
Here is a very interesting exchange between Rutgers' Jeff McMahan and some respondents about volunteers' culpability for fighting in just wars and the requirement of selective conscientious objection. Worth reading in full. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Military doctors and ethics

This report in the Army Times claims that Army Doctors breached medical ethics in abusing detainees. Do they?

Israel's philosopher-general

Interesting article in the NY Times here.

"General Halevi, 45, a triathlete and father of four who said his university studies in philosophy proved more salient to military leadership than courses in business administration."

Are Plato, Socrates, and Maimonides really useful for thinking about war?

Monday, November 11, 2013

What it is like to be a US war veteran in philosophy

M’s note: I got this in an email a few days ago accompanied by a letter that strikes me as a bit too personal to print here. I don’t suppose it would hurt to tell you that the author is (was?) an untenured member of a philosophy department in the US. For those of you who do not follow academic philosophy blogs, he appears to be writing in the same vein as blogs like this, this, or this. (I don’t know why he didn’t send it to the latter blog, they have like a zillion times more readers than this one.) Anyway, this seems appropriate for Veterans Day, so here it is: 
What it is like to be a US war veteran in philosophy

For starters, and I know this is a cliche, if you were not there, there is a lot you will just not understand. It really is that simple. No amount of armchair pondering - no matter how smart you are, no matter how many movies you have watched, no matter how much philosophy you have written - is a phenomenological proxy for having been there. Having been through war is a transformative experience like love, poverty, or motherhood that you only understand after you have been through it.

When you are a philosopher and a US war veteran you never have to wonder what it is like to be an outsider in academic philosophy. Your colleagues will remind you. Men, women, and others will define you by what they think you are supposed to have done and by the way Hollywood and the news made them think you behaved. You are presumed to be dumber than most, you are presumed to be of a lower socioeconomic class than your peers, you are presumed to have made it through a PhD program on some kind of GI Bill affirmative action (sic), you are presumed to have sold your body for that GI Bill money, and above all else you are presumed to be the kind of person that has no moral qualms about what you have done and could do with that paid-for body (sound familiar ladies?). Being a veteran is to constantly be made to think that others are looking at you wholly in moral and physical terms, and not as the intellectual that you became writing and completing a PhD in philosophy - in a fairly difficult area of philosophy, no less.

Mind you, this is not akin to having been an accountant before you went into philosophy. In the US, in academia especially, veterans have been marginalized. Our experiences are pretty much written out of the canon of philosophy too. You will not hear about the way Socrates’ approach to justice was shaped by his years fighting in the Peloponnesian Wars, the way Descartes’ thinking about analytic geometry began by watching the trajectory of cannon balls, the way that the death of a fellow soldier in WWII was the catalyst for Rawls’ theory of Justice; nor will you read much about how Wittgenstein’s stint in WW I or Quine’s in WW II, was important to them and their work. These are at the very least, under-examined.

There is no hand-wringing about how to get more of you into the profession nor does anyone think that you could bring a diverse viewpoint to a philosophical debate, or any viewpoint for that matter. I guess it is hard for people who never had such an experience to understand how having gone through war can be as ontologically constitutive of an identity as the things philosophers normally take to be so.

In a way we are luckier than many under-represented groups I suppose, at least those of us who are not also women or non-white. We can usually hide an important part of our identities from people we meet and for a while anyway "pass" as “ordinary” philosophers. Of course that comes with a flip-side. We have no supportive community. I don’t have vet-dar to point out other veterans. We have no secret handshake or haircut. There is no group, no fora to complain to about what condescending sanctimonious civilians mumble to themselves as they read things like this. And, perhaps, most importantly, we are a very small minority.

I have been treated with derision, condescension, and pity (often simultaneously) of the type that would never be leveled by a professional academic to another with experiences far more ideologically and ethically precarious than most veterans have had.

I frequently get asked stupid questions, often about killing people (tip: NEVER ask a veteran if s/he killed anyone or could kill anyone, it is beyond rude, and the last person we want to talk to about this is someone as professionally judgmental as a philosopher). Less frequently people ask about how well I sleep at night (never asked out of medical concern).

We are treated as morally culpable for every military action any US administration has ever taken (no one cares about pesky distinctions between jus ad bellum and jus ad bello). We were all at Abu Ghraib. Every stereotype about members and former members of militaries is unselfconsciously presumed to be true. (Typically, a professor of mine once said, with a serious countenance in a graduate seminar something to the effect, that “soldiers, for example, are all automatons who just follow orders” immediately before she started to talk about Kant).

Beside the ethical stereotypes, the personal ones are also pretty well entrenched in our profession as well. It is presumed that we are all anthropologically speaking anti-social (voluntarily risking your life for fellow citizens notwithstanding), love guns (I don’t), support right-wing politics (lifelong fairly apathetic Democrat here), hate gays (few of us care) and have PTSD (thanks again, pop culture).

Sometimes, I suppose, being a vet is amusing, especially when our phenomenological experiences don’t match the received orthodoxy that philosophers tell themselves about what soldiers are like. I sat in a pretty full room a couple of APAs ago listening to a talk about virtue ethics and soldiers. The paper just made up what it is like to be a soldier, applied some generic theory of virtue ethics to the constructed “personality” and drew unflattering ethical conclusions. The author’s online CV tells me the paper is forthcoming. (Note: I happen to have met the author independently at another conference. He is a really nice, reasonable, guy.)

Veterans also learn some things the hard way: there are some things that must never be mentioned to philosophers outside the US. I have also not yet mastered explaining away a gap in my CV from the times I went to war. I usually lie and concoct an innocuous medical condition. Fun.

Finally, being a war veteran means you don’t put your name on something as public as this as you are paranoid that tenure, jobs, publishing invitations, and friendships will get that much harder. Putting your name on something like this means that you risk being called a moral reprobate, a troglodyte, war criminal, or know-nothing on popular philosophy blogs. And, seriously, we have enough personal stuff to deal with to add that to our list. I even deleted my facebook account out of fear that my “open minded” academic friends would see my “closed minded” military ones.

Some of us are braver than others. Some of us are “out” of this closet. Someone mentioned his military life in at least one published philosophy paper, another (from the Vietnam era) on the jacket of his book. Another graduated from a military academy, deployed a lot, and tells anyone who asks. A fourth . . . well, is there a fourth out there?

All of this regards how I’ve been treated. (Disclaimer: individual experiences vary.) I should say, in all fairness, that my academic friends have been supportive or perhaps at least very polite. And I am grateful for that and to them. It is largely strangers who have few qualms about being obnoxiously judgmental.

There is also the transition between war and academic life that is worth mentioning. If you moved between military and academic life as quickly as I did the adjustment is not easy. It is difficult for any member of any military to reintegrate to civilian life, especially a life as unstructured and hostile to the military as academia is. Some friends in the field have been a great help and I wish I could publicly thank them by name.

I frequently tell myself that I have had experiences that almost no one I work with will ever have - profound, life changing, meaningful experiences on a par with having a child or surviving a serious illness that informs one's philosophical background about many things. I do not regret neither my decision to be part of the military or to go into professional philosophy. Most days I teach, I read, I write, I grade papers, I interact with students, colleagues, friends, and loved ones. I really love what I do, but frankly, unless you feel like being supportive, I’d rather deal with this alone.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Call for Papers: Any intelligence specialists out there?

Reposting from here:
UPDATE: Deadline extended till Dec 20th 2014.


Edited by Jai Galliott (MQ) and Warren Reed (CQU and ex-Australian Secret Intelligence Service)

Foreign and domestic intelligence agencies have received an exponential increase in their levels of funding and public support in the decade after the September 11 terrorist attacks but have now entered a period of broad public scrutiny and skepticism. This is because despite the huge investment in the human and financial resources of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its data collection partners abroad, the large majority of Western nations remain vulnerable to unconventional threats. On a number of fronts - interrogation, torture, the privatisation of national security, drone strikes and electronic surveillance - critics from both inside and outside government are now starting to question the purpose, reach and moral authority of the United States led intelligence establishment. Abstracts pertaining to the above topics are welcomed for inclusion in this proposed volume. Subsequent papers must be philosophically rigorous but accessible to policy makers and upper-level students.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: - What is Espionage?

- The History of Intelligence Ethics

- Current Trends: An Engineer’s Perspective on Progress and Prospects

- Intelligence and Preventative/Preemption Distinction

- Just War Theory and Lessons for the Intelligence Community

- The Limits of Intelligence Gathering: Who Should We Watch?

- The Preliminary Case for ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation

- Does Torture Work? A View from Afghanistan

- The Strategic Implications of Torture

- Spies for Hire: The Challenges Posed by Contractors

- Privatised Information Gathering: Morality and Just War Theory

- Military-Industrial Complex and Privacy

- Drones Wars: The CIA and Remote Surveillance

- Ethics, Distance and the Twenty-First Century Intelligence Analyst

- Asymmetric Force and Terroristic ‘Blowback’

- Spying on the Homefront: The NSA and Warrantless Wiretapping

- The Ethics of Cyberwarfare

- Super Spies: Bio-Enhanced Intelligence Officers

- A Better Secret Court: Improving Ethical Oversight of U.S. FISA Courts

- WikiLeaks: Whistleblowing, Morality and the State

- Guiding Intelligence Professions: A Code of Ethics

- Any other relevant topic (we're open to suggestion)

Submission Guidelines & Notes:

1. Submission deadline for abstracts (200-500 words) and CV(s):December 4, 2013. Late submissions will not be accepted.

2. Selected abstracts will be reviewed by the editors and forwarded to Routledge who will review the collection with a view to contracting the project. There's also some scope to publish under one the editor's new Emerging Technologies series with Ashgate, depending on the final makeup of papers.

3. Authors will receive a response roughly 8 weeks after the closing date for submissions.

4. Tentative submission deadline for drafts of accepted papers (approx. 5000 words): late 2014.

5. All submissions (in Word format) and inquiries should be directed to Jai Galliott at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia via jai.galliott@mq.edu.au

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Call for Papers

Got this in an email
Call for Papers

Theme: The Ethics of War and Peace
Type: Annual Conference
Institution: Societas Ethica
Location: Maribor (Slovenia)
Date: 21.-24.8.2014
Deadline: 31.3.2014

Wars have always been a part of human life, as have attempts to end
them. Questions of war and peace are a constant challenge for ethics.

2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and "The Ethics
of War and Peace" is the theme of the annual conference of Societas
Ethica. Recent European history, especially the civil war in the
former Yugoslavia, has shown that the tensions behind World War I are
still with us.

The pledge "Never again!" was not fulfilled. New wars arose, within
and outside Europe, that manifested still other origins: for example,
wars related to colonialism, imperialism and struggles for
independence, to ambitions for hegemony, to global inequalities
between rich and poor, to religious extremism, to drug trafficking,
to overpopulation, to the illegal arms trade, etc. Today we witness
atrocious civil wars in the Middle East, and the 'war on terror' has
led to new forms of war such as the use of drones and cyber attacks.

The realities of war in the twenty-first century are in desperate
need of thorough moral reflection. Our cultural heritages offer
diverse reflective contributions here, ranging from Sun-tsu's "Art of
war" and Clausewitz's "Vom Kriege" to Thomas Aquinas' and Hugo
Grotius' theories of just war, or from Hobbes' analysis of aggressive
human nature to Kantian attempts to set up a stable world order
without wars.

Through different parallel sessions Societas Ethica will address the
major moral questions regarding war and peace. These sessions will
focus on:

- the roots of war (e.g. human aggression, social life, etc.)
- theories of just war (including questions about 'humanitarian
- the rules of war (e.g. the treatment of prisoners – Guantanamo,
hostage kidnapping – child soldiers, the arms trade, etc.)
- new forms of warfare (cyber war, the use of drones)
- war and profit (the privatization of war, arms exports, etc.)
- ending war (reconciliation initiatives, war tribunals)
- pacifism
- open channel (for PhD students only)

Contributions will concentrate on one of the topics listed above and
explicitly address moral questions related to it. Paper proposals
should contain no more than 800 words (excluding bibliography), and
clearly present a moral question or argument addressing one of the
aforementioned topics. The deadline is March 31, 2014. Papers can be
presented either in English, German, or French.

Please send in the following two documents as Word attachments to:

Document 1: Your name, first name, email address, institutional
address, the title of your abstract, the topic under which your paper
proposal falls, and, if eligible, your application to participate in
the Young Scholars' Award competition (see information below).

Document 2: Your paper proposal including bibliography (max. 10
references) and title with all identifying references removed.

Societas Ethica Young Scholars' Award is awarded to the best
presentation by a young scholar. Young scholars for the purpose of
this competition are doctoral students and researchers who earned
their degree less than two years ago and do not have a tenure-track
academic position. For more information about Societas Ethica Young
Scholars' Award, please visit the website at: www.societasethica.info


Societas Ethica
Email: johanna.romare@liu.se
Web: http://www.societasethica.info/annual-conference-2014

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cyberwar ethics

Fritz Allhof, Patrick Lin, and B. J. Strawser get a grant to study Cyber War ethics.
(h/t Leiter Reports)  

Workshop in Warwick

The University of Warwick is organizing a workshop on Helen Frowe’s manuscript "Defensive Killing: An Essay on War and Self-Defence". The workshop will bring together moral, legal and political philosophers to discuss four chapters from the pre-final draft of Dr. Frowe's manuscript.

The four chapters will be read in advance and will not be presented. Each session will be introduced by a specialist, who will deliver comments on one of the chapters.

8 November 2013, Wolfson Research Exchange, University of Warwick


10:00-10:15 Arrival

10:15-10:30 Introduction

10:30-11:45 Vittorio Bufacchi (Cork) – “Threats and Bystanders”

11:45-12:15 Coffee

12:15-13:30 Victor Tadros (Warwick) – “Killing Innocent Threats”

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-15:45 Jonathan Parry (Sheffield) – “War and Self-Defence”

15:45-16:15 Coffee

16:15-17:30 James Pattison (Manchester) – “Non-combatant Immunity”

The workshop is free of charge, but places are limited. If you'd like to attend, please register by sending an email to m.renzo@warwick.ac.uk

The workshop is generously sponsored by CELPA and the Society for Applied Philosophy.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Graduate Reading Retreat (looks fun)

This came in the mail:

Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace

Graduate Reading Retreat

Cala Galdana, Menorca

19 - 20 September, 2014

The Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace invites submissions for its first Graduate Reading Retreat. Up to six places are available on a competitive basis for current or recent graduate students doing
philosophical research in the field of the ethics of war and peace. Those students whose papers are accepted will have their meals and accommodation covered, and receive a contribution towards travel (up to 3000 SEK (approx. £300) for those from within Europe, up to 7000 SEK (approx. 1000 USD) for those outside Europe). The Reading Retreat will be held at the Sol Gavilanes hotel in Cala Galdana, Menorca.

Each student will have a two hour session (including a 30 minute presentation) on their submitted paper. All papers will be pre-circulated and each student will be allocated a respondent from the invited faculty, who will provide both written comments and a short response during the session. The invited faculty this year are:

Invited Faculty:

David Rodin (ELAC, Oxford)

David R. Mapel (Political Science, UC Boulder)

Laura Valentini (Political Science, UCL)

Helen Frowe (Philosophy, Stockholm)

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (Politics, Aarhus)

Massimo Renzo (Philosophy, Warwick)

Those wishing to submit a paper should email it to helen.frowe@philosophy.su.se no later than 1st February 2014. Papers should be no longer than 10,000 words, excluding references, and should be suitable for blind-refereeing. Please include your name, email address and affiliation in the submitting email, along with a one page CV. You should also attach a letter from your supervisor or head of department confirming that as of the 1st of February 2014 you are registered as a graduate student or within six months of your viva, and confirming your year of study. Please do not include letters of reference or other supporting materials.

All enquiries should be sent to helen.frowe@philosophy.su.se.


Dr. Helen Frowe

Director, Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace

Wallenberg Academy Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Stockholm

Department of Philosophy

Stockholm University

SE - 10691 Stockholm, Sweden


Gendered military robots

At The Washington Post's Monkey Cage Erica Chenowith has an opinion piece complaining that current military robots appear too masculine and that in turn reinforces gender stereotypes.

While I think I have something uninteresting to say about this (along the lines that psychology and military necessity should decide how these things look and sound) I would be interested in comments from the public. What say you? Does it matter what these things look like? Does making robots look aggressive in a masculine way make them bad for society? Should we sacrifice some aggressive efficiency for social betterment? Is a masculine look really telling women that they don't have a place in an aggressive military? If we needed something to look aggressive and we made it aggressive looking and also female, would that reinforce another stereotype about military women? Does the fault not lie with society who still thinks that looking masculine is an insult when said to women?. . .

Any thoughts? 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Call for Papers: The Ethics of War in the 21st Century

I got this in an email:

Call for Papers: The Ethics of War in the 21st Century
Inaugural Conference of the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace
24 – 25 May 2014

Preceded by the Wallenberg Lecture on the Ethics of War and Peace, to be delivered by Prof. Jeff McMahan (Rutgers University) at Stockholm University, May 23rd 2014.
Invited Speakers:
Frances Kamm (Harvard)
Seth Lazar (ANU)
Gustaf Arrhenius (Stockholm)
Cheyney Ryan (Oregon and Oxford)
Christopher Heath Wellman (Washington University in St. Louis)
Special Panel on War and International Law
Adil Ahmad Haque (Rutgers)
François Tenguay-Renaud (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University)
Massimo Renzo (Warwick)

This conference marks the opening of the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, which is based in the Philosophy Department at Stockholm University. The Centre is funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and directed by Dr. Helen Frowe. The theme of the inaugural conference will be the Ethics of War in the 21st Century, with an emphasis on how just war theory has evolved since 9/11. The conference will be preceded by a public lecture by Professor Jeff McMahan.

It is intended that there be several sessions for submitted papers. Graduate students are especially encouraged to submit. Two graduate bursaries will be available for the best submitted papers by current graduate students. The bursaries will contribute up to 5000 SEK (about $750) towards travel, and cover meals, accommodation and conference registration.

Papers of no more than 5000 words (exc. references), suitable for a 30 minute presentation, should be submitted to helen.frowe@philosophy.su.se by the 1st of December 2013. Papers that exceed the word limit will not be accepted. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and be prepared for blind review - please include name, affiliation and contact details in the body of the email. Please also indicate in the submission email whether you would be willing to act as a respondent if your paper is not accepted for the conference. There are plans to put together a journal special issue from selected papers. Please indicate in your email whether you would like your paper considered for publication as part of this issue.

Please note that, excluding graduate bursaries, authors of submitted papers are responsible for all their own expenses.

Suggested paper topics include:
Theoretical approaches to just war theory, such as cosmopolitanism, reductivism, collectivism, and pacifism
Humanitarian intervention
Civil war and arming uprisings
Weapons and technology
Terrorism and just war theory
Legitimate authority
The moral status of non-state combatants
War and international law
Conscientious refusal
Preventive war, especially with respect to nuclear proliferation
Any enquiries should be emailed to helen.frowe@philosophy.su.se.

Fully-Funded PhD Position in the Ethics of War (Stockholm)

I got this in an email:

Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University

Fully-funded Doctoral Position in Practical Philosophy (Ref. No. SU FV-2582-13)

This is a four year, fully-funded PhD position attached to the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, which is funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and part of the Philosophy Department at Stockholm University. The successful applicant will undertake a PhD in Philosophy in a topic falling within the Centre’s remit of the ethics of war and peace. This could include (but is not limited to): humanitarian intervention, national-defence, theoretical approaches to war (such as pacifism or collectivism), terrorism, civil war, revolution, war crimes, crimes against humanity, issues within jus ad bellum and jus in bello, the moral status of combatants and non-combatants, war and technology, reconstruction and reconciliation, the notion of ‘just peace’, and legitimate authority. He or she will be co-supervised by Helen Frowe and a suitable member of staff from the Philosophy Department. More information about the Centre can be found here: http://helenfrowe.weebly.com/stockholm-centre.html

The expected starting salary is approx. 23 200 SEK/month (approx. 278 000 SEK / £26 800 / $42 500 / €32 000 a year). This is a pensionable position, subject to the favourable conditions of standard Swedish social benefits, such as paid parental leave. The holder of the position will be expected to conduct research in English. The employment as a Doctoral Student is for four years, with a possibility of prolongation due to special reasons, such as an absence from work due to illness, parental leave, etc. The start date is negotiable, but should be no later than October 2014. For more information and to apply, please visit the Philosophy Department webpage here:http://www.philosophy.su.se/english/about-us/fully-funded-doctoral-position-in-practical-philosophy-1.146680 . Enquiries should be directed to helen.frowe@philosophy.su.se .

The deadline for applications is the 15th of October, 2013. Stockholm University strives to be a work place that is free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Quick Thought on Chemical Weapons and "Red Lines"

A question going around the internet these days is "Why are chemical weapons a valid "red line" which we should take action on when the Assad regime crosses it?" (Not that I am yet convinced that Assad has used chemical weapons.) I want offer what I think the answer is to that question. I think there are a lot of poor answers being given and I have a theory as to why good thinkers are deliberately giving bad answers. I will start with what I think the answer is:

Using chemical weapons is seen as wrong because chemical weapons are indiscriminate and behave in such a way that whoever deploys them cannot even pretend that they are only targeting combatants. By nature, chemical weapons (like nuclear and biological weapons) cannot be used with precision. The negative judgments we make about the use of WMDs derive from the same intuition as our judgments about the discrimination consideration in jus in bello. The only difference, I think, is that here any talk about double effect sounds disingenuous because of the nature of the weapon. Therefore when someone employs chemical weapons they are knowingly and deliberately dropping all pretenses that they are only targeting combatants.

Once a combatant is no longer afraid to publicly admit that they are no longer playing by the traditional rules of just war, which they do by employing WMDs (or terror tactics), especially inside one's own borders in a civil war, other countries will rightly become antsy. The international community can no longer turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis under the guise that the only people who were being killed were combatants and collateral damage. The employment of WMDs strips outsiders of their pretext of neutrality. Without such ability to stay neutral, countries of good will cannot say that it is an internal matter that is no harming bystanders, nor can they pretend there will not be third-countries that will not be impacted or worry about being impacted. (It should also force the UN to act under the new R2P regime, but I am pretty sure we won't see that happening.)

Chemical weapons are also almost all used as offensive weapons, which adds another layer to our discomfort. Using an offensive weapons or taking offensive action requires considerably more legal and ethical justification than using defensive weapons or taking defensive action, again, especially in a civil war. Assad has articulated no such justification, nor does anyone think he can. Therefore the international community should rightly worry that Assad is disobeying the international norms of war, which, one might think, is an adequate reason to call it a "red line" which we could expect him not to cross without consequences.

(Some really bad reasons for thinking that chemical weapons should be "red lines" are being offered, often just to dismiss them and "show" that after a bit of thinking there is no justification for taking chemical weapons to be particularly repugnant (the Talking Philosophy blog is particularly bad in this sense). Such silly answers as the reductio ad Hitlerum (Hitler used gas so it is bad) are rightly dismissed. But rarely do we see good reasons adequately discussed. This is the most disingenuous kind of philosophy. The argument is supposed to be: The best reasons don't hold, therefore there is no argument. This is a bad argument because we have no guarantee that we have just heard the only reasons or the best of them. In fact we heard bad ones.)  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Articles on Drones

Mark Bowden (of Black Hawk Down fame) on drones, in The Atlantic.
The Israel Defense Forces on one way they use drones

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Call for papers

Editor-in-Chief: Rocci Luppicini, University of Otttawa, Canada
Published: Quarterly (both in Print and Electronic form)
Submission deadline extended to September 1, 2013

Special Issue on Technoethics and New Military Technologies
Guest Editor: Marcus Schulzke, State University of New York at Albany

New military technologies are transforming warfare, allowing wars to be
fought at longer distances, with greater asymmetries of risk, and at higher
speeds than ever before. Some of these technologies seem to mark radical new
directions in the way wars are fought by upsetting traditional military
roles and introducing entirely new domains of conflict. Emerging
technologies of war create many pressing ethical challenges, which call for
a serious examination of these technologies and a reexamination of existing
standards for determining the justice and morality during war.

Many of the ethical challenges associated with new military technologies
arise from how these technologies are designed. Some devices or techniques
may seem to be intrinsically unethical or intrinsically better suited to
waging just wars. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other remote weapons
allow their operators to carry out attacks from thousands of miles away,
raising the question of whether these machines are essentially unjust or
whether their power to carry out discriminate attacks makes their use
ethically obligatory. Nonlethal weapons, cyberweapons, and nanoweapons
likewise create new problems for determining what weapons can have an
ethical use in war. Other challenges arise from how new military
technologies are employed. Technological asymmetries that give some
militaries substantial advantages over less developed opponents raise
questions about fairness between combatants and whether risk asymmetry can
be so extreme that it hinders ethical conduct. The use of advanced weapons
complicate ongoing debates about just war theory and military ethics, such
as the debate over the morality of targeted killing, by changing the way
attacks are carried out. Finally, new military technologies test the
adequacy of the moral and legal concepts that are used to make normative
sense of war. For example, new technologies and the techniques associate
with their use strain conventional standards of determining combatant and
noncombatant status by leading military personnel and civilians to play
novel roles.

This special issue of the International Journal of Technoethics on
“Technoethics and New Military Technologies” aims at exploring the many
ethical issues surrounding the design and use of the many new technologies
used to wage wars. Topics may include, but are not limited to, ethical
issues relating to:

•       Unmanned weapon systems/drones
•       Remote weapons
•       Technological asymmetries during war
•       Cyberweapons
•       Military nanotechnology
•       Electronic surveillance
•       Nonlethal weapons
•       Semi-autonomous and autonomous military robots
•       Military communications systems
•       Digital targeting systems
•       Techniques of employing new technologies
•       Targeted killing using drones and other remote weapons
•       Civil-military cooperation in developing weapons
•       Reassessing the just war tradition in light of technological developments

Submitting to the International Journal of Technoethics:
Prospective authors should note that only original and previously
unpublished articles will be considered. Interested authors must consult the
journal’s guidelines for manuscript submissions prior to submission
(www.igi-global.com/ijt). All article submissions will be forwarded to at
least 2 reviewers. Final decision regarding acceptance/revision/rejection
will be based on the reviews received from the reviewers. Each research
paper should be between 5,500 to 8,000 words in length.

All inquiries and submissions should be should be directed to:

Marcus Schulzke
Project on Violent Conflict
Department of Political Science
State University of New York at Albany
Email: MSchulzke@albany.edu

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Military ethics literature

Philosophy Compass has a survey article by James Pattison (who has written a book on the same topic) on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) paradigm of humanitarian intervention.

David B. Resnik reviews John Forge's Designed to Kill: The case against weapons research.   

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Call for papers: Ethics of Cyber Conflict

Time: November 2013
Place: Rome, Italy
Participation fee: none
In the age of the so-called information revolution, the ability to control, disrupt or manipulate the enemy’s information infrastructure has become as decisive as weapon superiority with respect to determining the outcome of conflicts. So much so that Pentagon’s definition of cyberspace as a new domain in which war is waged, alongside land, sea, air and space, comes as no surprise.
The deployment of cyber conflicts as part of a state’s defensive or offensive strategy is a fast growing phenomenon, which is rapidly changing the dynamics of combat as well as the role that warfare plays in political negotiations and the life of civil societies. Such changes are not the exclusive concern of the military, for they also have a bearing on ethicists and policymakers, since existing ethical theories of war, together with national and international regulations, struggle to address the novelties of this phenomenon. 
The issue could not be more pressing and there is a much felt and fast escalating need to share information and coordinate ethical theorising about cyber conflicts. Contributions to the workshop will address issues concerning the way ICTs are affecting our ethical views of conflicts and warfare, as well as the analysis of just-war principles in the light of the dissemination of cyber conflicts; humanitarian military interventions based on ICTs; whether preventive acts of cyber war may satisfy jus-ad-bellum criteria; challenges of upholding jus-in-bello standards in cyber warfare, especially in asymmetric conflicts; attribution and proportionality of the response to cyber attacks; moral permissibility of automated responses and ethical deployment of military robotic weapons.
The workshop will be a two-day event organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and chaired by Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. The event will gather ethicists, experts in military studies, policymakers and experts in cyber security to discuss the ethical problems caused by cyber conflicts.
Submission of Papers:
Authors are required to submit an extended abstract of the planned paper which should describe the topic and set out the main aspects and structure of the research (up to 1000 words). Following a preliminary review and acceptance of the abstract, the authors will be requested to submit the full paper that meets high academic research, which will be considered for a publication in an international peer-reviewed journal.
Speakers will be offered travel, transfer from,and to the airport, accommodation for the duration of the event. 
Submission details, author guidance and other practical information will be made available on the Centre’s website latest by August 2013.
Important DatesExtended abstracts (1000 words): 9 September 2013
Notification of acceptance: 30 September 2013
Full paper: 07 November 2013
Registration is required for this event, please contact events -at- ccdcoe.org
For enquiries about the workshop, please contact Lt Ludovica Glorioso (ludovica.glorioso -at- ccdcoe.org) or Anna-Maria Talihärm (anna-maria.taliharm -at- ccdcoe.org)

Call for papers: The ethics of war in the 21st century

The Ethics of War in the 21st Century
Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace
May 24 - 25, 2014

Preceded by the inaugural Public Lecture on the Ethics of War and Peace
Professor Jeff McMahan
May 23rd 2014

Conference Keynote Speakers:
Frances M. Kamm (Harvard)
Seth Lazar (ANU)
Gustaf Arrhenius (Stockholm)
Cheyney Ryan (Oxford and Oregon)
Christopher Heath Wellman (Washington University in St. Louis)

Special Panel on War and International Law
Adil Ahmad Haque (Rutgers)
Massimo Renzo (Warwick)
François Tanguay-Renaud (Osgoode Hall law School, York University)

This conference will mark the opening of the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, which is based in the Philosophy Department at Stockholm University and funded by the Wallenberg Foundation.  The theme of the inaugural conference will be the Ethics of War in the 21st Century, with an emphasis on how just war theory has evolved since 9/11.  The conference will be preceded by a public lecture by Professor Jeff McMahan. 

It is intended that there be several sessions for submitted papers. Papers are welcome from scholars working in philosophy, law, political science, international relations and related fields.  Graduate students and recent PhDs are especially encouraged to submit. Two graduate bursaries will be available for the best submitted papers by current graduate students. The bursaries will contribute up to 5000 SEK (about $750) towards travel, and cover meals, accommodation and conference registration.  Please indicate in your submission email if you wish to be considered for a bursary.

Papers of no more than 5000 words (exc. references), suitable for a 30 minute presentation, should be submitted tohelen.frowe@philosophy.su.se by the 1st of December 2013.   Papers that exceed the word limit will not be accepted. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.  Papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and be prepared for blind review - please include name, affiliation and contact details in the body of the email.  Please also indicate in the submission email whether you would be willing to act as a respondent if your paper is not accepted for the conference.  There are plans to put together a journal special issue from selected papers. Please indicate in your email whether you would like your paper considered for publication as part of this issue.

What's wrong with killer robots?

Conscious entities has a nice discussion. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Suarez on autonomous drones

On employing autonomous robots for war. TED talk by Sci-Fi novelist Daniel Suarez here

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Routledge articles on Nuclear Warfare

. . . free access till the end of the year: here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

forthcoming papers on military ethics

Two forthcoming papers on military ethics from the journal Criminal Law and Philosophy (the first looks particularly interesting): Youngjae Lee: "Military veterans, culpability, and blame" and Adil Ahmed Haque: "Law and morality at war."  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fabre's review of Kam

Cecile Fabre reviews F. M. Kam's The Moral Target: Aiming at Right Conduct in War and Other Conflicts in NDPR

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lukewarm war?

We all know what a cold war is, a war that is ongoing, but not fought kinetically by combatants. A hot war is a war that is fought kinetically by combatants. Apparently there are warm wars too, which involve both sides mobilizing forces, but not actually engaging in battle.

Is there a term for a war that is fought completely by machines with massive losses of machinery, technology  and weapons systems, but has no human casualties or impact on the lives of civilians? Imagine a war for example where two countries sent their entire fleet of weapons on autonomous, semi-autonomous, or remote controlled weapons systems into the lower reaches of the Earth's atmosphere. There and a massive war was fought and the end of which the losing country was essentially left without any weapons or ability to defend their borders. They used up all their firepower. Or more realistically, they both sent their weapons on wheeled vehicles where a war was fought (like a robot war) at the end of which the losing side had no defenses on its border. The winning side marched in and declared that they were now in control of the loser's territory.

Presumably this is not a kind of war that only exists in the science fiction of the distant future or of a galaxy long long ago and far far away. There have been movies made about this scenario. But are there any relevant ethical questions? For one, I would think, there are no more concerns of jus in bello. After all if we are only breaking each others' toys, there are hardly bad ways to fight. But are the jus ad bellum issues different?

I suppose the question I am asking is what happens to military ethics when it is separated from the ethics of killing entirely. Is this William James' dream of The Moral Equivalent of War come true? Is this war? Is this the future of war?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A small gripe

Michael Howard, I am sure is a competent person, who writes competent books. His review here struck me as eminently competent too. But in his first paragraph he refers to an "enlisted cadet." What the heck is an enlisted cadet? I think I know what he means, but now I am also pretty sure he has little experience with actual enlisted people or actual cadets. (I know, technically, there are a few enlisted cadets, i.e. cadets who happen to be enlisted already, but they are special cases, and I am sure Howard doesn't get this.)

These mistakes are telling. They say that the historians, philosophers, political scientists, and others who are tasked with understanding all sorts of things about the military do poor jobs. Moreover, they subtly reinforce the beliefs of people who do understand the inner workings of the military that military scholars are too removed from the military to be saying anything useful to them.  

So scholars: Get your facts straight before you write about some topic. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Drone warfare in NYRB

Story here. The article is about the rationale and justification for their [widespread] use. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Steinhoff reviews Fabre on Cosmopolitan War

Uwe Steinhoff reviews Cecile Fabre's Cosmopolitan War for NDPR. 

Drone Warfare - Surgical and decisive?

William J. Astore in The Nation on drone warfare.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

David O'Hara And John Kaag in CHE on drone warfare

I am kind of getting bored with mediocre op-eds in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the evils of drone war. Yesterday's particularly so. Kaag, who wrote an op-ed that I didn't quite grasp last time wrote another one, this time with someone who dabbles in classical studies (who should should know better than to give us a simplistic and incomplete version of ancient history to mislead and make a contemporary point). Again, it is behind a paywall so I will do some summarizing.

Pardon my tone, but I really do not see why the CHE finds this topic so interesting, and if it does, it could find better pieces.

 The argument is as follows:
1) Persians had and threatened to use projectile weapons.
2) The Spartans thought projectile weapons were cowardly.
3) Some Pope banned projectile weapons for some reason.
4) Some character in a Graham Greene felt guilty about the fact that he had to drop napalm only while out of range of small arms fire.
5) The authors then lament the fact that the US is is more like the cowardly Persians and not like the Spartans because drones let us fight with minimal risk to our combatants.
6) But Spartan self-abnegation is fanaticism.
7) Ultimately the Persians lost because their perceived cowardice was taken as weakness.
8) Therefore we must make sure that our enemies don't think we are weak.

The upshot, dear reader, is that drones are bad because our enemy will think that our ability to hit him without risk to ourselves is a sign of cowardice. And the Greeks won because they were able to see the Persians as cowards.

This is a poor argument. (2)-(4) is rhetorical fluff because (2) the Spartans' great intellectual legacy was . . . um. . . well. . . some phrase about how important it was to die in combat, so who cares what they thought, (3) while he was a competent novelist, who cares what Graham Greene Greene said about ethics; and (3) who cares what some medieval pope thought about weapons, I'd bet few readers of the CHE do.

(5) is the important part, as it suggests that drone warfare will be bad for the US. Together with (6) it jointly rules out war altogether, as they insist that we should not use drones and also not use more up-close-and-personal weapons. (In an ideal world we'd all agree with this, but we don't live in such a world.)

(7) is a matter of historical interpretation, which looks like it is supposed to justify (5), but is wrong in two ways. First, there is no reason to believe that the Persians lost because their perceived cowardice was taken as weakness. It is just as plausible to say that they lost because the Greek armies were fighting on their own territory and defending their homeland against an enemy who might have been somewhat militarily superior, but was not linguistically or ethnically homogeneous, were not fighting for a cause they believed in, nor do we think they even wanted to fight. The Persians were fighting for minor tribute from an additional colony; the Greeks were avoiding what they thought would be slavery. The Persians lost because they had little reason or incentive to keep fighting. The Greeks won because they had to.

(7) is also wrong because  although the Greeks won the Persian war, the Persians won the Peloponnesian war right after.  Meaning that when the Athenians and Spartans a generation later fought a civil war, at the end the Persians were the real power in the region, brokering the truce between the warring factions. So they lost the war but ended up being the hegemon anyway.

So the lesson we can learn is that even if your enemies think you are weak and "coerce" you into giving up the fight, that doesn't mean you've lost. It just means that you'll get what you want when the people who were fighting against you get finished killing each other. And as long as the authors are drawing parallels to the Middle East, I think there are some valuable lessons they miss.

And beside, despite the fact that people love to do it (see eg my reviews here and here) who thinks that one can draw a neat analogy from ancient Greece (either Sparta or Athens, depending on which fits your agenda better) or Perisa to the US? There is no compelling evidence that any analogy will hold up.

As long as we are on the subject of ancient history, I'd ask the authors to keep in mind the following line that has long been misattributed to Thucydides: "A nation that makes a strong distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools."

The US will send soldiers into combat when the president decides it will. Only a "scholar" whose sense of war comes from armchair philosophizing or reading Thucydides, that "father of lies," could talk with a straight face about how important it is to make sure your battles come with lots of risk to your soldiers. Only a scholar who has never had to wrestle with the decision to send men and women into harm's way and never had to make a life and death decision of this sort can be so caviler about human life. And only scholars with such contempt for their fellow citizens can wonder why their government is making it harder for some of them to die.