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NEW BOOK AT BIDDLE: Justifying war? : from humanitarian intervention to counterterrorism

October 14, 2009


NEW BOOK AT BIDDLE: Justifying war? : from humanitarian intervention to counterterrorism / edited by Gilles Andréani and Pierre Hassner ; translated by John Hulsey … [et al.]. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.  JZ6392 .J88 2008

This June 6th (2009) was the 65th anniversary of D-Day.  There were large ceremonies in Normandy and at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC.  It was moving to see the Normandy Veterans at the ceremony, and it was even more moving to hear some of their stories.  As a Vietnam Veteran, I can easily identify with 18-year-olds away from home, fighting in a war zone.   The ceremony makes me identify with our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this is what draws me to books like Justifying war? : from humanitarian intervention to counterterrorism.  This book is based on multinational and multidisciplinary dialogues among academics, diplomats, and practitioners, discussing the moral, legal, and political dilemmas raised by the use of force in today’s world.
Justifying war? asks: What are the lessons of the recent military interventions, from Kosovo to Iraq?  This book raises the question of whether recent wars, such as the Iraq war, are really justified human interventions and counter-terrorism acts, or is a “just war” really a euphemism to justify military intervention? 
At Normandy the objective was to stop the Nazi terrorism moving across Europe.  The “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan are supposed to be wars against the terrorism of today.  But Justifying war? discusses the choices that we do and do not make in interventions.   This book also discusses the beliefs and tradeoffs behind these decisions.  It made me wonder as I read the book while watching the ceremonies at Normandy:  What war will we be waging 65 years from now?