Just War Theory and Counterterrorism

Authored by: Seumas Miller

Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415539340
eBook ISBN: 9780203107164
Adobe ISBN: 9781136261008


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This chapter is concerned with the application of just war theory (hereafter JWT) to a species of armed conflict, namely armed conflict between liberal democratic states and terrorist groups. Historically, such armed conflicts have involved the use on the part of such states of morally problematic strategies to combat terrorism, notably indefinite detention, targeted killing and torture. In the context of the application of a normative theory of armed conflict (JWT), the most salient of these counter-terrorism strategies is targeted killing. At any rate, my principal focus in this chapter will be on the implications of JWT for liberal democratic states engaged in armed conflict with terrorist organizations and, more specifically, in the targeted killing of terrorists.

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