The tragedy of violent justice: The danger of Elshtain's Just War Against Terror

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Abstract

In Just War Against Terror Elshtain articulates emotions whilst ridiculing others who allegedly privilege emotion over reason. This critique focuses on her use of the notion of 'tragedy'. Distinctions are crucial to Elshtain's argument, especially that between combatants and civilians; they are based on the significance of intention. Elshtain seems uneasy, however, about a particular consequence of waging war: civilian deaths. She seeks refuge in the notion of tragedy to characterise them; this reveals the complexity of the question of responsibility, which she does not, however, seriously engage. As a result, Elshtain's reasoning ends up implying a well-meaning but violent imperialism. © 2007 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-501
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Relations
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Imperialism
  • Just war
  • Responsibility
  • Tragedy
  • Violence
  • War against terror

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