Although America has waged two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, in as many years, the threats to our security persist. We face many more years of continuing military strife in the Middle East and elsewhere. Our military is awesomely powerful, but the moral guidance it receives from Washington is shockingly meek. What moral principles should guide a nation in war?
In this lecture Dr. Brook explains and evaluates the dominant views on the morality of fighting a war. Questions to be addressed include: When is it morally proper and necessary to wage war? What should be the goal of a war? Under what conditions is it proper to strike preemptively? Is the military morally obliged to spare civilian lives? What treatment do prisoners of war deserve? Should war be fought for the sake of humanitarian ends? Under what conditions, if any, is it morally proper to use biological, chemical or nuclear weapons? (Recorded September 9, 2004.)