The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 18, 1998

Martin L. Cook
Pages 199-219

Applied Just War Theory
Moral Implications of New Weapons for Air War

More than any other dimension of modern war, strategic use of air power has systematically violated the moral principle of non-combatant immunity to direct military attack that lies at the heart of the idea of just war. This paper will argue that new air weapons and tactics, such as those used in the Gulf War, mark a real change in that moral reality of war. Further, the paper explores directions in which weapons procurement, tactics, and military doctrine should continue to evolve if the military forces of the United States are to continue to improve their capabilities to conduct stragetic bombing campaigns in future wars within the limits of just war.