Moral Force in Wars – English versionDavid Betz & Charles Betz
War always provokes some moral consternation. It would be strange if it did otherwise. Nearly all humans are moral beings burdened by conscience and not amoral psychopaths, after all. Few people can observe the suffering that war causes without pity and misgiving. ‘Is it worth it?’ is one of the most common questions people ask of any given war in which their country is involved. This no doubt reflects a basic apprehension that war ought to be just. God commanded ‘thou shalt not murder’ but war is all about the deliberate killing of enemies, even at the cost of the lives of innocents.
There is an obviously apparent moral tension or contradiction. As it happens, over the centuries since St Augustine first struggled with the question of when and under what circumstances it is justified to go to war, theologians (notably Thomas Aquinas) and philosophers (especially Hugo Grotius) have unravelled the conundrum sufficiently well for Christianity to have been a very successful martial religion for most of its history.
There are well-developed moral frameworks for judging the justness of the initiation and conduct of war. To be just a war must be authorised by a competent authority, have a just cause, be pursued with the right intention as a last resort and its expected harm must be proportional to the good to be achieved. These are the principles of Jus ad bellum. In the conduct of the war, moreover, harm caused by combat must not exceed that which is militarily necessary, and non-combatants may not be targeted. These are the principles of Jus in belloSee David Fisher, Morality and War: Can War be Just in the 21st Century?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011, chap. 4..
Sadly, there are many Western wars of recent memory which are objectively more than ambiguously or equivocally moral according to the doctrine of Jus ad bellum. Indeed, nearly all Western wars for a generation have arisen out of the needs of domestic political theatre, primarily out of the impulse that ‘something must be done’ about some perceived foreign horror or hypothesised threat—whether that something is useful or sustainable or notThis is the dated but continuingly provocatively valid idea behind Edward Luttwak’s famous essay, ‘Give War a Chance’, Foreign Affairs (July/August 1999).. At best these are wars of good intentions if ill thought through; at worst they are neo-imperial adventures pregnant with double intent concealed by a veneer of moral humanitarianism.
Likewise, although Western armies have sought very visibly to exercise force cautiously avoiding the targeting of non-combatants as much as possible, the same cannot be said uniformly of the regimes with whom they have allied, which are hardly less corrupt, indiscriminately violent, and illegitimate than those against which foreign intervention was conceived in the first place. Moreover, it can hardly be said with much confidence that the ‘Forever War’, into which the once-called Global War on Terror has mutated, has produced more good than harm let alone that it is on track towards a just peaceSee Dexter Filkins, The Forever War, New York, Vintage, 2009..
In short, there are plenty of signs that something has gone seriously wrong. Firstly, we argue that the West’s ‘way of war’ has become punctured by hypocrisy which is evident not only to the people against and amongst whom it fights but increasingly to its own soldiers and people. This causes moral injuries both individually and collectively that are manifestly severe. Secondly, society as currently configured is ill-equipped to heal such wounds or seemingly even to cease injuring itself. As a result, the West’s reservoir of moral force is in precipitate decline as in consequence are its strategic fortunes. Thirdly, certain existing highly plausible future technological developments look set to make the situation even worse by altering in its nature how war is experienced by some combatants. Fourthly, in conclusion, efforts to restrain war, to employ this tool of policy rarely, only when it is demonstrably morally correct are essential to restoring civilisational health.
‘In war the moral is to the physical as three to one’, Napoleon remarked in a letter written 27 August 1808 to his brother Joseph, whom Bonaparte had recently installed as king of Spain. We have it, therefore, on good authority that there is such a thing as ‘moral force’ in war. Indeed, it is not merely a powerful quality for an army it is the most powerful. In this case he was referring to the idea that soldiers possessed of moral force—courage and conviction or martial ardour—would be stronger in battle, more willing to kill and to die, less prone to give up. The literature on moral force as an ingredient of combat power usually refers to this effect as ‘cohesion’ or ‘interpersonal motivation’ and it is primarily focused on the performance battlefield tactics and small groupsSee S.L.A. Marshall, Men Against Fire, Norman, OK, University of Oklahoma Press, 2000..
Generally, the discussion of this quality is unconcerned with the larger cause of whatever the war at hand is because studies of soldiers’ actions and attitudes in combat have tended to show that they hardly ever invoke them as importantIbid. See also, Robert Spiller, ‘S.L.A. Marshall and the Ratio of Fire’, RUSI Journal (December 1988).. The reasons that soldiers give to explain why they chose, in the moment, to fight on, rather than surrender, or to shoot to kill, rather than to aim away nearly always concern the immediate necessity not to let down one’s comrades, to dishonour the primary group, or to be seen to fail as a man. In other words, where the bullets and bomb fragments are flying closest and thickest soldiers seem ultimately to fight for their buddies, to protect them, and to not lose face by showing cowardice in front of them. To some extent, this quality of cohesion would seem to be independent of the political objective of the war. The Germany army of World War II, a particularly common example, had very high cohesion right up to the end of the war.
It is unsurprising that faced with the immediate dangers of combat the thought processes of individual soldiers and small groups are distant from abstruse matters of politics. The question of combat motivation, however, cannot easily be separated from ideology, broadly defined, often overt but sometimes latent, which seems to act as a background factor binding the allegiance of soldiers to larger societal goals and structuring their calculations of willingness to exert themselves under dangerous conditionsFor an authoritative discussion of the matter see Anthony King, The Combat Soldier: Infantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, … Continue reading.
The traditional way in which such ideological appeals are made is to invoke such things as the motherland, patrimony, and God. There are many examples, but a famous one which hits all the rhetorical ‘buttons’ very simply and clearly is the battle cry ‘For God, King, and Country’, a formulation employed to great effect by both the British and German armies of World War One. The English poet Rupert Brooke, who died of septicaemia on the French hospital ship Duguay-Trouin while on his way to the Gallipoli landings in April 1915, very memorably captured the cultural mood which underpinned this ideal in his famous sonnet ‘The Soldier’.
"If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England[…]
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heavenRupert Brooke, ‘The Soldier, The Poetry Society, https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/the-soldier/.."
Today, such lines have a distinctly antique quality. European views of the sacredness of military sacrifice – underlined by the common etymology of the words sacred and sacrifice, were enduringly reshaped by the human cost of the world wars. The acid sarcasm of Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ describing the fate of a gassed comrade resonates more with contemporary sensibility:
"If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori".
For the West now, being increasingly irreligious and deracinated, it is even more difficult to provide soldiers with the formerly potent symbolic and cultural means of explaining their own sacrifices. This is a known problem, going back at least as far as the Vietnam War. In that case, the inability of American soldiers to connect their actions on the battlefield to the preservation of worthwhile ideas back home created indiscipline, a morale crisis, a serious diminishment of combat power, and—ultimately—contributed to strategic defeat.
There is every reason, though, to consider that things have gotten worse. It is self-evident that in ‘wars of choice’ such as NATO’s Kosovo and Afghanistan interventions which has been the dominant form of Western military operation since the end of the Cold WarSee Lawrence Freedman, ‘On War and Choice’, The National Interest (May/June 2010), pp. 9-16. , that one cannot appeal to the most powerful moral narrative: the preservation of national existence; nor even, more often than not, is it possible to claim the pursuit of a vital national interest is at stake. Statesmen and commanders appeal must instead appeal to far less visceral causes. The so-called ‘responsibility to protect’ for instance, according to which principle it is argued that the international community may intervene in the internal affairs of other countries to prevent mass atrocity and certain human rights violations. Or the logic of the ‘Bush doctrine’ which supposes that the United States and its allies ought not wait to be attacked but move ‘proactively’ to disrupt and defeat terrorists and tyrants wheresoever they might be. In similar vein today it is argued that Russia must be defeated to preserve the ‘rules-based order’ of the international system.
Such rationalisations lack power because they possess a subjectivity that clearly raises questions about the right intent of the wars to which they are harnessed. The responsibility to protect is an ideal vehicle for rationalising regime change, such as the ouster of Libyan strongman Mohammad Qaddafi—an act which has benefited Libyans very little The supposed right of the United States to kill terrorists remotely wherever they might find them without permission of the local government is similarly imperial—it is certainly not a privilege extended to all countries. The rules-based order, for that matter, whatever its merits, are not universal, as is usually claimed, is a set of rules created by the West to suit its own particular tastes, interests, and ideals.
Moreover, it is not simply that the rest of the world is dubious of the moral rectitude of Western military intervention in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and so on and suspicious of the existence of hidden agendas. A similar feeling may be observed in a significant fraction of Western populations which perceives itself to be in the midst a culture combining political polarisation and intense scepticism of elites, and even those actively engaged in these wars where it is often expressed in a kind of weary cynicismSee Shadi Hamid, ‘The Forever Culture War’, The Atlantic, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/republicans-democrats-forever-culture-war/621184/ .
Consider, for instance the following description of the character of Camp Bastion, one of the most important NATO military facilities in Afghanistan where there was a large field hospital, by one of the military doctors stationed there:
"In a faraway land where the rains are dry and the trees blue and the air bittersweet, and where ants are like dogs and birdsong is not, there life goes for a song—everyone dies young. Safeguarding its sandy southern perimeter was, until recently, a coalition of The Free sandbagged in a ghetto the size of a small city. Camp Bastion was the hub in an operation designed to secure for others the freedoms they would have wished for themselves had they been less primitiveMark de Rond, Doctors at War: Life and Death in a Field Hospital, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 2017, p. xii.".
Whatever else this passage may represent it is certainly not one which reflects a mood of positive moral conviction. It drips instead with a knowing sarcasm which is sadly quite justified. An American correspondent, a military man involved currently in the writing of a report for the Pentagon on lessons learned in the Afghan war archly described it as ‘the-war-that-shall-not-be-named’Kyle Atwell, ‘The War That Shall not be Named’, Modern War Institute (23 January 2023), https://mwi.usma.edu/the-war-that-shall-not-be-named-lessons-from-afghanistan-for-the-army/. The ability of the political and high level defence establishment to turn from a war of twenty years duration costing hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives with a collective shrug is, too, a sign of moral decay.
We can observe the impact of the paucity of moral force in the contemporary Western way of war empirically in the prevalence of ‘moral injury’ in military veterans. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often conflated with moral injury but the two are different. The former is a medical condition caused by one or more experiences of extreme fear and stress. The latter can occur when a person engages in, fails to prevent, or witnesses acts that conflict with their values or beliefs. The injury can be compounded by perceptions of betrayal by leaders and of powerlessness. It would seem, therefore, a response to feelings of guilt and regret that persist over a long time.
A well-known example of this at a high level is the Canadian general Romeo Dallaire who commanded the United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. In addition to a particularly close observation of one of the largest modern genocides, against the outbreak of which he was powerless, Dallaire was close by during the torture and murder of Belgian peacekeepers, and serially let down by higher ups in his United Nations chain of commandSee Romeo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, London: Arrow, 2005. . The stress of all that produced in him a profound mental disturbance which culminated in an attempted suicide in 2000 that put him in a coma.
More recently, Major General John Cantwell, commander of Australian forces in Iraq (2006) and Afghanistan (2010), recounted these similarly poignant feelings in his memoirs:
"As I paid a final salute at the foot of yet another flag-draped coffin loaded into the belly of an aircraft bound for Australia, I found myself questioning if the pain and suffering of our soldiers and their families were worth it. I wondered if the deaths of any of those fallen soldiers made any difference. I recoiled from such thoughts, which seemed disrespectful, almost treasonous. I had to answer in the affirmative, or risk exposing all my endeavours as fraudulent. I had to believe it was worth it. But the question continues to prick at my mind. I don’t have an answerJohn Cantwell, Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror, Melbourne Melbourne University Press, 2012, p. 13.".
Cantwell’s struggle with the apparent contradiction between his perception of duty to his comrades-in-arms and the stated rationale of his purported mission was so extreme that his conscience eventually broke, requiring him to be admitted for a time to a mental hospital.
Moral injury is not a new thing. The ancient Greeks referred to it as ‘miasma’, meaning moral defilement or pollution, often resulting from unjust killing. In the Athenian tragedy The Madness of Herakles authored by Euripides, the eponymous hero speaks of it thus:
"What can I do? Where can I hide from all this and not be found? What wings would take me high enough? How deep a hole would I have to dig? My shame for the evil I have done consumes me… I am soaked in bloodguilt, polluted, contagious… I am a pollutant, an offense to gods above".
It may or may not be more prevalent now than before; studies on the matter are inconclusiveSee Robert Emmet Meager, Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War, Eugene, OR, Cascade Books, 2014.. What is not so much in debate is that in an increasingly secular society the moral frameworks once available for addressing the deep-seated and troubling thoughts of soldiers are ever harder to accessEdgar Jones, ‘Moral Injury in a Time of War’, The Lancet (5 May 2018)..
Killing and Technology
Another contemporary factor which is concerning from a moral perspective is the trend towards ever more remote warfare. At a very basic level, a primary way of rationalising killing in war that distinguishes it from murder is the mutual exposure of combatants to risk. More and more, though, killing in modern war is done from a very great distance beyond much comprehension by the target of the person pulling the trigger on them who might be thousands of miles away, let alone the possibility of any reply in kind.
Again, this is not a new problem per se because regular ranged weapons had this effect long ago. Twice in the Middle Ages, in 1097 by Pope Urban II and 1139 by Pope Innocent II, it was declared that the crossbow which could slice through metal armour was an unfit weapon to be used against Christians and therefore an offence punishable by excommunication. Neither moral injunction had much effect on practice though because in fact it was not a moral argument at all but an aesthetic and elitist one predicated on the objection of high-born and expensively trained knights to being slain by low-born and lightly trained peasants.
If it was not morally objectionable for an archer to kill a man from a distance far enough such that the archer was at no risk, it is hard to claim that modern weapons are any more objectionable because the distances are greater and the weapons more destructive. Ultimately, the point of war is not to engage in a fair fight. It is one of the basic aims of military strategy to create asymmetry and gain advantage over the enemy. Artillery has been shredding enemy infantry beyond the range of visibility for well over a century, while the high-altitude aerial bombardment of cities is likewise more than a hundred years oldEric Germain, “Out of sight, out of reach: moral issues in the globalization of the battlefield”, International Review of the Red Cross, N° 900, 2015, [en ligne] … Continue reading.
The difference today is an important one in kind, which is that on account of changes in information technology, specifically communications bandwidth and camera resolution remote warfare is simultaneously more remote and more intimate.
Consider the combat experience of a long-range drone operator today whose actual place of work might be thousands of miles away from the war. Because of the advanced communications and video technology used with such systems, he or she will have a paradoxically intimate experience of battle despite the physical distance from it. High-resolution cameras zoom in on the battle with more than enough granularity to identify individuals. Thermal imagers show with grisly clarity the shattered, splattered slowly cooling remains of those killed. Real-time radio communications with allies on the ground may connect them auditorily with the tensions of battle, including the injury and death of comrades.
At the end of their shift, though, the operator hands off the engagement to someone else and goes home, ensconced back in ‘normal’ civilian life for some hours until the next shift in which they may well be involved in a different combat, somewhere else against other enemies with different allies. The cycling between the worlds of war and of peace is not just abrupt, it is continuous, because whereas a soldier in the field would experience contact with the enemy rarely, across the entire theatre of operations for which a drone operator is responsible contacts might be dailySee John Kaag and Sarah Kreps, Drone Warfare, Cambridge, Polity, 2014, chap. 5. .
The situation is invested with a degree of pathos that would be easy to over-dramatize. When it comes down to it drone operators are soldiers performing their professional duty and, moreover, typically under the scrutiny of multiple layers of command including occasionally highly intrusive oversight by military lawyers. However, as Amnesty International has observed of one 5-month period of American drone operations in Afghanistan in 2013, 90 per cent of those killed were unintended targets. That is a lot of very graphic death to carry on one’s conscience‘US Deadly Drone Strikes’, Amnesty International (18 May 2020), https://www.amnesty.org.uk/thank-you-us-deadly-drones . In other words, the paradigmatic form of the use of force war in this ‘information age’ has the tendency to strip out the exposure to mutual risk, the time-honoured rationalisation of killing in war, while increasing the frequency and granularity of the experience of killing for an increasing fraction of ‘warriors’ who will know, ultimately, that many of those whom they destroyed were innocent. It is something as like Zeus smiting humans from Mount Olympus with thunderbolts but without the moral imperviousness of being a god.
Two other areas of plausible technological development are worthy of mention. One is the potential of some strategic employment of artificial intelligence at the tactical and strategic levels of warfare. To put it simply, from a moral perspective in war it is extremely important to know whom one is killing and why because without those things it is practically impossible to calculate an informed opinion on the matters of military necessity and proportionality that are fundamental to Jus in bello. Here, though, we face the problem that the thinking processes of artificial intelligence are quite opaque. When it comes down to it a just war requires the utmost discernment you must know who you are killing. We might at some point, though, be faced with a situation in which the computer says that killing a person is imperative but not be able to explain how it has come to that calculation.
Again, this is not a strictly new problem. During the Vietnam War American efforts to interdict communist supply lines included the programme known as ‘Igloo White’ which entailed the wiring of jungles with ground-based seismic and acoustic sensors designed to alert strike aircraft to the movement of the hidden enemy beneath the canopy of leaves The intention, in the words of Senator Mike Gravel, one of the most appalled political opponents of the war, was ‘to turn the land of Vietnam into an automated murder machine’See Derek Gregory, ‘Lines of Descent’, in Peter Adey, Mark Whitehead, and Alison J. Williams, (eds.), From Above: War, Violence, and Verticality (London: Hurst, 2013), p. 55. . This is the origin of the term ‘signature strike’, which refers to a military attack initiated essentially on an algorithmic calculation of the likely presence of a legitimately targetable object as opposed to the actual observation of the thing.
The roboticization of warfare need not by definition be immoral. Indeed, lacking fear or remorse, the instinct for self-preservation or the tendency to derangement that affects humans whose stock of equanimity and courage is inevitably exhausted by combat, machines might well be far more resolute rule followers. On the other hand, lacking human conscience a machine might prove to be the perfect genocidaire. Ultimately, it comes down to how an automated weapon system has been programmed, which simply shifts moral responsibility for the actions taken by the program back to the humans who created it.
Another technology that has the potential to alter the fundamentally human face of war is pharmaceutical. Drugs such as propranolol which alter the way in which traumatic memories are attached to people’s psyche have already been developedJoanna Bourke, ‘Propranolol and the Politics of Forgetting Rape’, SH+ME (17 March 2020), https://shame.bbk.ac.uk/blog/propranolol-and-the-politics-of-forgetting-rape/. Initially supposed as being a medical aid to rape victims, such drugs do not eliminate the memory of violent assault upon a person’s dignity but, rather, have the effect of sectioning it away from the parts of the brain that record the event as having been traumatic. It is as though a terrible thing has undeniably happened to someone, however instead of tearing apart the victim’s personality it is mentally filed away as an event of little psychological consequence. In effect, it is a moral anaesthetic that does not take pain away so much as it produces the effect of not caring about it so much. Given the known danger of the inevitability of moral injury given exposure to the violence of war, it is perfectly possible to construct an ethical argument for the sedating of the conscience of soldiers. After all, we prescribe prophylactics against malaria and tetanus and many other apparent threats to the health of military people so why not inoculate them against regret and guilt?
In other words, we may well be as right to fear the machinification of humans as we are to fear the humanification of machines. It is hard to judge the long-term consequences of these developments. The character of war is constantly changing as the societies from which it emerges change. It has no teleological direction. It is as wont to go ‘backward’ toward some recognisably older form as to go ‘forward’ toward some unrecognisably new one; often it mutates into some combination of old and new. On the other hand, the advent of certain technologies like Artificial Intelligence as well as pharmacological and other means of altering human perception may well change war in its nature. To this point in history war has been the quintessentially human thing—fought by humans for human reasons at the cost of humans morally and physically. Should that change, it would be profound and far-reaching.
For centuries, humans have struggled with the question of whether the moral codes that they feel apply to all other conduct apply during war. Perhaps there is no place for morality in war? Carl Von Clausewitz, the Prussian philosopher of war, remarked that the worst mistakes in war were caused by the well-intentioned interference of peace-minded people. One might, therefore, argue that having gone to war in the first place is to have crossed a threshold into a different moral universe in which winning as quickly as possible minimising the duration of suffering before the achievement of one’s objective is the predominant imperative. This might be described as the realist perspective. On the other hand, pacifists might decry just war thinking as simply an attempt to recover war from an abyssal well of immorality. We take the view that moral standards must be maintained in all aspects of human life including war otherwise we risk undermining our ideal of civilisation .
So how do we proceed?
Just war thought has traditionally attempted to provide guidelines as to when war is morally justified and in what way it can be fought. In the modern day this is evident in international bodies like the United Nations that attempt, rather inefficiently it must be admitted, to regulate how and why nations fight one another. The effort, though, is worthwhile and ought not be abandoned. Our age is one that has seemingly dispensed with religious arguments for consistent and good moral conduct. This is not only injurious to our soldiers but strategically debilitating and corrosive of cultural health. It is not obvious how we might go back to the status quo ante which means that a secular argument for consistent moral conduct is necessary. We cannot expect to find one if public affairs are detached from moral philosophy and from its religious references. Just war principles, if rigorously formulated, are attractive as they stand in opposition to the moral relativism that is the default position in politics. It is a reassertion that there are moral facts and that they should be binding imperatives that stands against the moral relativism that dominates political and diplomatic spheres in the present time.
|↑1||See David Fisher, Morality and War: Can War be Just in the 21st Century?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011, chap. 4.|
|↑2||This is the dated but continuingly provocatively valid idea behind Edward Luttwak’s famous essay, ‘Give War a Chance’, Foreign Affairs (July/August 1999).|
|↑3||See Dexter Filkins, The Forever War, New York, Vintage, 2009.|
|↑4||See S.L.A. Marshall, Men Against Fire, Norman, OK, University of Oklahoma Press, 2000.|
|↑5||Ibid. See also, Robert Spiller, ‘S.L.A. Marshall and the Ratio of Fire’, RUSI Journal (December 1988).|
|↑6||For an authoritative discussion of the matter see Anthony King, The Combat Soldier: Infantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, chaps 3 and 4.|
|↑7||Rupert Brooke, ‘The Soldier, The Poetry Society, https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/the-soldier/.|
|↑8||See Lawrence Freedman, ‘On War and Choice’, The National Interest (May/June 2010), pp. 9-16.|
|↑9||See Shadi Hamid, ‘The Forever Culture War’, The Atlantic, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/republicans-democrats-forever-culture-war/621184/|
|↑10||Mark de Rond, Doctors at War: Life and Death in a Field Hospital, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 2017, p. xii.|
|↑11||Kyle Atwell, ‘The War That Shall not be Named’, Modern War Institute (23 January 2023), https://mwi.usma.edu/the-war-that-shall-not-be-named-lessons-from-afghanistan-for-the-army/|
|↑12||See Romeo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, London: Arrow, 2005.|
|↑13||John Cantwell, Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror, Melbourne Melbourne University Press, 2012, p. 13.|
|↑14||See Robert Emmet Meager, Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War, Eugene, OR, Cascade Books, 2014.|
|↑15||Edgar Jones, ‘Moral Injury in a Time of War’, The Lancet (5 May 2018).|
|↑16||Eric Germain, “Out of sight, out of reach: moral issues in the globalization of the battlefield”, International Review of the Red Cross, N° 900, 2015, [en ligne] https://www.icrc.org/en/international-review/article/out-sight-out-reach-moral-issues-globalization-battlefield|
|↑17||See John Kaag and Sarah Kreps, Drone Warfare, Cambridge, Polity, 2014, chap. 5.|
|↑18||‘US Deadly Drone Strikes’, Amnesty International (18 May 2020), https://www.amnesty.org.uk/thank-you-us-deadly-drones|
|↑19||See Derek Gregory, ‘Lines of Descent’, in Peter Adey, Mark Whitehead, and Alison J. Williams, (eds.), From Above: War, Violence, and Verticality (London: Hurst, 2013), p. 55.|
|↑20||Joanna Bourke, ‘Propranolol and the Politics of Forgetting Rape’, SH+ME (17 March 2020), https://shame.bbk.ac.uk/blog/propranolol-and-the-politics-of-forgetting-rape/|
David Betz & Charles Betz, "Moral Force in Wars – English version". Bulletin de l'Observatoire international du religieux N°41 [en ligne], janvier 2023. https://obsreligion.cnrs.fr/bulletin/moral-force-in-wars-english-version/
David Betz, Professor of War in the Modern World in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London
Charles Betz, Student in philosophy, University of Cambridge