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Just War Against Terror: The Burden Of American Power In A Violent World

2.81  ·  Rating Details ·  74 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Jean Bethke Elshtain advocates "just war" in times of crisis and mounts a reasoned attack against the anti-war contingent in American intellectual life. Advocating an ethic of responsibility, Elshtain forces us to ask tough questions not only about the nature of terrorism, but about ourselves. This paperback edition features a new introduction by the author, addressing the ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 4th 2004 by Basic Books (first published 2003)
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Apr 06, 2016 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

Elshtain uses Christian theories of just war to defend the U.S. war in Afghanistan: St. Augustine, Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Pope John Paul II. Given that this topic is her wheelhouse, I'm going to guess that this book was dashed off in a few months, cobbling together bits from other of her books. And the problem with books written right after some event like 9/11, or right after the start of a war, is that they have no perspective at all. Of course it's easy to judge all these years l
May 28, 2013 Dr. rated it did not like it
Shelves: modern-warfare
A whole lot of things bothered me about this book, but the one thing that really bothers me is that in all of the talk surrounding "just" war she never makes any mention of war-fighting capabilities, and the massive gap that now exists between a few nations and the rest of the world in those capabilities. Terrorism is obviously not just, but is fighting with a vast, overwhelmingly technological military force against people who can NEVER meet you openly on the battlefield due to their inability ...more
Aug 12, 2007 Alia rated it it was ok
Just finished reading this last night, for some odd reason I couldn't put it down primarily of the fact that I highly disagreed with the author on some major points, one being her understanding of 2 'worlds' in Islam..her comparison of a Just war in Christianity vs Islam is to say the least..thought provoking. Anyhow I think she tried her hardest to show a difference between Islam and Radical Islam sadly it didn't come off as being too different. Also did not like the fact that she downplayed ...more
Jeremy Meeks
Jan 16, 2015 Jeremy Meeks rated it it was ok
I would like to know what the author thinks of her work seen from a distance. Not awful, but awfully wrong about Iraq. Also could have been better argued
Jun 17, 2016 Phoenix rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous book full of interesting and challenging insights..But (you knew that was coming right?) Let me cover the positive aspects first. This is a critical examination of the Just War Theory, by the respected professor and author Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the University of Chicago, who unfortunately passed away in 2013, as it pertains to modern US engagement against terrorism and radical Islamic fundamentalism. Se clearly lays out ans exposes ...more
Will James
An interesting 'Just War' analysis of the challenges facing America and the international community, written in the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. While I imagine the majority of people would disagree with Elshtain's point of view, I would still recommend it to anyone seeking to gain a greater understanding of the issues at stake in the War on Terror. Even if you maintain a contrary viewpoint, 'Just War Against Terror' contains a number of challenging arguments that ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Cory rated it it was amazing
How much do you know about just war theory? This was the question that led me on a search. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I presumed that our flagship university in Provo (BYU) would have a specialist in philosophy, politics, or even liberal arts. Undaunted, I did find the well-regarded "centrist" political philosopher Jean Bethke-Elshtain, whose short tome is the best case for just war that I have found.

Clearly Michael Sanvel's latest book-cum-Harvard Lectures on
Jason Dotson
This is a through analysis regarding the ethical foundations of just war in the context of terrorism. Initially, it seemed as though too much time had passed since the original publication in 2002, and subsequent addition regarding Iraq in 2004. A lot has happened regarding our response to the "war on terror" in the past decade. This leaves the reader with a desire for a more recent analysis. However, this desire is not overshadowed by the fact that this book is about timeless principles found ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Rod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reliable and Mature look into Just War Theory & the positive responsibility of America.

A theological, as much as political, treatise on Just War theory and practice. This is Elshtain at her best. Unpacking relevant information and engaging in the conversation for-our-time, that The West must have, and continue to debate.
Jan 17, 2008 Eric rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Foreign policy junkies, borderline jingoistic patriots
This is by no means a stereotypical, right-wing, "chicken hawk" book, and the author makes a solid case for many facets of the war on terror. Her thesis goes off the rails a bit, though, when it comes to Iraq. It would interesting to see what she thinks in 2008, since this was written in 2003, shortly after the invasion.
Sep 28, 2008 Scott rated it it was ok
It was probably one of the few academic books that supports the war on terror, but in a well though out way. He does condemn many methods used, but explains how people only are trying to do their best with what they have etc.
Mar 25, 2015 Emma rated it liked it
Shelves: school
I appreciated this book. I don't think I agree with her conclusions, but I feel like I agreed with her enough to be able to seriously consider them. I'm looking forward to doing some more thinking and reading on this.
Robert Giambo
Sep 15, 2013 Robert Giambo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, religion
The author provides a concise summary of the "just war doctrine" and its applicability to the US response to terror attacks.
Feb 24, 2015 Norbert rated it really liked it
The moral issue was well spelled out. As the only super power our present government doesn't understand this concept.
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Mar 30, 2010
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Jean Bethke Elshtain is an American political philosopher. She is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and is a contributing editor for The New Republic. She is, in addition, newly the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Chair in the Foundations of American Freedom at Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Academ ...more
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“Just punishment, which observes restraints, is different from revenge, which knows no limits.” 1 likes
“We must never lose the language of justice, for it reminds us of what is at stake and of the importance of keeping justice itself alive in how we fight.” 1 likes
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