more from Michael Walzer

Single Idea 23574

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 1. War / c. Combatants]

Full Idea

The duties of individual soldiers …are precisely the same in wars of aggression and wars of defence. …The moral status of soldiers on both sides is very much the same; they are led to fight by their loyalty and their lawful obedience.

Gist of Idea

The duties and moral status of loyal and obedient soldiers is the same in defence and aggression


Michael Walzer (Just and Unjust Wars [1977], 08)

Book Reference

Walzer,Michael: 'Just and Unjust Wars' [Penguin 1984], p.127

A Reaction

He excludes war crimes. This is the thesis which Jeff McMahan objects to. It would be very odd to think that mafiosi and the legitimate police were morally equal, because the former are loyal. We should all try hard to avoid supporting unjust causes.