more from Michael Walzer

Single Idea 23581

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 1. War / a. Just wars]

Full Idea

The purpose of reprisals is not to win the war or prevent defeat, but simply to enforce the rules [of war].

Gist of Idea

The aim of reprisals is to enforce the rules of war


Michael Walzer (Just and Unjust Wars [1977], 13)

Book Reference

Walzer,Michael: 'Just and Unjust Wars' [Penguin 1984], p.212

A Reaction

That may be wishful thinking, since reprisals are often vastly more ruthless than the original offence, and there is often injustice in the nature of the reprisals, since they cannot be precise.