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The Morality of Private WarThe Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies$
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James Pattison

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199639700

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199639700.001.0001

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The Right to Be a Private Contractor

The Right to Be a Private Contractor

(p.29) 2 The Right to Be a Private Contractor
The Morality of Private War

James Pattison

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on whether it is morally permissible for an individual to be a private contractor. Accordingly, it assesses—and largely rejects—three leading objections to private contractors. First, it repudiates the argument that private contractors will be involved in the violations of civilians’ human rights and therefore contravene the principles of jus in bello. Second, it rejects the claim that having the status of being a private contractor is objectionable. Third, it assesses the ‘mercenary motives’ objection to individuals being employed in private military force, which asserts that the financial motive of private military personnel means that they cannot justifiably resort to force. It argues that mercenary motives pose a deeper concern about private military force in that they can less easily be restricted. However, it also argues that the weight of this objection is questionable because of the lack of significance that motives play in our moral thinking about war.

Keywords:   authorization, human rights, intentions, jus in bello, mercenary motives, morality, private contractors, self-interest, status, right to use force

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