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War Crimes – Causes, Excuses, and Blame - Oxford Scholarship Online
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War Crimes: Causes, Excuses, and Blame

Matthew Talbert and Jessica Wolfendale


In 2005, US Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha. How should we assess the perpetrators of this and other war crimes? Is it unfair to blame the Marines because they were subject to situational pressures such as combat stress? Or should they be held responsible for their actions, since they intentionally chose to kill civilians? In this book, we take up these questions and propose a provocative theory of the causes of war crimes and the responsibility of perpetrators. In the first half of the book, we criticize accounts that explain war crimes by reference to externa ... More

Keywords: Abu Ghraib, genocide, child soldiers, military ethics, moral character, moral responsibility, obedience, situationism, torture, war crimes

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190675875
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190675875.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Talbert, author
Chair, Associate Professor, West Virginia University

Jessica Wolfendale, author
Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University