JUST STRIKE: A COMMANDER'S GUIDE TO PREEMPTIVE SELF-DEFENSE
Huntsman, John D.
Strawser, Bradley J.
McCormick, Gordon H.
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The imminence requirement for preemption can make all the moral difference in deciding to launch a lethal strike. Influenced by Michael Walzer’s just war criteria for preemption, I provide three necessary conditions to strike first in self-defense. A commander must justifiably believe three things: that an unjust aggressor is poised to attack, that her capacity to avert an attack is constrained by an imminent decision point or last window of opportunity, and that preemption is part of a moral-risk proportionate strategy. In any event, a commander must decide to preempt or not preempt under conditions of uncertainty. As such, I incorporate and supplement Seth Lazar’s rights-based expected utility approach to lethal action.
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