Moral Responsibility in a Time of War
William F. Felice
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 28-48. Buy PDF
When a nation goes to war, the government calls on its citizens to accept its moral reasoning for violence and to "rally around the flag." Too often during war many individuals sacrifice their ethical autonomy and simply accept the decisions of our leaders. Loyalty to the president and the country become a higher virtue than other ethical norms. Many citizens, in particular those in the Foreign Service, turn inward during a time of war, focus on their private lives, and no longer feel any moral responsibility for the destruction carried out in their name. What is a Foreign Service Officer's moral duty in a time of war? What ethical responsibilities do these government employees have to speak up and publicly oppose war policies they find morally dubious? How does an individual in this situation maintain his or her ethical autonomy in a time of war? These questions are examined here through some of the leading ethical theories, including the broad frameworks of realism, consequentialism, and deontology. This article is an exploration of why this occurs. Included is an interview with Peter Singer, one of the world's leading utilitarian philosophers.
Key words: ethical-moral dilemmas of war, neoconservative foreign policy
The Bush Administration, Debt Relief, and the War on Terror: Reforming the International Development System as Part of the Neoconservative Project
Matthew S. Williams
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 49-65. Buy PDF
In its international development agenda, the administration of George W. Bush showed an unexpected concern for the poor by promoting giving grants instead of loans to poor countries and convincing the G8 to forgive their debts. Based on an analysis of congressional testimony, the author argues that these reforms were part of a larger project. The Bush administration implemented a new system of aid conditionality, designed to increase its regulatory control over developing countries. Neoconservatives argued that "failed states" and poverty constitute a major cause of terrorism and that their reforms, by reducing poverty, were essential to the "war on terror."
Key words: international financial institutions, debt forgiveness, aid conditionality, neoconservative policy
The Rwandan Genocide: International Finance Policies and Human Rights
Dawn L. Rothe, Christopher W. Mullins, and Kent Sandstrom
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 66-86. Buy PDF
The genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis serves to remind us of the ethnic, political, and economic conditions that are typical for postcolonial states. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Hutu-led genocide against the Tutsis, scholars must examine the role of international lenders and finance organizations. A thorough investigation of the forces behind the genocide suggests that institutions of international finance, particularly the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, bear some culpability for the disaster because of how their policies and development demands altered Rwanda's social, economic, and political structures. The authors conclude by suggesting that international financial policies for postcolonial states should be dictated by human rights concerns and consideration of the social, cultural, and economic needs of a state and its citizenry, rather than the exigencies of free trade, capital mobility, and accumulation.
Key words: crimes of globalization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, international finance lenders, international human rights, genocide, Rwanda, postcolonial conflicts
Building Justice After War: The Use of Multiple Post-Conflict Justice Mechanisms
Dawn L. Rothe and Christopher W. Mullins
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 87-106. Buy PDF
In the region of Sub-Saharan Africa, 133 conflicts have occurred since the end of World War II. Only 31% of those had some sort of mechanism put in place either to end the conflict (e.g., peace agreement stipulations) or to stabilize the peace (e.g., truth commissions, amnesties, disarmament-demobilization-restoration programs, or tribunals). In many cases where post-conflict modalities did occur, multiple mechanisms were instituted. Yet scholarship on these programs tends to examine only the effects of a single mechanism, without reference to others. This ignores potential synergies and interactions between mechanisms. The authors discuss two widely known conflicts: Sierra Leone and Rwanda. The article begins with a brief overview of the conflict in Sierra Leone and is followed by a discussion of the multiple mechanisms that were put in place post-conflict. Then comes a similar overview of the Rwandan genocide and the multiple mechanisms instituted post-conflict to address the vast numbers of victims and perpetrators. The authors then evaluate the various institutionalized modalities for both countries, concluding with some of the major themes that appear to facilitate either their success or failure.
Key words: post-conflict Sierra Leone, Rwanda, truth commissions, amnesties, disarmament-demobilization-restoration programs, tribunals
Toxic Cities: Globalizing the Problem of Waste
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 107-119. Buy PDF
The author explores the political economy of toxic waste disposal. It is discussed within the context of a global environment within which such disposal has become highly expensive and highly politicized. The article focuses mainly on the story of Abidjan, the capital city of the Ivory Coast in Western Africa. Sixteen people died there and many thousands of others were poisoned due to exposure to toxic waste dumped in the city in August 2006. White provides a detailed description of what happened in Abidjan, including the social, political, and economic causes and consequences of the event. In this instance, Western sustainability has appeared to have been propped up by Third World disaster. Why this is so, and who is to blame, are essential questions for understanding and acting in relation to toxic disasters such as this.
Key words: toxic waste, Ivory Coast, Abidjan, commodification, Trafigura, globalization, corruption
Decolonizing Resistance, Challenging Colonial States
Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 120-138. Buy PDF
This essay responds to Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua's arguments in "Decolonizing Racism" that anti-racist theory excludes Aboriginal concerns; anti-racist praxis has contributed "to the active colonization of Aboriginal peoples"; and that "people of color are settlers." Challenging the conflation between migration and colonialism, this essay argues that the expansion of the category of "settler colonizer" to include all "non-Natives" has emerged within the context of the political consolidation of neoliberalism and neo-racism. It concludes by considering ways to undo the "indigenous"/"migrant" divide by working toward antiracist practices that are fully cognizant of the necessity of anti-nationalist and anti-capitalist decolonization.
Key words: settler colonialism, migration, neoliberalism, neo-racism, indigeneity, the commons, nationalism, decolonization
Review of J. Patrice McSherry's Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 139-142. Buy PDF
This book review describes Operation Condor, "a secret intelligence and operations system created in the 1970s through which the South American military states shared intelligence and seized, tortured, and executed political opponents in one another's territory." It discusses U.S. government backing and how college students responded to these revelations.
Key words: torture, counterinsurgency, political assassination, right wing, book review
Review of Darius Rejali's Torture and Democracy
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 3 (2008-09): 143-146. Buy PDF
Through a typology of the modern techniques of torture and an examination of their histories, Darius Rejali observes that modern torture is characterized by the infliction of pain without visible trace. He hypothesizes that the selection of these techniques was first performed by Western democracies to evade public scrutiny. With the rise of international human rights monitoring, these techniques have been universalized. Paradoxically, the rise of human rights has fueled the evolution and adaptation of torture. Rejali's hypothesis is confirmed in the light of recent human rights reports.
Key words: torture, human rights, violence, democracy, political theory, 20th-century history, nongovernmental organizations, international law