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Just Reconciliation

The Practice and Morality of Making Peace


Edited By John R. Elford

Most people desire peace but understand that military intervention is sometimes required as a last resort. This book argues that more attention must therefore be given to the study and practice of post-conflict reconciliation. The essays collected here look at the work of figures such as Marc Ellis, Donald Reeves, Justin Welby and the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ Andrew White, and examines how these individuals portray the different successes and failures of reconciliation in dangerous situations. Other chapters examine the contributions made to reconciliation activity by psychology, aid distribution, commissions and peace treaties. The countries and regions under discussion include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, the Middle East, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The contributions reflect both religious and secular views on reconciliation.
The central debate takes place in the context of the changing role of the military in the modern world. The essays in the volume argue that issues relating to reconciliation and the post-conflict reconstruction of civil society should be considered a part of the moral assessment of military action and that the theory of just war needs to be developed to include considerations of this kind.


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R. John Elford - Concluding Reflections 195


R. John Elford Concluding Ref lections This book has accepted the fact that some military interventions are a sad necessity of last resort in the modern world. The reason for this is that, though they use force, they are intended to establish peace. The means by which this is achieved are, of course, the classic subject of scrutiny in just war theory. We have referred to them in passing throughout. They broadly focus on last resort, proportion and discrimination. All war is wretched and to be avoided in any but dire circumstances. Just war theory exists to facilitate the identification of those and to control the use of force once it is engaged. It recognizes that there are some circumstances of human conf lict that are worse than those of a limited warfare which can be used to bring about their cessation. In this sense, war can never be anything other than a sad necessity of strictly last resort. Of course, establishing the possibility of such justice does not settle all the questions which have to be asked before military intervention can be justified. Disputes about them invariably remain long after interventions have taken place. Many of these focus on the nature of the authority which is required before intervention can take place. Here, the role of the United Nations and the status of its resolutions are, invariably, controversial. Our not discussing any of this in this book does not mean that we overlook its importance. It is a subject...

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