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PreemptionMilitary Action and Moral Justification$
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Henry Shue and David Rodin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199233137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233137.001.0001

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Preventive War and Human Rights 1

Preventive War and Human Rights 1

(p.171) 7 Preventive War and Human Rights1

David Luban

Oxford University Press

This chapter responds to some objections to an earlier argument that proposed a theory of preventive war. This theory sought to assimilate preventive war to self-defence, but only under restricted conditions; it argued against a general rule permitting states confronting distant or immature threats to launch preventive wars, on the ground that such a permission would license too many wars; it also argued that a more restricted principle, permitting preventive wars against rogue states where the distant threat involves weapons of mass destruction (WMD), can be justified; and also it stated that the permission to launch preventive war is nonproxyable; and finally it argued that the threat a rogue state poses must be a physical threat against the homeland of the state launching a preventive war. The chapter elaborates aspects of the theory that were obscurely stated or underdeveloped in the first go-around. It focuses on the so-called ‘rights objection’ that launching preventive war is wrong because it inflicts death and destruction on people who have done nothing to forfeit their rights against such violence.

Keywords:   pre-emptive war, prevention, self-defence, rights objection, distant threats, immature threats, weapons of mass destruction, nonproxyable

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