Commodified wars

Cécile Fabre

in Cosmopolitan War

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199567164
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746055 | DOI:
Commodified wars

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Chapter 6 offers an account of wars in which private actors take on important roles alongside, or in replacement of, regular armed forces. The issue of mercenarism is worth addressing, if only because cosmopolitanism is more hospitable than other moral and political theories to loosening states' normative grip, as it were, on a wide range of practices. The chapter offers a qualified defence of mercenarism which, drawing on the account of defensive killings presented in Chapter 2, appeals to the importance of enabling just defensive killing. If the war is just, and freedom of occupational choice is an important value, individuals have the right to hire themselves out for military services, political communities have the right to contract with them for those purposes, and private military corporations have the right to act as intermediaries between them. The chapter then disposes of five objections to mercenarism, such as the objection from motivation and the objection from objectification, and ends with some remarks on mercenaries', as contrasted with uniformed combatants', right to kill in war.

Keywords: mercenarism; defensive killing; private military corporations; freedom of occupational choice; objectification; motivations

Chapter.  15422 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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