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This chapter has argued that the idea of sacrifice, so commonly held as a key element of the warrior's craft, can be best explained through an approach that draws on both deontological and aretaic notions. Deontological models of Just War Theory can explain why soldiers are duty-bound to accept a certain level at risk in most situations, but this explanation is more problematic in cases of humanitarian intervention. At this point, aretaic ideas such as the image of martyrdom can help explain supererogatory sacrifices, and emphasis of nonmoral excellences can show that warriors might be inclined to accept levels of risk as a necessary means of proving their excellence as warriors.

I also argued that forgiveness should be understood as a form of sacri- fice because it often involves the forfeiture of a claim-right. This notion of forgiveness can be brought to bear on international relations and Just War Theory as a measure of the proportionality principle of jus ad bellum, which requires that the world be left in a better state through the war than would be if the war was not fought. This type of forgiveness has more similarity to the forgiveness of national debt than to models of interpersonal forgive- ness; it entails a political leader abstaining from the prosecution of war or the seeking of remunerations even when he believes his community is entitled to it. In situations where two sides both claim to have just cause, this type of forgiveness becomes all the more salient. However, it requires the operation of prudence on the part of political leaders to ensure that for- giveness is not being employed in situations where the just and prudent decision would be to go to war.


Throughout this discussion I will use the masculine pronoun in cases such as this. My reasons for doing so are twofold: first, because repeatedly using 'his or her' will prove clumsy and logistically problematic due to word restrictions, and sec- ondly because although things are changing in the West, the overwhelming majority of military practitioners today still tend to be men. However, I recognise that this is not a perfect solution to a problem that is much contested within academic practice. I hope, however, that it will not be taken to be offensive by any reader. I would wel- come any suggestions for a better approach to use in future.


This chapter will form a substantial section of a chapter of my doctoral thesis. I am grateful for feedback from my supervisors, Christian Enemark and Hayden Ramsay, who have greatly improved the quality of this chapter. I originally tested these ideas at the AAPAE conference in Fremantle, 2013. I am also hugely grateful for the insights I received there, which have significantly improved the quality of my thought and argument.


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