Why Strategists Need Philosophical Back-Up
While strategists emphasize the constant loop of question, results and evaluation, as well as anticipation of possible scenarios, history is replete with cases where strategy becomes inflexible doctrine supported by the military and political structures. It is oft noted that we fight the current war with the paradigm of the last one; this doesn’t just apply to militaries, but to strategy as well.
There are important conversations happening in strategy and moral philosophy about technology, the nature of war, new forms and challenges of warfare, the place of non-combatant immunity, torture, winning hearts and minds, the role of military force as opposed to other strategies, and when war and military force ought to be used—all with wide ranging policy implications. Strategists, however, rarely talk about ethics or moral theory (even Just War Theory), and military ethicists and moral philosophers rarely talk about strategy.
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