Scholars, regardless of their discipline, engaged in teaching courses that touch upon the Just War Tradition will find this text an excellent and readily accessible resource for undergraduates, and for that matter graduate students and professionals. The accessibility dimension and value stems from the fact that both authors are experienced classroom teachers and the organization of the book reflects a pedagogical attentiveness to the subject.
The authors have divided the book into two parts; the first treating the Just War Tradition as it has traditionally been understood, including weaknesses in the tradition that have become more recognizable in recent conflicts. The main weakness has been the lack of developed criteria for both exiting a conflict and for justice after conflicts end (post ad bellum). The authors' explication of the tradition and the need for the post bellum criteria are logical, clear, and understandable.
The second half of the book lays out the four criteria they believe essential for the restoration of peace in the aftermath of war. A separate chapter is devoted to each of the four post bellum criteria; (3) just cause, (4) reconciliation: what it is and isnít, as well as the six elements essential for reconciliation; (5) punishment includes the components of economic restitution and compensation, as well as addressing actions that necessitate trials for war crimes; and (6) restoration, the phase that addresses security, the rule of law and effective policing.
In the Introduction, the authors very briefly acknowledge the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts as context for a renewed examination of the Tradition and the need for exit strategies, and the need to develop post bellum criteria. In addition, both authors acknowledge and value the Pacifist Tradition as well as the ever-strengthening call for Peacemaking and Peacebuilding.
I, for one, will assign this text as required reading in any of my classes in Catholic Social Teaching that include the topics of war and peace.