Jessica Scranton (Author Photograph) New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. , 400,  pages. Appendix: Making America War Humane, 1863-. Notes. Index. Contents include Prologue; Part I: Brutality with chapters on The Warning; Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Laws of Inhumanity, and Air War and America's Brutal Peace; Part II: Humanity with chapters on The Vietnamese Pivot; "Cruelty is the Worst Thing We Do", The Road to Humanity After September 11, and' The Arc of the Moral Universe; and Epilogue. Samuel Aaron Moyn (born 1972) is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University, which he joined in July 2017. Previously, he was a professor of history at Columbia University for thirteen years and a professor of history and of law at Harvard University for three years. His research interests are in modern European intellectual history, with special interests in France and Germany, political and legal thought, historical and critical theory, and Jewish studies. He has been co-director of the New York-area Consortium for Intellectual and Cultural History, is editor of the journal Humanity, and has editorial positions at several other publications. In 2007, Moyn received Columbia University's annual Mark Van Doren Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching, determined by undergraduates, and its Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for "unusual merit across a range of professorial activities". In 2008, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is currently a Berggruen Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. Derived from a Kirkus review: A searching look at the rise of the “endless war” the U.S. is now waging. “There is no single arc to the moral universe that guarantees that progress comes without regress on other fronts,” writes Yale Law School professor Moyn. The way in which contemporary war is fought, at least by American standards, has become increasingly “humane,” discounting the devastation it wreaks on identified enemies. Today, civilian populations suffer fewer casualties as targets are isolated and then hit with drones or Special Forces operations. The author contrasts this new approach to war with the conflicts in the last century, in which untold millions of civilians died, with cases in point being Vietnam and especially Korea, which, with good reason, Moyn considers “the most brutal war of the twentieth century, measured by the intensity of violence and per capita civilian death.” The author locates some of origins of the comparatively sanitized wars of the present in abolitionist and pacifist movements of the 19th century, although more interesting are the seeming contradictions he identifies in writers such as Carl von Clausewitz, who held that “the point of engagement is annihilation”—which would, oddly enough, then usher in peace. The contradictions remain: Making war a business of killer machines and a handful of highly trained soldiers does not necessarily make it any more just. However, Moyn notes, some of the present insistence on a more humane approach to fighting comes from our revulsion in the face of such horrors as Abu Ghraib and My Lai. Never mind that, as Moyn adds, humane war is also the product of what he calls “lawyerliness” on the part of the Obama administration, which sold the public on the idea that “his policies of endless and humane war, though not exactly what they had signed up for, were morally wholesome.” “Humane war” may seem an oxymoron, but Moyn’s book will be of interest to war fighters and peacemakers alike. Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: Aerial Bombing, Civilian Casualties, War, Cold War, Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions, International Law, My Lai, Pacifism, Tolstoy, Torture, Obama, John Yoo, Quincy Wright, Terrorism, Vietnam War, War Crimes