- Paperback: 178 pages
- Publisher: Cascade Books; 1 edition (September 15, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1625646925
- ISBN-13: 978-1625646927
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War 1st Edition
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''Elegantly written and easily accessible to lay readers--his prose unburdened by any military jargon or acronym-soup--Killing From the Inside Out is an ideal read for anyone curious about American adventurism abroad, the future of civil-military relations, and the human--and moral--toll of war.''
--Lionel Beehner, founding editor of Cicero Magazine and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, NY
''Meagher has written the essential rebuttal to Just War theory. This book should be read by scholars, warriors, clergy, politicians, and anyone caring for those suffering from moral injury related to military service.''
--Kimberly P. May, MD, Col (retired), USAF and the Veterans Administration, Leeds, MA
''Bob Meagher's seminal and timely work, with its reach from antiquity to today, shows that there never was a just war that would leave its participants unscarred.''
--Rev. Michael Lapsley, director, the Institute for Healing Memories, Cape Town, South Africa
''I found this book gripping, illuminating, and prophetic. In a so-called civilized world, where we continue to accept all too easily the killing of innocents in war, and the sometimes devastating long-term impact on those young people we send into battle to kill on our behalf, it is utterly timely.''
--Rev. Ruth Scott, BBC broadcaster, international mediator, London, UK
''Meagher combines his own practical wisdom from many years of working with combat veterans with decades of high quality scholarship. As a reflective practitioner, I strongly recommend this book to anyone truly interested in transforming the human cost of war.''
--Wilhelm Verwoerd, international peace and reconciliation worker, Beyond Walls, Cape Town Area, South Africa
''Another fundamental truth this bold, beautifully written, and erudite work powerfully conveys is the following: war kills not only those it buries in the ground; it just as surely kills those souls who march home, heads held high while the music plays and their loved ones cheer, yet feeling inside they are forever lost.''
--Lieutenant Colonel Douglas A. Pryer, US Army Intelligence, the Pentagon, USA
''Killing wounds the soul. But what if it's a 'just war?' Meagher argues convincingly that to put the adjective 'just' in front of the word 'war' is self-deception.''
--Jim Forest, co-founder, the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, South Bend, IN
''This is a thoughtful, timely, and needed book. . . . Read this book. Then ponder it. Then act on it. It just might save a soul--your soul.''
--Thomas C. Fox, publisher of the National Catholic Reporter
''For more than 10 years I have been working with former combatants in different parts of the world, grappling with the profound human cost of their involvement in war/violent political conflict. The dominant discourses of 'post traumatic stress disorder' and 'just war' really do not capture the deep wounding, the soul fragmentation, and inner darkness that many of them continue to be haunted by, especially those who come from religious backgrounds. Meagher's book comes like a much needed breath of fresh air--shining sensitive light on this darkness; pointing with nuanced language to the depth of human wounding in war; highlighting in particular the complicity of the 'just war' tradition in this inner injuring and the difficulties of healing. In this really important book, Meagher combines his own practical wisdom from many years of working with combat veterans with decades of high quality scholarship. As a reflective practitioner I strongly recommend this book to anyone truly interested in transforming the human cost of war.''
--Wilhelm Verwoerd, international peace and reconciliation worker, Beyond Walls, Cape Town Area, South Africa --Wipf and Stock Publishers
''Under the skilled hand of this master of the classics, the ancient Greeks cross the eons to bring their wisdom into our time, on issues of vital importance--war and its trail in the souls of killers and their communities. This is the resource for understanding how the religion of the Prince of Peace came to support war. Meagher brings us leaders of the early Christian church, showing us how Christianity came to excuse, if not promote, the industrialized and anonymous killing that war has become. The able professor also weaves in the struggles of current military veterans who struggle for inner peace having done what they were told to do. He manages all this in a manner that gives not despair, but life!''
--Amy Blumenshine, diaconal minister, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Minneapolis Area Synod, Minneapolis, MN
''In the field of conflict transformation and peace-building there is a recognized gap between grassroots practitioners who have lived through violent conflict and are working with its legacy, and academics who are considered to be 'experts' while lacking significant on-the-ground experience. Bob Meagher is one scholar who bridges this gulf with integrity, clarity, compassion, and challenge. Killing from the Inside Out is a brilliant example of his ability to chart the development of Just War Theory and consider it in the light of the lived experience of human beings sent into battle across the centuries. He doesn't swamp the reader with the vast scope of his personal knowledge but helps us trace easily and engagingly the attitudes to violent conflict and its moral status from the time of the wars of ancient Greece, via the emergence and rise of Christianity during the time of Imperial Rome and forward through the writings of key figures to the present day. He draws fascinating, thought-provoking, and some might say, disturbing parallels between war-making and love-making from a male perspective. He takes seriously the understanding of service personnel deployed as combatants to conflict zones across the world, whose experience illustrates why Just War Theory is dead. I found this book gripping, illuminating, and prophetic. In a so-called civilized world where we continue to accept all too easily the killing of innocents in war, and the sometimes devastating long-term impact on those young people we send into battle to kill on our behalf, it is utterly timely.''
--Ruth Scott, an Anglican priest, a producer and presenter for the BBC in London, a renowned international peace and conflict resolution worker, and the author of many books, including one on the conflict in Northern Ireland that was made into a feature film starring Liam Neeson.
''Truth often hides, Robert Meagher reminds us, in Killing from the Inside Out, especially when the truth challenges our myths, for example, the myth that one can kill another human being and not be damaged by so doing. The truth is no one leaves the battlefield unwounded. Killing wounds the soul. But what if it's a 'just war?' Meagher argues convincingly that to put the adjective 'just' in front of the word 'war' is self-deception.''
--Jim Forest, co-founded the Catholic Peace Fellowship in 1964 and from 1977 through 1988 was Secretary General of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. Currently he serves as International Secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. His books include The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life, Ladder of the Beatitudes, Praying with Icons, Living With Wisdom: A Biography of Thomas Merton, All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day, and Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment. --Wipf and Stock Publishers
''Bob Meagher lays out a provocative argument: That 'just war,' as a theory and set of principles to guide us in battle, is effectively dead. He tangles with the perverse assumption, passed down through the ages, that there is a just way of taking another person's life, that killing in wartime is somehow different from murder in peacetime. That just war originates in Christian theology, and invoked in a speech by an American president accepting a Nobel Peace Prize, is even more puzzling. Meagher grapples with not just the collective moral crisis nations go through when they use violence to achieve political ends, but also how ex-soldiers grapple with their own consciences over their actions in the heat of battle, or what he calls 'moral injury.' He comes at the subject not as a pacifist but as an ethicist, marshaling impressive evidence, from the works of St. Augustine to Camus, to make his case. The book recounts the harrowing stories of soldiers who struggle to cope with what they've done in combat, what they've seen, and the scars that stay with them in their postwar lives. Elegantly written and easily accessible to lay readers--his prose unburdened by any military jargon or acronym-soup--Killing From the Inside Out is an ideal read for anyone curious about American adventurism abroad, the future of civil-military relations, and the human--and moral--toll of war.''
--Lionel Beehner, founding editor of Cicero Magazine and former senior writer at the Council on Foreign Relations
''Specialists in the field will welcome this book, not only because of its provocative argument, but because there are gems that will enrich even advanced readers's knowledge or thinking. Those who are mostly familiar with international law and secular Just War Theory will find the brisk, sound survey of developments in chapters 4-6 informative; those specializing in the Christian-ethical approach to war will find provocative thoughts in the discussion of Greek literature in chapter 1-3. Even for specialists in Christian ethics or history, the way the author brought out the connections of love and war in Greek literature, and then looked at developments in early Christian thought, should prove stimulating. I am not aware of other works that have explored this so well. I think the book will appeal to people who think about the problem of war from any angle, including philosophical, theological, historical, political, and literary. The book has an accessible style married to serious content that will work well for both beginning and advanced readers. I can see many professors who teach about war and peace--again, from a number of disciplinary angles--procuring the book for their own edification, and then many adopting it for courses. The book will definitely work for both undergraduate and graduate student audiences in any courses that touch on war. The introduction and conclusion and chapters 2 and 3, in particular, are rich with conversation topics. As someone who teaches a basic undergraduate religious-ethics course on war and peace, I would be very interested in assigning this book for the way it puts the charge against Just War Theory so pointedly and for how it could set an ongoing problem for such a course. I can also see courses from philosophy and political-science angles using the book.''
--Brian Stiltner (Ph.D., Yale) is Chair of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies, Sacred Heart University, and coauthor of Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War. --Wipf and Stock Publishers
About the Author
Robert Emmet Meagher, Professor of Humanities at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts, has directed and participated in many events and programs concerned with understanding and healing the spiritual wounds of war in veterans, their families, and their communities. He served as an invited Commissioner for the National Truth Commission on Conscience in War and facilitates an ongoing MassHumanities/NEH VA Literature and Medicine seminar. His most recent book is Herakles Gone Mad: Rethinking Heroism in an Age of Endless War.
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In Meagher’s coverage of the history of “just wars,” he discusses the Crusades, the Knights Templar, the “war popes” and concludes that just war theory is a dead letter. It’s irrelevant because it simply doesn’t describe what happens in war—any war. The warriors, who are told that they may kill without sin, when they do kill, suffer moral injury as grave as any physical injury.
I was quite unsettled to learn that Pope Pius XII even went so far as to declare the pacifist who would not under any circumstances fight for his country an enemy of his country and of the human race.
I had a phone conversation with Meagher to discuss, among other points, Pius’ position regarding pacifists. Meagher said that, given the church’s endorsement, this position was not so surprising. Meagher also pointed out that in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, war is never justified; it’s always evil, but we may embrace the use of violence to protect the innocent. The Orthodox position is morally complicated; war at times can be judged as necessary but it is still evil. If a country engages in war, it is engaged in sin. As an example, viewing the atrocities Nazis did, taking out Hitler was necessary but still sinful but also forgivable. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran priest, would support the same position.
In the book, Meagher does offer a suggestion for a path for the US to take to lead beyond war: he recommends that we do away with the all-volunteer army, which makes up less than 1% of our population. In our discussion, he pointed out that when we give up the citizen army, we go down the road that Hitler went down and noted that Eisenhower and Marshall said we lose the sense that we are all at stake in a war.
Meagher claims that our most recent wars would never have been authorized if 99% of us had “skin in the game,” and were not reliant on proxies to do our fighting. I myself take issue with this suggestion. Past experience with a military draft has shown that, while some problems would be eased, there would be many other problems surfacing. Americans have always protested conscription, but I will highlight what happened relative to the Vietnam War. It was one of the most divisive issues of modern times. Draft resistors filed for conscientious objector status, claimed disability, went AWOL, or fled to Canada. By the 1970s there were more conscientious objectors than draftees, and there were enormous backlogs of induction-refusal legal cases. Protests of 100,000 people were not uncommon. In any event, I do not believe that Americans would be willing to go back to conscription.
Back to my review of Meagher’s book, I highly recommend it. As can be surmised by the preceding write-up, the book addresses important issues and deals with them in a learned and powerful way. It is also highly readable.