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Ethico-Political Entailments of the Scientific Way of Warfare

Antoine, just a quick reflection on your response to Martin Senn (which is also relevant to a question I asked). You note the following:

The purpose of my research has been to look at the exercise of military force as an instrument through which states or other political entities seek to achieve certain goals ('the extension of policy by other means' as Clausewitz would have it). I do not prejudge [...] whether the attainment of such goals is either desirable or ethical ('what if the political goal is coercive?') and while this is of course an important question in its own right, I do not think it directly impacts on my argument.

I would like to push you a bit on this on two fronts. Firstly, as an astute reader of Foucault, you know that scholarship and political gestures are indivisible. Secondly, for the majority of war studies scholars the fascination with the generative powers of organised violence is tempered by a very real commitment to examining ways that destructive force might be minimised and/or controlled.

I would thus want to know a bit more about the ethico-political entailments of your project that might otherwise be hidden by your response to Martin.

Martin Coward is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex, UK. His research focuses on post-structuralist theory and political violence. He is author of Urbicide: The Politics of Urban Destruction (Routledge, 2008).

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