Jus ad Vim and the Just Use of Lethal Force Short of War

In Fritz Allhoff, Nicholas Evans & Adam Henschke (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War: Just War Theory in the 21st Century. Routledge. pp. 63--75 (2013)
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Abstract
In this chapter, I argue that the notion which Michael Walzer calls jus ad vim might improve the moral evaluation for using military lethal force in conflicts other than war, particularly those situations of conflict short-of-war. First, I describe his suggested approach to morally justifying the use of lethal force outside the context of war. I argue that Walzer’s jus ad vim is a broad concept that encapsulates a state’s mechanisms for exercising power short-of-war. I focus on his more narrow use of jus ad vim which is the state’s use of lethal force. Next I address Tony Coady’s critique of jus ad vim. I argue that Coady highlights some important problems with jus ad vim, but these concerns are not sufficient to dismiss it completely. Then, in the final section, I argue that jus ad vim provides an appropriate “hybrid” moral framework for judging the ethical decision-making outside of war by complementing other conventional just war distinctions. A benefit of jus ad vim is that it stops us expanding the definition of war while still providing the necessary ethical framework for examining violent conflict outside that context.
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