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Beyond the Limits of Codified Morality: A Christian Military Ethic - Endnotes
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Article Index
Beyond the Limits of Codified Morality: A Christian Military Ethic
Self-formation and the Ethical Military Professional
Moving Beyond the Limits of Codified Morality
The Soul as Ethical Substance
A Christian Military Ethic
The Cost of Serving
Conclusion: Honoring God by Living Up to His Standards
All Pages




1. This article was developed from a paper prepared for the ‘Exploring the Professional Military Ethic’ Conference, 15-18 November 2010, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The expression ‘military professional’ is taken here to include soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and their respective commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

2. The conception of ethical subjectivity adopted in this paper can be found in the later works of Michel Foucault and in William E. Connolly, The Augustinian Imperative (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002, 2nd Edition).

3. These four aspects are adapted from Foucault’s exploration of the ethical subject in Foucault, M., 'On the Genealogy of Ethics', in Foucault, M. and Rabinow, P. (Ed.) The essential works of Michel Foucault 1954 - 1984 Volume 1: Ethics – Subjectivity and Truth (New York: The New Press, 1997) p. 263-5.

4. Foucault, M., The History of Sexuality Volume 2: The Use of Pleasure, Trans. R. Hurley, (London: Penguin Books, 1984) p. 25.

5. Ibid, p. 5.

6. Ibid., p. 25ff.

7. Members of the Army, Navy and Marines are also subject to the same laws, with subtle variations according to the branch of the Services. Other armed forces have similar military codes that govern behaviour in both peace and war.

8. The Queen’s Regulations for the Royal Air Force, Para. 989, Parts 1 and 4, p. 15-1.

9. Aide Memoire on the Law of Armed Conflict, JSP 381, Revised February 2005, Ministry of Defence, located at , Para. 4, accessed 10 January 2009.

10. Programmes of military instruction, Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977. Part 5, Section 1, Article 83, Para. 3376, located at, accessed 15 January 2010.

11. The Ethos, Core Values and Standards of the Royal Air Force, p. 7.

12. At the time when the author taught the Beliefs and Values Programme all uniformed RAF chaplains belonged to Christian denominations. Ministry of Defence-appointed civilian chaplains from other faiths – Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist – were also available to provide specific religious guidance when needed.

13. What I refer to here as a ‘confessional dynamic’ can be seen throughout history from the works of Augustine to the 12-step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous and countless self-help books. It is not to be confused here with any form of religious instruction.

14. Reporting an individual or an event to any form of authority figure.

15. The Cadet Honor Code,, accessed 1 September 2010.

16. Elshtain, J.B., Just War Against Terror (New York: Basic Books, 2004) p. 21.

17. Ibid., p. 21/2.

18. John 15:13, New International Version. All subsequent bible quotations taken from the New International Version unless otherwise stated.

19. Luke 22:20.

20. 2 Peter 3:11.

21. Augustine, Confessions and Enchiridion, (397) Trans. Outler, A.C. (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2000), p. 70.

22. Id. There is not the space here to extend the analysis of Augustine’s conception of the soul. However, it should be acknowledged that his was a complex formulation that wove together a biblical understanding of the soul with philosophical influences from Socrates and Plato. See Augustine, City of God, Bk VIII, Ch. 3ff.

23. Psalm 23:3.

24. Psalm 103: 1.

25. Luke 10:28.

26. Matthew 22:36-40.

27. Augustine, The City of God Against the Pagans, Ed. and Trans. by R.W. Dyson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), Bk VI, Ch. 12, p. 265-6.

28. Lynch, T., ‘Confessions of the Self: Foucault and Augustine’, Telos, Vol. 146 (Spring 2009) p. 134.

29. Id.

30. Augustine, ‘Letter 189: Augustine to Boniface (417)’, in Atkins, E.M. and Dodaro, R.J. (Eds.) Augustine: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) p. 217-8.

31. Matthew 5:9.

32. Augustine, ‘Letter 189’, p. 217.

33. Id.

34. Id.

35. Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962,, accessed 12 December 2011.

36. Reuters, 16 March 2012,, accessed 17 March 2012.

37. CBS News, 12 March 2012,, accessed 14 March 2012; Al-Jazeera, 12 March 2012,, accessed 14 March 2012.

38. Augustine, City of God, Bk I, Ch. 26, p. 39.

39. 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18.

40. Augustine, Against Faustus the Manichean, XXII, Ch.74 in Reichberg, G.M., Syse, H. and Begby, E. (Eds) The Ethics of War (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), p. 82.

41. This view is strongly challenged by Professor Jeff McMahan and others who argue for a rights-based ethic of war that grants greater autonomy of action to combatants to refuse to soldier in circumstances where they are not morally convinced of the cause they are meant to be fighting for. The scope of this article does not permit further exploration but McMahan’s views can be found at McMahan, J., 'Liability and Collective Identity: A Response to Walzer', Philosophia, Vol. 34, No. 1 (2006) pp. 13-17; McMahan, J., 'Collectivist Defenses of the Moral Equality of Combatants', Journal of Military Ethics, Vol. 6, No. 1 (2007) pp. 50-59; McMahan, J., Killing in War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

42. Augustine, Confessions, Trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) Bk IV, Para. vii (12) p. 59-60.

43. Psalm 138: 7, cited in Augustine, Confessions, p. 61.

44. Psalm 51:1, 14, 17.

45. Mark 14: 34, 36.

46. Augustine, Confessions, Bk IV, Para. vii (12) p. 60.

47. I am aware that this is a generalization. Nobody has a higher regard than I for the work of psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, counsellors and others who work to alleviate the ravages of combat stress. However, I have yet to meet one who says that she or he can return an individual to their pre-traumatised physical or mental state. I remain open to correction of course.

48. Augustine, ‘Letter 220: Augustine to Boniface (428)’, in Atkins, E.M. and Dodaro, R.J. (Eds.) Augustine: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) p. 224.

49. Romans 5:4, 5.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 13:17