Introduction: Moral victories- The ethics of winning wars

Cian O'Driscoll, Andrew Hom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


What is victory in war? If one is fighting for a just cause, is it a dereliction of duty to settle for anything less than victory? Can victory ever be worthy of the sacrifices made in its pursuit? What is its relation to the peace that everyone hopes will come once fighting has ended? This introduction discusses how the book will tackle these questions. It briefly traces the ubiquity and import of ‘victory’ in the theoretical and practical discourses of war from ancient times to the present day. It then juxtaposes three prominent examples of victory’s importance: the classical use of trophies and triumphs, the emergence of ‘degrade and destroy’ as a rubric for interpreting the ‘War on Terror’, and finally the centrality of victory to any efforts to conceive of war in strategic, political, or ethical terms. We close by providing an overview of the chapters to follow.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoral Victories
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ethics of Winning Wars
EditorsAndrew R. Hom, Cian O'Driscoll, Kurt Mills
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198801825
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2017


  • moral victories
  • trophies
  • triumphs
  • degrade and destroy
  • War on Terror
  • ethics
  • strategy


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