The Moral Responsibility of Volunteer Soldiers

Jeff McMahan argues that because the United States has an all-volunteer military it must allow for selective conscientious objections when the country uses force for purposes other than national defense. But McMahan weakens his argument in two ways. First, he makes a number of misleading statements about how the United States has recruited and retained military personnel. Second, in his analysis of just and unjust wars, McMahan fails to distinguish between wars of choice and wars of necessity.

This article was originally published in Boston Review.