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First StrikeAmerica, Terrorism, and Moral Tradition$
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Mark Totten

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300124484

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300124484.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
First Strike

Mark Totten

Yale University Press

Over the past several years, the United States has dramatically changed its approach to preventing future enemy attack. In particular, the government has become willing to use preemptive force against emerging threats. This book examines the use of armed force to strike first to prevent an imminent attack by considering anticipatory force or anticipatory self-defense as well as preemptive and preventive force. Drawing upon a body of reflections on the morality of war that have accumulated over hundreds of years, it looks at the American experience with preventive war. It discusses the relationship between preventive force and the nation's moral identity and explores the announced willingness of the United States to strike first in the context of the imminence rule. The book also considers two challenges related to striking first: the challenge of moral legitimacy and the challenge of developing a narrow framework to govern the use of preventive force.

Keywords:   preemptive force, United States, armed force, anticipatory force, anticipatory self-defense, preventive force, morality, preventive war, imminence rule, moral legitimacy

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