In light of the enormous suffering brought about by war, war might be justified only if the benefit it yields is significant enough, namely, a clear and durable victory over the enemy. The logic of this argument leads to a Clausewitz-style war of “annihilation.” I argue that the best way to justify the ending of war short of such annihilation is by relying on a contractarian view of jus ex bello. I conclude by exploring the implications of this view to warfare in which no effective social contract is in place.
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