5: Text excerpt, Michael Walzer's, "Just and Unjust Wars," 1977.
Michael Walzer's 1977 book Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations is a foundational text on the ethics of war. In this passage, Walzer introduces the distinction between jus ad bellum (the justice of war) and jus in bello (justice in war), two independent ways of considering whether military engagement in a particular instance is ethical.
(Note: It's possible that some review of Israel's military history, and its anti-war movement, might be useful for students before using this resource.)
Suggested Activity: Have students read the Walzer excerpt and ask them to summarize his main points. Then ask: Do you think "The Fruit of the Land" is a poem advocating for jus ad bellum or jus in bello? That is, is the poem concerned about the injustice of war itself, or about the injustice of the way the wars are fought? Or both? Ask students to show evidence from their answer by pointing to specific lines and phrases in the poem.
Source: Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (Basic Books: Philadelphia, 1977), 21.