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Perhaps due to the influence of the great man myth of history, the Constitution of the United States of America is rarely named as participating in the shaping of the just war tradition, let alone being a just war document. Yet the concerns of war and just war thinking pervade the original document and the Bill of Rights as well as and some of its later amendments and are visible not only in the story of its creation but, even more significantly, in its rhetoric. Moreover, even as it and other constitutions are the primary expression of modern legal thought, it manifests a particular way of doing just war thinking that sits uncomfortably within modern just war theory. The way it inscribes sovereignty – at both personal and national levels – while diffusing authority exacerbates the wicked problems of climate-shaped conflicts, especially those relating to nonstate actors and global inequities.
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