by Brien Hallett
University of Illinois Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-0-252-02418-4 | Paper: 978-0-252-06726-6 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05685-7
Library of Congress Classification KF5060.H355 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 342.73062


Historically, it has been assumed that war is violence and declarations of war are simply public announcements that serve to initiate combat. Brien Hallett denies both assumptions and claims that war is policy, not violence.

The Lost Art of Declaring War analyzes the crucial differences between combat and war and convincingly argues that the power to "declare" war is in actuality the power to compose a text, draft a document, write a denunciation. Once written, the declaration then serves three functions: to articulate the political purposes of the war, to guide and direct military operations, and to establish the boundary between justified combat and unjustified devastation.

Hallett sounds a clarion call urging the people and their representatives to take up the challenge and write fully reasoned declarations of war. Then, and only then, can a civilized nation like the United States lay claim to being fully democratic, not only in peacetime, but in wartime as well.