Just War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By mellowmills
Words 1514
Pages 7
Just War theory is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics studied by theologians, ethicists, policy makers and military leaders. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: ‘the right to go to war’ and ‘right conduct in war’ . The first concerns the morality of going to war and the second with moral conduct within war. Recently there have been calls for the inclusion of a third category of just war theory - jus post bellum - dealing with the morality of post-war settlement and reconstruction.
Just War theory postulates that war, while very terrible, is not always the worst option. There may be responsibilities so important, atrocities which can be prevented or outcomes so undesirable they justify war.
Origins
The Indian epic, the Mahabharata, offers one of the first written discussions of a 'just war'. In it, one of five ruling brothers asks if the suffering caused by war can ever be justified, and then a long discussion ensues between the siblings, establishing criteria like proportionality, just means, just cause, and fair treatment of captives and the wounded.
The war in Mahabharata is preceded by context that develops the "just cause" for the war including last minute efforts to reconcile differences to avoid war. At the beginning of the war, there is the discussion of "just conduct" appropriate to the context of war.
In ancient Rome, a "just cause" for war might include the necessity of repelling an invasion, or retaliation for pillaging or a breach of treaty. War was always potentially nefas, "wrong, forbidden", and risked religious pollution and divine disfavor. A just war thus required a ritualized declaration by the fetial priests. More broadly, conventions of war and…...

Similar Documents

Just War

...to reach its intended target because of heroic passengers. With nearly 3,000 civilians murdered, the United States began the “War on Terror” that targeted organizations designated as terrorist and those regimes accused of supporting them. The “War on Terror” took the fight to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq. The Theory of Just War is an ethical look to help determine whether the use of armed forces is justified or unjustified. This Theory is guided by three sets of criteria: the right to go war (jus ad bellum), the rules of engagement of war (jus in bello) and justice after war (jus post bellum). While these wars have been surrounded with controversy and claims of being unjust, the “War on Terror” is a just war that does not exceed the moral boundaries set in the Just War Theory and today's society? The first criterion for a just war is the right to go to war. Is there a just cause? Will war be declared by a competent authority? Has all other options for peace been exhausted? What are the chances for success? Before the dust for the fallen towers settled and while eighty-six other countries mourned the loss of loved ones that were indiscriminately killed by Al Qaeda operatives, leaders around the globe heeded their citizens’ call to war, forming a coalition against terrorists. President George Bush stated “our 'war on terror' begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has......

Words: 3075 - Pages: 13

Just War

...The Second World War can be considered a just war using the criteria set forth in the “Just War Theory.” The war was properly declared by an act of Congress after an attack by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941. The US Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to declare war in Article 1, section 8. Because of the act of aggression by Japan and the proper declaration of war by Congress, World War II meets elements 1 and 2 of the Just War Theory. World War II also had the right intentions. Both Japan and Germany were sweeping through the Pacific and Europe repressing the people they had defeated. Both Axis powers were brutalizing, and in the case of Germany exterminating, certain groups of people. The United States had attempted to stay out of the European conflict, leaving it to regional powers such as Great Britain. Peace did not seem to have a chance because of the ambitions of the Japanese and German powers. As a result, war was the final option left to the Americans. The United States had a reasonable chance for success because they had not yet been involved in the fighting. They were also the industrial and manufacturing base for the British and Soviets; providing them with arms and material to fight the Germans. The United States was also not going to fight alone. They were joining with the Allied powers that had already been fighting for a few years. The Bible tells us “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see......

Words: 305 - Pages: 2

Just War Theory

...their economic and political power in Indochina. Because of its apprehension about the Soviet danger to destitute post-World War II Western Europe, America was concerned with obtaining France’s support for the creation of a European Defense Community (EDC). Therefore, the European Defense Community was extremely important to the United States. Consequently, the U.S., out of fear of alienating France from its cause, had very little leverage in persuading the French to grant authority over South Vietnam to the formally independent Government of Vietnam (GVN). The inception of the Korean War on June 25, 1950 substantiated U.S. officials’ suspicions that the conflict in Vietnam was more than just a colonial war. The Korean War reflected a general trend towards the spread of communism in the areas surrounding the Soviet Union and Communist China. It was now undeniable that the French resistance to the Viet Minh and its Communist China benefactor was a crucial element in the containment of global communism. Furthermore, it was evident that the communist Ho Chi Minh regime’s effort to drive out French forces was a part of a larger, worldwide communist goal. President Truman stated, “The attack on Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that Communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war.” (Herring, 373) In reaction to these events, President Truman sent troops to the aid of South Korea, the Philippines,......

Words: 470 - Pages: 2

Just War Theory

...Running header: Just War Theory The Just War Theory Regarding the War on Terrorism Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Abstract The modern interpretation of the Just War Theory list seven conditions which must met in order for a war to be considered “Just” (jus ad bellum). This paper demonstrates that, while it has been suggested that all wars, even the current war on terrorism, are unjust, the facts remain that any war that meets each of the seven criteria is a just war, regardless of opinion. Throughout the ages man has always looked to bring about the end of war, or when war has been waged to minimize the destruction caused when nations war. According to the text;”these rules were worked out in the late Middle Ages by the so-called Schoolmen or Scholars, building on the Roman law and early Christian thinkers such as Augustine and Ambrose. (The Moral of the Story, 2006) These rules were developed to first, deter wars, but when determined necessary, to limit the scope and suffering from the war. While not completely universal in scope, most advanced western societies have embraced the theory of just war as a bases for determining when, and if, a war is justified. As set forth by the Schoolmen, there are seven criteria that must be considered and met before nations can engage in war. They are; the Last Resort, a Just Cause, a Legitimate, Competent Authority, Comparative Justice, Right Intention, Probability of......

Words: 2037 - Pages: 9

Just War

...justly a moral criminal for fighting in a war that is either illegal or unjust? This question is at the centre of a new debate that pits a widely held and legally embedded principle of war, that soldiers have equal rights and responsibilities regardless of whether they are on the ‘side of the just’ or not, against a set of unusual new arguments (Rodin and Shue, 2008). Most Americans see the attacks of 9/11 as an unprecedented act of terrorism. Issues related to the response to these attacks have convinced many observers that the current international law regime is an outmoded relic. In particular, they say, the tradition of a just war, which provides the moral basis for most aspects of international law concerning war, stands in need of major revision. The just war is a largely Christian philosophy that attempts to reconcile three things: • taking human life is seriously wrong • states have a duty to defend their citizens, and defend justice • protecting innocent human life and defending important moral values sometimes requires willingness to use force and violence The theory specifies conditions for judging if it is just to go to war, and conditions for how the war should be fought. Although it was extensively developed by Christian theologians, it can be used by people of every faith and none (Rodin and Shue, 2008). A utilitarian approach is “the greatest good for the greatest number.” This can be applied to the theory of “just war.” For utilitarian the end......

Words: 1614 - Pages: 7

The Ethics of Just War

...The Ethics of Just War Applied Ethics Choose one of the applied ethics topics from the list below. Provide a brief description of your topic and the thesis you chose in the opening paragraph of your paper. This topic should be the thesis that you worked on in Week One and refined in Week Three. Remember that your first paragraph must contain a clear thesis statement as in the assignments from Weeks One and Three. In the body of your paper, examine the issue by discussing how three of the ethical theories presented in this course could be used to answer the particular question you have formulated. Use the core principles of each of these theories to support your discussion. Complete your paper by identifying which ethical theory you think provides the most satisfactory moral answer to your question, or the theory that provides the least satisfactory answer to your question. You should create a list of strengths and weaknesses for each of the theories as applied to your question to assist you with this task. However, you should not merely present the strengths and weaknesses of each theory but must argue that one theory is better or worse than the others in this case. Remember that each paragraph in your body must begin with a topic sentence that clearly identifies the main idea of the paragraph. Your paper should be 1500 to 2000 words (not including the words on the title and reference pages) in length. This means that you should devote approximately 300 words to each of the...

Words: 545 - Pages: 3

Unjust and Just Wars

... Just and Unjust Wars Do people ever fight unjust wars?  I believe people do fight unjust wars.  An unjust war is when one group tries to take over another group.  This can be because of power, religious beliefs, economic gain, etc.  The online definition I found for unjust war is “any conflict in which one party will attempt to enforce dominance on a different party. This may be carried out for a number of reasons like power, economic gain, religious differences and ethnic cleansing. Theory of unjust war is contrasted with just war theory” (ask.com).  An unjust war is fought with the wrong intentions.  If a group hasn’t tried all non-violent options to solve their issue, then I feel that the war they engage in is unjust. A good example of an unjust war is the war that is going on in Iraq.  This war has been going on for over eleven years now.  During this time span there have been no real answers to what we have accomplished, but yet our soldiers are still dying along with Iraqi civilians.  In addition to the lives lost, our economy is horrible with a big impact being from oil and gas prices.  Even though immense fighting still exists, our troops need to start leaving Iraq.  How long must we continue to fight a war that seems to be leading us nowhere?  Also, ever since the beginning of the human race, there has been war.  One group feels that they can take over another group and not only take over their land, but also use their resources and people for their own......

Words: 520 - Pages: 3

‘There Are No Just Causes for War’ Essay

...‘There are no just causes for war’ Many argue that there are just reasons for going to war however others state that there are no just reason at all, some reasons to go to war can be fighting for human rights or defending your religion however these can be overseen due to the amount of innocent people who die during war. A just reason for war may be to restore or protect human rights. Many people will claim or demand for better human rights and will want to oppose anyone who will go against them, this is a just reason for war as people are standing together and uniting as one to get what they want which is a better life. Augustine said that a just cause for going to war was ‘defending from attack’, if human rights were violated citizens may feel attacked and under threat therefore in order to restore peace they will have to go to war as they will see this as the only sensible response. The general rule is that only those people fighting you are legitimate targets of attack. Those who are not fighting should not be attacked as this would violate their human rights. Another just cause for going to war is self-defence; the clearest just cause is acting against an aggressor, for example in an invasion, many people are patriotic and would rather die instead of giving up their country to invaders therefore will start a war as a sense of self defence. Augustine said that a just cause for war was ‘recapturing things taken’; this view can be used here as invaders would be trying......

Words: 648 - Pages: 3

War Just or Unjust

...Can WAR ever be just? Can there be rules about war so that fair play is possible? Has there ever been a war with a just cause? This has been a debate for ages. It depends on who you are asking if you ask a Christian they will tell you any war is unjust because god would not want you to kill others. He would want you to turn the cheek. Others may say it is just if it’s in defense. In this paper, I will explain why the Vietnam War was just. The United States got involved in the Vietnam War from 1954 -1964 to prevent and contain communism. In Vietnam, an independence movement under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh rose to challenge French rule. The United States helped France by giving financial and military aid. The US had moral and ethical reasons to stand up and face unethical leaders that oppressed other weaker people and to contain the spread of communism. Communism is horrible because the government controls every move you make and you have no say in what happens in your life. Such as no right to vote, no freedom of speech, no right to a fair trial, etc. This is what the United States was trying to protect South Vietnam from. Communists used terrorism, murdered and subversion to destabilize countries. Just this alone was a just cause for the United States to get involved in the Vietnam War. Many feel that this wasn’t a good enough reason for the United States to get involved and was immoral unjust war, or that communism is not that bad. According to Aquinas four......

Words: 830 - Pages: 4

Just and Unjust Wars

...Morality of War Nicholas S. Chavez University of Phoenix Introduction War has been around since the beginning of time; and the causes always differ from the last. Many questions arise in a society because of it, such as death, casualties due to involvement, the overall outcome projected, etc. The most highly debatable topic pertaining to any war that those causes play a factor in is whether it is justified or not. Sacrifices are made overseas as well as on the home front with the families of the men and women giving their lives for their country. In turn, those sacrifices can make those families believe their loss could have been for an unjust cause, making it difficult for war to be supported. On the other hand, there are sacrifices in a war taking place today, and have in the past that families and the ones fighting see as justifiable. To determine the justifiability of war, one must consider all sides and all factors, as well as their effect on the overall society. Sacrifices Made When a loved one is deployed overseas to defend his/her country, all that can get them through, is knowing that their family is waiting for them and hoping and praying that nothing happens to them. The death of a loved one, which many fortunate people, don’t have to experience, is extremely hard on a family and delivers a crushing blow which can cause anyone to break down. When a family member passes away from being sent overseas, it can take a toll on how someone feels about a war......

Words: 1761 - Pages: 8

Just War Theory

...has established limits on warfare, referred to as the "just war" theory. Describe these limitations. Do you agree or disagree that the "Just War" theory should be reconceptualized? Explain. |Just War theory | |Just war theory is certainly not a new concept, but it did re-emerge in light of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and with military| |leaders renewed the importance of winning the hearts and minds are a must during conflict. As a result just war theory has | |resurfaced. The theory is a framework made up of principles that place limits on warfare. It assists with the ethical dilemma of | |justifying going to war and establish a structure to guide ones activity during the course of the ware. Just war theory is broken | |down into two categories; Jus ad bellum the justification for going to war, and Jus in bello in the means by which one fights in | |war. | | | |Principles of Just War Theory | |A number of principles govern just war theory depending on the theorist. As Toner (2010)......

Words: 1455 - Pages: 6

Just War Theory

...| | | | | Just War Theory: An Introduction. Just war theory is an interesting idea which constitutes both elements of ethics and politics to form a theory that describe the ethical and political relationship between states and sovereignty. Just War theory can be describes as an attempt to reconcile war with morality. Its main objective was to give justification for a state to launch an attack towards another state provided they have a valid reason to do so. From this we can come to define just war theory as a theory that specifies conditions for judging if it is just to go to war, and conditions for how the war should be fought (BBC, 2014). Just War theory is often associated with Christianity as it was first developed through biblical teachings by Christian theologians, St Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Even though Just war theory started from biblical teaching it does not mean that Christianity endorses violence or war but instead the ultimate goal is peace. War can only serve as the last resort action to achieve peace. After Christianity become dominant in the Roman civilization, the demand for a theory to justify the act of war lead St. Augustine to propose the Just War theory that was driven from biblical teachings (Catholic Answer, n.d). This was later perfected by St. Thomas Aquinas to form the Just War Theory that we know today. In his work, Summa Theologicae, St. Thomas Aquinas had outlined the criteria for a just war as (Jus Ad Bellum) well......

Words: 2655 - Pages: 11

Just War Teory

...iustum or the Just War Theory is a military ethics doctrine derived from Episcopal philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church. As studied today, the Just War Theory is considered hugely informed by the Christian understanding of the justifications of wars of invasion. In ethicist literature as in moral theology and policy making, the Just War Theory is associated with the belief that conflicts can be justified under certain philosophical, political and religious criteria. This paradigm dates back to the times of Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman, philosopher, lawyer, theorist and constitutionalist. The connection of the theory to medieval Christian theory and particularly, contemporary Catholicism is in the works of Thomas Aquinas and Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis (Gutman & Rieff, 2000). The former, also called Thomas of Aquin was an Italian Dominican priest, a theologian and a philosopher. The latter, also called St. Augustine, Blessed Augustine or Augustine of Hippo, was a onetime Bishop of Hippo Regius, a philosopher and theologian. This paper describes the tenets of the just war theory derived from the works of these philosophers and the utility of the theory within contemporary warfare. Specific focus is on the justification of the US invasion of Iraq and the consequences thereof. In the works of these three philosophers, the Just War Theory took a Christian connotation of the Roman Empire’s view of warfare. The Christian understanding of provocation to war and......

Words: 979 - Pages: 4

Theory of Just War

...Theory of Just War Group II How do we decide wars? How do we determine the ethical justification for war? When we think about war do we think solely about the act of war or the reasoning behind the war? Do we also need formal declaration of war to consider it to be real? There are many definitions of war with the most common being "a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations". Using this definition we can refer to many examples of war such as the American Civil War, World War I and World War II but by another definition we confront many wars undeclared. War by another definition is "a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end". With this definition not only are the aforementioned wars included but also conflicts such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Holocaust can now be considered war as well. In its most simplistic view, wars happen because of disagreements. These conflicts, whether on a large or small scale have been due to a point of view, standard, or ethical value. Just war is as it sounds; it is the justification of why and how one decides to fight wars. It is a philosophical look at the ethics behind going to war with a different country, organization, group, society, etc… The truth behind the majority of wars that are started is the fact that most people cannot agree on religion, everyone has their own different beliefs and still they somehow cannot agree to disagree, or to just......

Words: 620 - Pages: 3

Is Vietnam War Just or Not

...Vietnam War between USA with South Vietnam and North Vietnam with Viet Cong had lasted about 10 years and had many significant consequences. Therefore, it’s one of the most important wars in the recent years and has possessed many resonances so far. It is an unforgettable war for the USA because it has unexpectedly lost the war. The USA has lost the war against a fragile,undeveloped country which is North Vietnam. USA has lost the war against a fragile,undeveloped country which is North Vietnam. There has been a lot of controversies about this war so far. These controversies are concentrated on the moral dimension of the war. In other words, the experts and the analysts are concerned about whether this war is just or not. The Vietnam War can’t be considered as just war when we evaluate it with the aid of the Jus Ad Bellum critters. It doesn’t meet the 6 critters such as just cause, comparative justice, legitimate authority, right intention, probability of success and last resort. First of all, the USA doesn’t have a just cause to declare a war against North Vietnam and Viet Cong. In this war, USA struggles against communism and wants to terminate the so-called dangerous activities of the North Vietnam and Viet Cong founded by Ho Min Cinh in South Vietnam. USA doesn’t correct a suffered wrong here although it regards communism as great public evil. Western countries which adopt liberalism disapprove communism and they think that communism have to be removed. In this war, USA......

Words: 2328 - Pages: 10