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Just War Theory

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❶The loss of lives must be in proportion to the gains of the military. One strong implication of the justice of warfare being a separate topic of analysis to the justice of war is that the theory thus permits the judging of acts within war to be dissociated from it cause.

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By acting decisively against a probable aggressor, a powerful message is sent that a nation will defend itself with armed force; thus preemption may provide a deterrent and a more peaceful world.

Unfortunately, false flag operations tend to be quite common. Realists may defend them on grounds of a higher necessity but such moves are likely to fail as being smoke screens for political rather than moral interests.

War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause — all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war. The resulting damage that war wrecks tends to be very high for most economies and so theorists have advised that war should not be lightly accepted: Yet the just war theorist wishes to underline the need to attempt all other solutions but also to tie the justice of the war to the other principles of jus ad bellum too.

The notion of proper authority seems to be resolved for most of the theorists, who claim it obviously resides in the sovereign power of the state. But the concept of sovereignty raises a plethora of issues to consider here. If a government is just, i. A historical example can elucidate the problem: What allegiance did the people of France under its rule owe to its precepts and rules?

A Hobbesian rendition of almost absolute allegiance to the state entails that resistance is wrong so long as the state is not tyrannical and imposes war when it should be the guardian of peace ; whereas a Lockean or instrumentalist conception of the state entails that a poorly accountable, inept, or corrupt regime possesses no sovereignty, and the right of declaring war to defend themselves against the government or from a foreign power is wholly justifiable.

The notion of proper authority therefore requires thinking about what is meant by sovereignty, what is meant by the state, and what is the proper relationship between a people and its government. The possession of right intention is ostensibly less problematic. The general thrust of the concept being that a nation waging a just war should be doing so for the cause of justice and not for reasons of self-interest or aggrandizement.

Putatively, a just war cannot be considered to be just if reasons of national interest are paramount or overwhelm the pretext of fighting aggression. According to Kant, possessing good intent constitutes the only condition of moral activity, regardless of the consequences envisioned or caused, and regardless, or even in spite, of any self interest in the action the agent may have. The extreme intrinsicism of Kant can be criticized on various grounds, the most pertinent here being the value of self-interest itself.

Acting with proper intent requires us to think about what is proper and it is not certain that not acting in self interest is necessarily the proper thing to do. On the one hand, if the only method to secure a general peace some thing usually held to be good in itself is to annex a belligerent neighbor's territory, political aggrandizement becomes intimately connected with the proper intention of maintaining the peace for all or the majority. On the other hand, a nation may possess just cause to defend an oppressed group, and may rightly argue that the proper intention is to secure their freedom, yet such a war may justly be deemed too expensive or too difficult to wage; i.

On that account, the realist may counter that national interest is paramount: The issue of intention raises the concern of practicalities as well as consequences, both of which should be considered before declaring war.

The next principle is that of reasonable success. This is another necessary condition for waging just war, but again is insufficient by itself. Given just cause and right intention, the just war theory asserts that there must be a reasonable probability of success.

The principle of reasonable success is consequentialist in that the costs and benefits of a campaign must be calculated. However, the concept of weighing benefits poses moral as well as practical problems as evinced in the following questions. Should one not go to the aid of a people or declare war if there is no conceivable chance of success? Is it right to comply with aggression because the costs of not complying are too prohibitive?

Would it be right to crush a weak enemy because it would be marginally costless? Is it not sometimes morally necessary to stand up to a bullying larger force, as the Finns did when Russia invaded in , for the sake of national self-esteem or simple interests of defending land? Historically, many nations have overcome the probability of defeat: Winston Churchill offered the British nation some of the finest of war's rhetoric when it was threatened with defeat and invasion by Nazi Germany in Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

However, the thrust of the reasonable success principle emphasizes that human life and economic resources should not be wasted in what would obviously be an uneven match. For a nation threatened by invasion, other forms of retaliation or defense may be available, such as civil disobedience, or even forming alliances with other small nations to equalize the odds.

The final guide of jus ad bellum is that the desired end should be proportional to the means used. This principle overlaps into the moral guidelines of how a war should be fought, namely the principles of jus In bello.

With regards to just cause, a policy of war requires a goal, and that goal must be proportional to the other principles of just cause.

Whilst this commonly entails the minimizing of war's destruction, it can also invoke general balance of power considerations. For example, if nation A invades a land belonging to the people of nation B, then B has just cause to take the land back.

That goal may be tempered with attaining assurances that no further invasion will take place, but for B to invade and annex regions of A is nominally a disproportionate response, unless controversially that is the only method for securing guarantees of no future reprisals.

For B to invade and annex A and then to continue to invade neutral neighboring nations on the grounds that their territory would provide a useful defense against other threats and a putative imbalance of power is even more unsustainable. Philosophically however they invoke a plethora of problems by either their independent vagueness or by mutually inconsistent results — a properly declared war may involve improper intention or disproportionate ambitions.

But war is a complicated issue and the principles are nonetheless a useful starting point for ethical examination and they remain a guide for both statesmen and women and for those who judge political proceedings. The rules of just conduct within war fall under the two broad principles of discrimination and proportionality.

The principle of discrimination concerns who are legitimate targets in war, whilst the principle of proportionality concerns how much force is morally appropriate.

A third principle can be added to the traditional two, namely the principle of responsibility, which demands an examination of where responsibility lies in war. One strong implication of the justice of warfare being a separate topic of analysis to the justice of war is that the theory thus permits the judging of acts within war to be dissociated from it cause. This allows the theorist to claim that a nation fighting an unjust cause may still fight justly, or a nation fighting a just cause may be said to fight unjustly.

It is a useful division but one that does not necessarily sever all ties between the two great principles of warfare: In waging war it is considered unfair and unjust to attack indiscriminately since non-combatants or innocents are deemed to stand outside the field of war proper. Immunity from war can be reasoned from the fact that their existence and activity is not part of the essence of war, which is the killing of combatants.

Since killing itself is highly problematic, the just war theorist has to proffer a reason why combatants become legitimate targets in the first place, and whether their status alters if they are fighting a just or unjust war.

Voluntarists may invoke the boxing ring analogy: Such an argument would imply that it is right to attack unarmed soldiers or soldiers who have surrendered or who are enjoying the normality of civilian life, which just war theorists and historical conventions have traditionally rejected on the claim that when a soldier lays down his weapons or removes his uniform, he or she returns to civilian life and hence the status of the non-combatant even if that return is temporary.

Conversely, in joining an army the individual is said to renounce his or her rights not to be targeted in war — the bearing of arms takes a person into an alternative moral realm in which killing is the expectation and possible norm: Others, avoiding a rights analysis for it produces many problems on delineating the boundaries of rights and the bearers, may argue that those who join the army or who have even been pressed into conscription come to terms with being a target, and hence their own deaths.

However, since civilians can just as readily come to terms with their own deaths and it is not necessarily the case that a soldier has, their argument, although interesting, is not sufficient to defend the principle of discrimination and why soldiers alone should be targeted legitimately in war. In turn, rights-based analyses may be more philosophically productive in giving soldiers and critics crucial guidelines, especially those analyses that focus on the renouncing of rights by combatants by virtue of their war status, which would leave nominally intact a sphere of immunity for civilians.

Yet what is the status of guerrilla fighters who use civilian camouflage in order to press their attacks or to hide? Similarly, soldiers on covert operations present intricate problems of identification and legitimization: Walzer, in his Just and Unjust Wars claims that the lack of identification does not give a government the right to kill indiscriminately—the onus is on the government to identify the combatants, and so, the implication goes, if there is any uncertainty involved then an attack must not be made.

Others have argued that the nature of modern warfare dissolves the possibility of discrimination: The distinction is, however, not closed by the nature of modern economies, since a combatant still remains a very different entity from a non-combatant, if not for the simple reason that the former is presently armed and hence has renounced rights or is prepared to die, or is a threat , whilst the civilian is not.

On the other hand, it can be argued that being a civilian does not necessarily mean that one is not a threat and hence not a legitimate target. If Mr Smith is the only individual in the nation to possess the correct combination that will detonate a device that could kill thousands, then he becomes not only causally efficacious in the firing of a weapon of war, but also morally responsible; reasonably he also becomes a legitimate military target.

His job effectively militarizes his status even though he does not bear arms. The underlying issues that ethical analysis must deal with involve the logical nature of an individual's complicity and the aiding and abetting the war machine, with greater weight being imposed on those logically closer than those logically further from the war machine in their work.

At a deeper level, one can consider the role that civilians play in supporting an unjust war: This invokes the issue of collective versus individual responsibility that is in itself a complex topic but one that the principle of discrimination tries to circumvent by presenting guidelines for soldiers that keep their activity within the realms of war and its effects rather than murder.

It would be wrong, on the principle of discrimination, to group the enemy into one targetable mass of people — some can not be responsible for a war or its procedures, notably children. Yet, on the other hand, if a civilian bankrolls a war or initiates aggression as a politician, surely he or she bears some moral responsibility for the ensuing deaths: The second principle of just conduct is that any offensive action should remain strictly proportional to the objective desired.

This principle overlaps with the proportionality principle of just cause, but it is distinct enough to consider it in its own light. Proportionality for jus In bello requires tempering the extent and violence of warfare to minimize destruction and casualties. It is broadly utilitarian in that it seeks to minimize overall suffering, but it can also be understood from other moral perspectives, for instance, from harboring good will to all Kantian ethics , or acting virtuously Aristotelian ethics.

Whilst the consideration of discrimination focuses on who is a legitimate target of war, the principle of proportionality deals with what kind of force is morally permissible. In fighting a just war in which only military targets are attacked, it is still possible to breach morality by employing disproportionate force against an enemy.

Whilst the earlier theoreticians, such as Thomas Aquinas, invoked the Christian concepts of charity and mercy, modern theorists may invoke either consequentialist or intrinsicist prescriptions, both of which remain problematic as the foregoing discussions have noted. However, it does not seem morally reasonable to completely gun down a barely armed albeit belligerent tribe. At the battle of Omdurman in in the Sudan, six machine gunners killed thousands of dervishes—the gunners may have been in the right to defend themselves, but the principle of proportionality implies that a battle end before it becomes a massacre.

Similarly, following the battle of Culloden in in Scotland, Cumberland ordered "No Quarter", which was not only a breach of the principle of discrimination, for his troops were permitted to kill the wounded as well as supporting civilians, but also a breach of the principle of proportionality, since the battle had been won, and the Jacobite cause effectively defeated on the battle field. What if a war and all of its suffering could be avoided by highly selective killing?

Could just war theory endorse assassination for instance? The CIA manual on assassination , cf. Belfield , sought to distinguish between murder and assassination, the latter being justifiable according to the higher purposes sought.

This is analogous to just war theorists seeking to put mass killing on a higher moral ground than pure massacre and slaughter and is fraught with the same problems raised in this article and in the just war literature.

On grounds of discrimination, assassination would be justifiable if the target were legitimate and not, say, the wife or children of a legitimate target. On grounds of proportionality, the policy would also be acceptable, for if one man or woman a legitimate target by virtue of his or her aggression should die to avoid further bloodshed or to secure a quicker victory, then surely assassination is covered by the just war theory?

The founder of the Hashshashin society c. Once initiated, assassination tends to become the norm of political affairs — indeed, civil politics would thus crumble into fearful and barbaric plots and conspiracies as did Rome in its last centuries in a race to gain power and mastery over others rather than to forge justifiable sovereignty.

The principles of proportionality and discrimination aim to temper war's violence and range; while they may ostensibly imply the acceptance of some forms of warfare, their malleability also implies that we continuously look afresh upon seemingly acceptable acts.

Accordingly, they are complemented by other considerations that are not always explicitly taken up in the traditional exposition of jus In bello , this is especially true in the case of the issue of responsibility. Jus in bello requires that the agents of war be held responsible for their actions.

This ties in their actions to morality generally. Some, such as Saint Augustine argues against this assertion: Readily it can be accepted that soldiers killing other soldiers is part of the nature of warfare for which soldiers ought to be prepared and trained, but when soldiers turn their weapons against non-combatants, or pursue their enemy beyond what is reasonable, then they are no longer committing legitimate acts of war but acts of murder. The principle of responsibility re-asserts the burden of abiding by rules in times of peace on those acting in war to remind them that one day they will once more take up civilian status and should be prepared to do so conscientiously, free of any guilt from war crimes.

Responsibility for acts of war relate back to the tenets of jus ad bellum as well as jus in bello , for the justification of going to war involves responsibility as well as the acts ordered and committed in war. The aftermath of war involves the relinquishing of armed conflict as a means of resolving disputes and the donning of more civil modes of conduct but it also raises questions concerning the nature of the post bellum justice. Following the cessation of a war, three possibilities emerge: Principles of justice may then be applied to each situation.

Orend presents a useful summary of the principles of jus post bellum: It has often been remarked that justice, like history, is written by the victors. A defeated army and indeed the civilian body from which the army stems should thus be prepared to subject itself to the imposition of rules and forms of punishments, humiliation, and even retributions that it would not otherwise agree to.

The lives, values, and resources that have been fought for must now be handed over to the conquerors. Economic exploitation is not the only means of subjugating the defeated: The just war theorist is keen to remind warriors and politicians alike that the principles of justice following war should be universalizable and morally ordered and that victory should not provide a license for imposing unduly harsh or punitive measures or that state or commercial interests should not dictate the form of the new peace.

In post-war Iraq date , the rehabilitation programs have met with mixed success and have often been criticized for favoring some ethnic groups over others, i. Criticism may stem from either intrinsicist reasons that the defeated should still be viewed as a people deserving moral respect and their traditions held as sacrosanct or consequentialist reasons that punitive impositions are likely to produce a backlash ; but again it is worth reminding that just war theory tends to merge the two to avoid awkward implications derived from either position singly.

At this point, the attraction for jus post bellum thinkers is to return to the initial justice of the war. Consider a war of self-defense: If the people are defeated but their cause remains just, should they then continue the fight to rid their country of all the vestiges of occupation? Jus ad bellum has to have a Just cause e. Aberration from oppression, to restore peace, protect the innocent, and self defense. Last resort which means after all peaceful methods of negotiation, sanctions; isolation; have failed.

The legitimate authority has to approve e. The elected or recognized government of the land; religious authority If appropriate; military government that Is the legitimate authority A Just Intention should be present, a Just outcome as means e. Not to take a nations wealth is the process of lecturing peace. There should be a comparison of justice on tooth sides; in principle both sides should have a just cause and a Just intention.

A reasonable likelihood of success, do not commit a nation to an unnamable war that will lead to Increasing suffering. Also, the level of weaponry should be proportionate to the offense e. Conflict becoming a country for a dispute over trade. Jus in Belle, the conditions during war. There should be reasonable proportion between injustices fought and suffering cause, but is the suffering worth it?

Considerably not World War II, conceivably so. Warfare must be discriminate, targeting non-competent, civilian facilities, medical facilities Is not Just. Jus post bellum, the conditions for bringing an end to conflict.

First of all you should provide assurances to combatants about the terms necessary to end a conflict. Provide terms for the end of war and guideline for the construction of peace treaties. Prevent continuous fighting throughout peace negotiations. Also, prevent draconian and vengeful peace terms.

It limits the chance of future generations, suffering, and conflict reigniting. War crimes punishment should distinguish between 1 OFF aggressor in two forms; compensation to the victim for losses incurred and war crime trials for the aggressor.

Terms for settlement should be measure and reasonable and should be made public. Leaders, soldiers, and civilians must be distinguished. Basically, wars can be Justified if only you follow these principles and have a good, thoughtful and peaceful reason to start a war.

T To what extent can this view be challenged by pacifism? The belief that war is incompatible with obedience to the gospel of Jesus, and is superseded by the command to love enemies and pray for persecutors, particularly Christian pacifism.

Also, it is possible to be pacifist on humanitarian principles without religious focus. Absolute of total pacifism is no engagement in any military activity. Jesus referred to SE violence and taught his disciples not to respond violently e.


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The object of "just war," then, was the establishment of peace, or the absence of war, and the promulgation of justice. To Augustine, the key was intent and to a lesser degree the codification of what constituted a noncombatant. Moral Foreign Policy Difficulties and 'Just War' Theory. given and part of that speech includes the following observation: "For centuries, philosophers and theologians have grappled with The Theory of Just War in Machiavelli's The Prince. This paper discusses the just war hypothesis as it .

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Just War theory demands that for war to be justified a state must fulfil each of the following 6 requirements: (1) Just cause, (2) Legitimate Authority, (3) Right intention, (4) Likelihood of Success, (5) Proportionality and (6) Last resort. The "Just War Theory" specifies under which conditions war is just. Opposition based on the Just War Theory differs from that of pacifists. Oppositionists oppose particular wars but not all war.4/4(1).