The principles of a just war include jus ad bellum, the right to go to war, and jus in bello, right conduct in war. You will see these principles fleshed out in some of the following bullets below:
- A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
- A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
- A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient--see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.
- A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
- The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
- The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.
- The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target. (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/justwar.htm)
Using the criteria above, consider what you've read (and check out at least one of the links below to include in your response), tell me the following:
1. Was World War 2 a Just War? Why or why not? If it's not tell me where it fails by your criteria.
2. Was Vietnam a Just War? Why or why not? And finally, has Iraq and the rest of the War on Terror been a Just War? Why or why not?Due Wednesday, June 3 - 250 words minimum. (20 points)
Thoughts to consider:
NPR's analysis of Just War Doctrine only 4 months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks - http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jan/justwar/020125.justwar.htmlIraq a Just War from an Australian newspaper - http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25571560-7583,00.html
Just War Theory (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - http://www.iep.utm.edu/j/justwar.htm
The Nation's take on Just War after the Afghanistan War began - http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011029/falk - "The war in Afghanistan against apocalyptic terrorism qualifies in my understanding as the first truly just war since World War II."
A great compendium on JustWar Theory info by the BBC -http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/war/index.shtml