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Is War Justified

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  • Pages: 8
  • Word count: 1932
  • Category: War

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In today’s society, the possession and effective use of force is necessary. We have to recognize that we live in an imperfect world where evil seems to be an inevitablity. Our constant need for power makes the idea of a violent free world unimaginable. As long as we continue on this power hungry path the political issues will continue on this same path. Force is necessary with our current societal conditions and can be looked at as irresponsible when a nation does not prepare for the necessity of force. Any political conversation that entails the words, truth, liberty or peace run hand in hand with the use of force to create them. The perspective of some people are that we need to find other options to create peace other than the use of force. Unfortunately we have to acknowedge that certain nations, movements or countries will not negotiate without the threat of force. We are being Naive to suggest that every single problem in this world can be negotiated peacefully. Alot of the problems with war, is that of both religion and history.

It is nearly impossible to coincide on a peaceful resolution with ones who disagree on the very way in which you live your life, or your ancestors have. The problems we have in society today are due to the fact that we have a lack of force needed to constrain the corruption that takes place in today’s society. If we had more military forces to aid with the creation of peace, a passion for justice, and the intelligence to know what will and won’t work than I believe the world will mirror individuals and the ways we react in our society. In “The Morality of War,” Larry May, Eric Rovie and Steve Viner have compiled a group of essays that help to understand the ethical questions of War. I will be outlining the reasons in which I find pacifism to be just as detrimental to society as force. Also the reasons in which going to war can be justified. We will be taking a look at what defines a just war, a humanitarian intervention which includes self defense and why these are all plausible justifications when used appropriately.

Pacifism is a great idea in theory, but it would not fit in today’s society. Living by this moral principle can cause a greater harm by turning the other cheek than by using force to deminish a greater threat. There is always going to be people seeking out power or people who have different beliefs and morals because it is engraved within ourselves through generation after generation. Jan Narveson directly states a pacifists view, “His belief is not only that violence is evil but also that it is morally wrong to use force to resist, punish, or prevent violence. We are aggressive and greedy people and to change the thinking of the entire world with out the threat of force seems nearly impossible. Hypathetically, if pacifism was put into law, the use of any type of force will be breaking the law and the sentence is life in prison. Now imagine if a man breaks into a house of a young lady and rapes this lady and then pulls a gun out to shoot her. If the woman grabs the gun and shoots the man, she would also be sent to prison for life because any use of force is labelled as unacceptable. In our society today, violence is happening everyday even though we have laws in place to minimize them.

Violence is not only a thing of the past but it is a thing of the future and without a proper punishment, violence will increase drastically. Narveson communicates a second version of pacifism where ” one might argue that pacifism is desirable as a tactic: that as a matter of fact, some good end, such as the reduction of violence itself , is to be achieved by ‘turning the other cheek’. ” This again is a good theory, but if it was put into action, the consequences would be great. A human has the right to defend themselves, or help a person that is in need. In war it is the same thing but instead of one person needing help, it is a population worth of needed help. A person claiming they are a pure hearted pacifist by ” turning the other cheek” does not necessarily make it the best option.

Jan Narveson gave the example of the Nazis who tortured pacifist’s to see how long they could go with out fighting back. “If one attempts to support pacifism because of its probable effects, then one’s position depends on what the effects are.” (Narveson) It is clearly evident that the elimination of the use of force would not be followed by every single person and the power would then shift to the ones that don’t follow the law. If this happened, I believe that people will do what they got to do, in order to get some of their power back. Pacifism in law for today’s society is impractical unless there was a way to unify the whole world and have no one willing to use force to get what they want. Until that issue is resolved, war will bleed into generations and generations to come. A forced pacifist attitude or law code will not decrease violence because adopting pacifism should be a change of mind. At this point, war is here and we have to deal with it.

Imagine we as a country decide to take on a more pacifist nature and vow never to use force again. Now imagine The Muslim armies coming in, threatening to use force if we do not surrender. We have vowed that since pacifism is a thing of the future that we must do our part to get the ball rolling. At what price are we going to have to pay, if something like that happens? Our culture, our religion, and way of living would be drastically changed as well. In whose best interest would we be looking out for then? We feel obligated to take care of our country and the people that make it up and if we are threatened than it is justified to use force. Justifications for the use of force however have to be legitimate.

On a national scale, the Just War Theory has stood the test of time which does not make it right but it does show that it’s a system that works. May, Rovie and Viner believe the Just War Tradition “seems to capture, deep seated intuitions, held by many people in diverse cultures.” This theory is universal because there is agreement amongst all polititians. The Just War Theory is used in determining whether a war is just or unjust and if it is determined unjust, than going to war is not an option. With this theory in place, wars still do get started because both sides may feel that an unjustice has been done. With different views and perspectives it is impossible to come to a peace agreement which I also believe would be the case if Pacifism was law. The Just War Theory is put in place to stop unnecessary wars because as humans we have moral duties even to those that have done something wrong.

” There are two large categories of issues in what has come to be called The Just War Theory: Jus ad bellum- under what conditions can war be justifiably initiated. Jus in belio- what tactics may be justifiably employed in war?” (May, Rovie Viner)

A war can only be justifiably fought if discussion does not work or is impossible and if the reasons for war are to create peace. Cicero states ” there are two ways of settling a dispute: first, by discussion; second, by physical force; and since the former is characteristic of man , the latter of the brute, we must resort to force only in case we may not avail ourselves of discussion.” Discussion should be the way in which we handle all situations but some situations are unresolvable through discussion. Countries with different morals and beliefs very well have different opinions and stick by what they have grown to believe. When peace is not met through discussion than it will be survival of the fittest. The Just War Theory was not created to justify wars, it was created because we have to have a scale in which to follow in regards to what is acceptable or not. All wars are not justified, but war can be justified.

Humanitarian Intervention is also a case in which war may be justified. Fernando Teson defines Humanitarian Intervention as ” the proportionate international use or threat of military force, undertaken in principle by a liberal goverment or alliance, aimed at ending tyranny or anarchy, welcomed by the victims, and consistent with the doctrine of double effect.” I agree with Fernando Teson on the obligation and major purpose of states and governments to protect and secure human rights. “Governments and others in power who seriously violate those rights undermine the one reason that justifies their political power, and thus should not be protected by international law”(Teson) Being a human with rights holds you to certain obligations as a “rights” holder. “

We all have (1) The obligation to respect those rights; (2) the obligation to promote such respect for all persons; (3) depending on the circumstance, the obligation to rescue victims of tyranny or anarchy, if we can do so at a reasonable cost to ourselves.” (Teson) When these tyrants disregard the rights of humans on an extremist scale, it can then be justified to step in on behalf of the persons that are incapable of doing it themselves. Self-defense is the only internationally accepted reason to engage in war. I believe this is true, because states interract in almost the same way as people interact. We as individuals have the right to self defense because violating human rights is unacceptable. States are made up of individuals and when these individuals are harmed, the state has the right to defend itself from being attacked.

In the end, war is a dynamic concept, still evolving and adapting to changing social, political, and juridical realities. As the links of globalization of today’s society continue, one can only hope that the dialogue regarding “just war” will promote agreement with respect to a universal law of war that may ultimately be reflected in a universal idea of peace. With humankind’s constant need for improvement and while many view improvement in our own ways, we will continue to desire materialistic things. With this circle of desire for materiaslistic things, we are becoming more blind towards the things in life that can’t be bought. I believe that war cannot be stopped anytime in the near future because we as humankind do not understand our own human potential. We also believe that we are less when sharing and more when you stand alone and with this backward notion we will continue on this cycle. I suppose I conclude that I have no hope for humanity and that we are going to destroy ourselves inevitably. The theories of war and the justifications are intact to be as ethical and justified as possible in this war era. Right now the cycle of war continues and the notion of turning back time and repair the damage of the damage that has been is far past.

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