From: The Libertarian Review
‘Just War’ Doctrine Abandoned in America
Throughout the last 2000 years, humanity has been violent, many wars have been fought for many reasons, and much of humanity has adhered to Christianity. The very fact that wars occur, even among Christian nations, was a horrible thought, as Christianity is very clear that its adherents were to be peacemakers.
This dreadful dichotomy between the ideals and goals of peace, and the reality and harshness of life and the ‘necessity of war’, has meant that Christian thinkers from very early on had to grapple with the issue. We are commanded that murder is wrong by the Ten Commandments. Yet we also know that we have a responsibility to defend our families, communities have a responsibility to protect the citizens in them and, of course, that governments have an obligation and responsibility to protect and defend their people and enforce justice among the members. The taking of human life is wrong.
Therefore, Christianity worked out the Just War Doctrine, that laid out the various issues related to justice and war, and even though its foundation is Christian in origin, it is such a useful doctrine that any country can use it whether Christian or not, and it is extremely helpful in many areas of human relationships, not the least of which is foreign relations. …
Wikipedia’s entry on the Just War Doctrine is useful for further information.
The Seven Tenets of the Just War Doctrine:
- 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.
By these principles, that build upon one another, you can begin to see in how many ways our current foreign policy and reasons for war have violated the tenets that Americans, people of western civilization and Christians in general have held for years.
The first thing that is made plain: There is NEVER a justification for PRE-EMPTIVE war. All of America’s friends, allies and even the enemies took note that America had abandoned tradition and history and decided to go to war pre-emptively. That means that ANY COUNTRY, any leader, any provocation of any type could bring war down on their heads without recourse to diplomacy, negotiations, third party interventions. It made America DANGEROUS AND UNPREDICTABLE. It made our enemies step up their preparations for protective and possibly aggressive warfare. It also gave other countries an out and out justification to strike at us without warning, by any means they may choose.
It has put America and Americans in the greatest danger we have EVER been in.
The Just War Doctrine holds human life, and the well being of societies, to be of primary importance, and that the only point to war is to address damage that has been done already to a people and to return everyone to a state of peace as rapidly as possible.
The Constitution of the United States actually embodies the Just War Doctrine, implicitly if not explicitly. …
Entire Article Here
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