Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Just War

Norm discusses some people talking about the Law of war, here. They write in the Just War' tradition, epitomised my Michael Walzer in his Just and Unjust Wars
, which explores the aspects of war into just causes of wars, and just means of wages wars.

To my mind, this are incompatale objecives: if a war is worth fighting, if it has been deemed worth the indiscriminate loss of life essential and inherent to war, then any artifical limitation on the means of waging the war becomes unjust. If there are actions which may contribute to ultimate victory sooner rather than later, to fail to take the is a insult not only to lives already given in the war, but also to the justice of the actual cause of the war. That much seems clear, to me.

After all, the reality is that war is immorality, dress it up how you will It is the decision to behave towards a community or an organisation in a way which would be considered unacceptable within a community/oranisation. War means that the innocent, utterly innocent, will die - and that includes uniformed soldiers who may have had no hand nor involvment in the original causus belli. Strictly speaking, a just war would only be fought with precise lists of targets, with public sanction for the reasons why it was permissible to kill the. A really just war would see senior government figures going after each other with knives.

That was the medieval way - after all, that is the period where most 'just war' theory is stuck - a time where the personal really was political, and the moods of the king were seismic in import.

Daid Rodin's book War and Self-Defense explores this distinction, and more. It questions the idea of a just cause for war - at least, the self-defence justification. It notes that self-defence which, while it applies to individuals, cannot really applyto countries. Are minor border infractions really a matter worth killing over? Is it worth killing over who gets to set the parking regulations? Or where constituecies are drawn up?

Of course, self defence stretches to defending agressiveinterests, overseas investments in other countries, or claims and titles to certain properies.

The reality is that just war theoryis a post-hoc rationalisation for the actuality of war and its rational place in the competetive military complex that is the modern world.


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