16. Pacifism and the Just War Theory
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” As depicted in the quote by Ernest Hemingway war is a difficult situation in which the traditional boundaries of moral ethics are tested. History is filled with unjust wars and for centuries war was not though in terms of morality. Saint Augustine, however, offered a theory detailing when war is morally permissible. The theory offers moral justifications for war as expressed in jus ad bellum (conditions for going to war) and in jus in bello (conditions within warfare).The theory places restrictions on the causes of war as well as the actions permitted throughout. Within early Christianity, the theory was used to validate crusades as morally permissible avoiding conflict with religious views. Based on the qualifications of the Just War Theory few wars have been deemed as morally acceptable, but none have notably met all the requirements. Throughout the paper I will apply Just War Theory in terms of World War II as well as other wars that depict the ideals presented by Saint Augustine.
Conditions of Just War Theory
Last Resort: A just war can only be waged after all peaceful options are considered. From a diplomatic standpoint there are many other options in which conflict can be resolved. Often treaties are used to avoid war, however, the intention of resolutions should be to preserve moral justice rather than to avoid costly combat. The use of force should only be a last resort as a response to aggressive action.
In the case of the War on Terror waged by the United States against terrorist attacks the argument of a last resort is debatable. Because the attacks have yet...
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...fists can be uneffective in a war minded society. If an aggressor is attacking with no opposition, one cannot rely on the morality of the aggressors to halt the attack. Intervention of the attacks would be impermissible by the standards of absolute pacifism, as it would contribute to the overall amount of violence. The absolute pacifist would become a martyr for their beliefs, and without opposing the aggressive force societies would be annihilated. I believe while pacifism is morally better than war in terms of the amount of violence projected, and diplomatic negotiation should be the main solution to world issues, it is a commonality of society that war can potentially be the quickest solution to stop an aggressor. Although the notion of a Just War is unattainable, the causes of war as described in the theory set a standard for global leaders to promote justice.
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