The Vietnam War created one of the most dividing periods of American history. Many saw the war as an unnecessary conflict that cost dearly in both money and lives. The United States’ involvement in the war was also considered to be unjustified. Despite the many difficulties faced during the controversial time, many activists raised issues in opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War because of its unjust nature with acts such as the high casualty rates, scorched earth policies, and the lack of an immediate threat.
Many, including the Catholic Church, judge the justifications of a war based on several factors given in the “just war theory,” which is used to evaluate the war based on its causes and means. The first required factor is a just cause, meaning that a nation’s decision to begin a war must be due to “substantial aggression” brought about by the opposition which cannot be resolved through non-violent solutions without excessive cost whereas armed conflict is not hopeless or excessively costly (“Just War Theory”1). In most cases, wars are started for a reason; however, many of these reasons are for the benefit of the governments who start the wars. The just war theory is widely accepted as a way to determine the moral standing of the reasons. This part of the theory is to ensure that the objective of a war is a reasonable and moral one. It prevents the needless bloodshed and loss of human lives over petty disputes while still protecting the rights and lives of the innocent by acknowledging the necessity of war in dire situations.
The just war theory allows for war to be declared in response to a case of substantial aggression; however, this is a vague term. To establi...
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...eflected the American standard to stand for one’s beliefs against oppressive authority.
Perhaps one of the most tragic results of antiwar demonstration happened at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, when forces of the National Guard opened fire on student protestors, killing 4 and wounding 9 (“Kent State Student Killings” 1).
In response to the unjust warfare committed in Vietnam, many activists rose to the challenge to oppose what they believed was wrong. Their activism has slowly changed the way the United States conducts foreign policy. Many forms of weaponry such as herbicides and napalm have been removed from use due to the outcry of their inhumane methods. The sacrifices that these activists made should serve as an example for modern and future American citizens to oppose unjust conflicts and war crimes regardless of the nation they are committed by.
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