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© Michael Lacewing Can war be just? Michael Lacewing

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1 © Michael Lacewing Can war be just? Michael Lacewing

2 ‘Realism’ Relations between states aren’t governed by justice - so the question of a ‘just war’ is beside the point Descriptive realism: states are simply not motivated by justice, but by national interest Prescriptive realism: foreign policy should not be governed by morality/justice, but national interest Why believe realism?

3 Pacifism War is always unjust, and therefore always wrong. –Strong: in principle –Weak: in fact Aggression by a state does not need to be resisted by war, as there are other means, e.g. civil disobedience –But these methods may only work if the aggressor is responsive to justice

4 Pacifism War always involves a violation of moral duties –Are pacifists concerned with ‘keeping their hands clean’? –The response that war is necessary, though unjust, is realism. Is it a violation of one’s duty to kill someone if you are resisting their aggression? No war has met the conditions of ‘just war theory’.

5 Just war? Three aspects: –Jus ad bellum – the justice of resorting to war –Jus in bello – just conduct in war –Jus post bellum – justice at the end of war

6 Jus ad bellum War must be in a just cause. For this, war must be declared by a legitimate state. The right intention for fighting the war is because it is in a just cause. The decision to go to war must be made with the proper authority and by a public declaration. The declaration of war must be a last resort. A declaration of war can only be just if the state can foresee a probability of success in resolving the conflict through war. The response of declaring war must be proportionate, i.e. the good that can be secured through war must outweigh the evil that will most likely occur.

7 Questions Can wars not declared by legitimate states be just? E.g. civil war, revolution Can holy war (jihad), intended to spread religious belief, ever by just? Must there be a good chance of success? Don’t people have the right to self-defence in all conditions? –Won’t this lead to misery without benefit?

8 Jus in bello Weapons prohibited by international law must not be used. Only combatants may be targeted. It is wrong to intend the deaths of non-combatants. Armed forces must use proportional force, i.e. proportional to achieving the end. Prisoners of war must be treated well. No weapons or means of war that are ‘evil in themselves’ are permitted. Armed forces are not justified in breaking these rules in response to the enemy breaking these rules.

9 Proportionality Proportional to what? Jus ad bellum: the degree of force that is justifiable is proportionate to the harm that is being threatened Jus in bello: military action must not use more force than is necessary to achieve their ends of eliminating the threat of harm In guerilla war, there is a mismatch –E.g. Palestinian rocket attacks v. Israeli tanks and bombs

10 Jus post bellum Less agreement. We can argue for the following: The rights whose violation justified the war should be secured. Just as the declaration of war must be publicly made by the proper authority, so must the declaration of peace. Proportionality governs both jus ad bellum and jus in bello, and so it should govern the peace settlement as well. It should be reasonable, not a form of revenge. The discrimination between combatants (including political leaders) and non-combatants still applies when seeking punishment. Public, international trials for war crimes should be conducted.


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