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Just Wars
the great beautiful eye
arkadelos wrote in reasoned_voices
This is a debate I love to have and to listen to. What is the difference between a just war and an unjust war? Liberals think that all war is evil and therefore unjust, while conservatives believe that there are just reasons for war although they acknowledge that some wars are unjust and immoral. Any war requires the enemy to be dehumanized, but this dehumanization process facilitates savage behavior and also atrocities. Because of this, it is very important to understand the difference between a just war and an unjust war; without any understanding, all wars are painted with the same brush and look the same. So, what do you believe qualifies as just and unjust?

Um... when you reply, please don't mention Hilter or much from WW2. Few wars are as obvious as from that time period.

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Just or unjust war is not about making statements about our strength or about our way of life.

Let's say Canada attacks Alaska.

A just war must be fought carefully, where we target only combatants who've entered into Alaska and are currently causing deaths of Alaskans. If they's moved into Alaska but have not killed anyone yet, then we form a front of some type to stop that advance. We don't just annihilate the Canadian troops. And if they have killed people, we don't just bomb that area if it meant that more innocents would be killed than is necessary.

As little damage as necessary.

And then after we move them back or defeat their advance, appropriate sanctions are taken against the Canadians, war crimes prosecuted, etc.

That seems to be a start to looking at a just war of some sort...

So, the only wars are defensive wars? What about the civil war? Even though the south attacked first, they believed they were defending themselves against an oppressive government.

If people from India decided to immigrate due to overpopulation and lack of opportunities - and especially if their desire to better their lives forced them to displace smaller and weaker peoples, resulting in a war - would you consider this war just or unjust?

Everyone thinks their own cause is a just cause.

How are we going to determine whether any particular claim is indeed a just claim to start a war or to wage a war in offense or defense? We need some way to determine the moral validity and necessity of WAR as opposed to some other means of addressing the supposed dispute.

We also have to consider what the intentions of the war-starters are. One could fight for the just cause of preventing oppression, as you said, but if they want that oppression taken away so that they themselves can then choose to be oppressive, it becomes clear that a just cause alone is not enough. It must be done fairly, for reasons that would be right.


Also... what about General Sherman leading his troops to burn and pillage the southern states? Would that make the northern side unjust? Then again, atrocities occur in every war...

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