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‘There Are No Just Causes for War’ Essay

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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‘There are no just causes for war’

Many argue that there are just reasons for going to war however others state that there are no just reason at all, some reasons to go to war can be fighting for human rights or defending your religion however these can be overseen due to the amount of innocent people who die during war.
A just reason for war may be to restore or protect human rights. Many people will claim or demand for better human rights and will want to oppose anyone who will go against them, this is a just reason for war as people are standing together and uniting as one to get what they want which is a better life. Augustine said that a just cause for going to war was ‘defending from attack’, if human rights were violated citizens may feel attacked and under threat therefore in order to restore peace they will have to go to war as they will see this as the only sensible response. The general rule is that only those people fighting you are legitimate targets of attack. Those who are not fighting should not be attacked as this would violate their human rights.
Another just cause for going to war is self-defence; the clearest just cause is acting against an aggressor, for example in an invasion, many people are patriotic and would rather die instead of giving up their country to invaders therefore will start a war as a sense of self defence. Augustine said that a just cause for war was ‘recapturing things taken’; this view can be used here as invaders would be trying to take over the country or take something which represents the country. Augustine also said that ‘punishing people who have done wrong’ is a just cause for war therefore as invaders are doing the wrong thing by invading land which is not theirs they should be punished. The just war theory can be also in a situation such as invasion as the legitimate authority will be involved and will also be fighting in addition to this the people would be fighting to restore peace. If a war was not carried out here the oppression an in justice of people will make the just war theory immoral as the aim of the theory is to make peace however people living under oppression will not be living in a peaceful place.
A reason why war can be unjust is the thousands of innocent people who would die and be injured without being involved in the situation. The sanctity of life can be argued here as God has made every human sacred and the protection of all the people will not be possible. Ambrose and Augustine both said that reprisal killings and massacres are forbidden, also there is no justifiable cause for the loss of human life, however the existence of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction requires a different approach to the problem as using these weapons guarantees civilian casualties, and thus breaks the basic rule of the just war theory therefore we can criticise the theory as instead of making peace we will be killing the innocent and the cause of the war being proportional to the consequences would be highly unlikely, in modern warfare it's difficult to ensure that only soldiers get hurt, for despite the effectiveness of precision weapons civilians are often hurt and killed. The just war theory also tends to make violence look ok instead of restraining it completely.
In conclusion there are many reasons why war is unjust however we can also see that there are also just reasons. The just war theory shows that that war is justifiable as a last resort to create peace however because war usually leads to the deaths of many innocent people it destroys any chance of making peace.…...

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