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Just War Theory:

Just War Theory By Betty Lopez-Mori Arizona State University POS 360 Dr. Brian Dille

Table of Contents:

Table of Contents What is the Just War Theory? Origins of Just War Theory The three phases of a Just War Criteria of Just War Theory Conducting a Just War Ending a Just War Alternative Theories Conclusion Sources

What is the Just War Theory:

What is the Just War Theory Just War is a specific concept of how warfare might be justified, typically in accordance with a particular situation, or scenario, and expanded or supported by reference to doctrine, tradition, or historical commentary. (Wikipedia, 2007) Just War holds that a nation can go to war only in response to the impetus of “ just cause, ” with force as a “ last resort, ” after all other non-military options have been considered and tried with its decision to go to war motivated by “ good intentions, ” with the aim of bringing about a “ good outcome. ” And it holds that a nation must wage war only by means that are “ proportional ” to the ends it seeks, and while practicing “ discrimination ” between combatants and non-combatants. Finally, the Just War Theory holds that the decision-making power for when, why, and how to wage war-including the declaration of war must rest with a “ legitimate authority. ” ( Just War Theory vs. American Self-Defense, 2006)

Origins of the Just War Theory:

Origins of the Just War Theory Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354-August 28, 430) was a Christian theologian and one of the first to introduced the Just War Theory. Augustine in his writings posed the question: Whether a Christian can ever justify killing another, given the Biblical imperative to “turn the other cheek.” Augustine’s answer to the question of justification was: One can use force, not to protect oneself, but to protect one’s neighbor.

The Three Phases of a Just War:

The Three Phases of a Just War Jus ad bellum – the justice of resorting to war in the first place Jus in bello – the justice of conduct within war, after it has begun Jus post bellum – the justice of peace agreements and the termination phase of war

Criteria of Just War Theory? Jus ad bellum:

Criteria of Just War Theory? Jus ad bellum There are six criteria to be met in the Just War Theory: Just Cause Comparative Justice Legitimate Authority Right Intention Probable Success Last Resort

Just Cause:

Just Cause Just Cause: The reason for going to war needs to be just, e.g. recapturing things taken, or punishing people who have done wrong; self-defense from external attack .

Comparative Justice:

Comparative Justice Comparative Justice: The injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other. Comparative Justice: The injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other.

Legitimate Authority:

Legitimate Authority Legitimate Authority: Only duly constituted public authorities may use deadly force or wage war, e.g. the U.S. President and Congress

Right Intention:

Right Intention Right Intention: Correcting a suffered wrong is considered a right intention, while material gain or maintaining economies is not. It should be morally appropriate.

Probability of Success:

Probability of Success Probability of Success: Arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measure are required to achieve success. Probability of Success: Arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measure are required to achieve success.

Last Resort:

Last Resort Last Resort: Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted.

Conducting a just war jus in bello:

Conducting a just war jus in bello The acts of war should be directed towards the inflictors of the wrong, and not towards civilians caught in circumstances they did not create. The prohibited acts include bombing civilian residential areas that include no military target and committing acts of terrorism or reprisal against ordinary civilians. Some believe that this rule forbids WMD of any kind, for any reason. The force used must be proportional to the wrong endured, and to the possible good that may come. The more disproportional the number of collateral civilian deaths, the more suspect will be the sincerity of a belligerent nation's claim to justness of a war it initiated. The overall destruction expected from the use of force must be outweighed by the good to be achieved. Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of minimum force. This principle is meant to limit excessive and unnecessary death and destruction. It is different from proportionality because the amount of force proportionate to the goal of the mission might exceed the amount of force necessary to accomplish that mission.

Ending a war jus post bellum:

Ending a war jus post bellum Just cause for termination - A state may terminate a war if there has been a reasonable vindication of the rights that were violated in the first place, and if the aggressor is willing to negotiate the terms of surrender. These terms of surrender include a formal apology, compensations, war crimes trials and perhaps rehabilitation. Right intention - A state must only terminate a war under the conditions agreed upon in the above criteria. Revenge is not permitted. The victor state must also be willing to apply the same level of objectivity and investigation into any war crimes its armed forces may have committed. Public declaration and authority - The terms of peace must be made by a legitimate authority, and the terms must be accepted by a legitimate authority. Discrimination - The victor state is to differentiate between political and military leaders, and combatants and civilians. Punitive measures are to be limited to those directly responsible for the conflict. Proportionality - Any terms of surrender must be proportional to the rights that were initially violated. Any attempt at denying the surrendered country the right to participate in the world community are not permitted.

Alternative Theories:

Alternative Theories Realism – the idea that there is no connection between morality and war. “Realists” hold that the war should be entered into and fought according to strictly “practical” considerations. Pacifism (anti-war-ism) – holds that the use of military force is never moral; rejection of war in favor of peace.


Conclusion After the 2003 invasion of Iraq the question whether the war was a just war was posed. Many of those on both sides of the debate made their arguments in terms of the Just War. They came to different conclusions because they put different interpretations on how the just war criteria should be applied. Supporters of the war tended to accept the US position that the enforcement of UN resolutions was sufficient authority or even, as in the case of the “Land Letter” (the Land Letter was a letter sent to President Bush by five evangelical Christian leaders on October 3, 2002 which outlined their theological support for a just war pre-emptive invasion of Iraq), that the United States as a sovereign nation could count as legitimate authority. Opponents of the war tended to interpret legitimate authority as requiring a specific Security Council resolution.


Sources Wikipedia – Just War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory Just War Theory (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) http://www.iep.utm.edu/j/justwar.htm BBC-GCSE Bitesize-Religious Studies/War and peace/Just War theory www.bbc.co.uk/print/schools/gcsebitesize/re/warpeace/justwartheoryrev2.shtml “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense, Yaron Brook and Alex Espstein http://theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-spring/just-war-theory.asp War – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/war/ The Bush Doctrine and just War Theory http://www.trinstitute.org/ojpcr/6_1snau.pdf

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