When War Mongers Rule There Can Be No Peace
Are Any Wars Just? I Can't See It!
I was born a few years after the Second World War had ended. Nobody questioned whether or this war, WWII, that is, was "Just." Who cared? It was an ugly situation that everybody, on both sided, probably was happy to ended.
World War One had been fought at an earlier time in history and it appears that nothing was learned from this war. Nobody talks about WWI that much. Nobody seems to know or remember anyone who fought in WWI.
Notice that I am only mentioning the Korean War, in passing, here, because it actually happened. I am not going to attempt to apply "Just War Theory" to this war because I am not sure that anybody cares about this war anymore. The Korean War has never ended by the way. No one has won this war yet. "Won?" What does this mean? Are there ever any winners in war?
For example, "The American Civil War" was declared over when the Confederate side of the war supposedly surrendered. However, anybody with any intellectual abilities at all, who live is the South, presently, will tell you that the War between the States are still being fought. It is a "Cold War." There are Blue States and there are Red States. I know people, a good many people, actually, who seriously believe that the South will one day rise again.
Getting back to our concerns about "Just Wars," lets read what an influential philosopher and theologian named Thomas Aquinas had to say about Just Wars. I just picked him from a list of scholars that I know of from history because it will be easy for you to learn more about him if you want to.
Thomas Aquinas helps us by giving us some kind of standard to apply when thinking about a just war. He says:
1. A just war must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state. (Proper Authority is first: which is peace for the sake of man's true end--God.)
2. War must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain (for example, "in the nation's interest" is not just) or as an exercise of power. (Just Cause: for the sake of restoring some good that has been denied, i.e., lost territory, lost goods, punishment for an evil perpetrated by a government, or even the civilian populace.)
3. Peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence. (Right Intention: an authority must fight for the just reasons it expressly claimed for declaring war in the first place. Soldiers must also fight for this intention.
Thomas Aquinas has helped us, above, to start thinking of war in a more civilized manner.
The School of Salamanca evolved from arguments that were presented to us by Aquinas. This School of thought reasons that war, given that war is one of the worse evils suffered by human-kind, ought to be resorted to only when it is necessary in order to prevent an even greater evil. This School holds fast to the thought that a diplomatic agreement is preferable to fighting a war.
The School of Salamanca believes that a "just war" is fought:
1. In self-defense, as long as there is a reasonable possibility of success.
2. As a preventive war against a tyrant who is about to attack.
3. As a war to punish a guilty enemy.
One may ask, "Why have I presented readers with all this information about Just Wars?" My argument is that politicians, that is, leaders of nations and even Congress-people in or own Senate and House of Representatives may not have a good understanding of what constitutes a Just War. Our Congress has the authority to declare war, even a war that may lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Ought not men and women, in a powerful Congressional office, have a working knowledge of what constitutes a Just War?
Other important factors must be keep in mind before making decision to go to war. A war is not legitimate or illegitimate simply based on its original motivation: it must comply with a series of additional requirements:
1. It is necessary that the response be commensurate with the evil; use of more violence than is strictly necessary would constitute an unjust war.
2.Governing authorities declare war, but their decision is not sufficient cause to begin a war. If "the people" oppose a war, then it is illegitimate. The people have a right to depose a government that is waging, or is about to wage, an unjust war.
3.Once war has begun, there remain moral limits to action. For example, one may not attack innocents or kill hostages.
4.It is obligatory to take advantage of all options for dialogue and negotiations before undertaking a war; war is only legitimate as a last resort.
Before ending this dialogue, it must be said that, "expansionist wars, wars of pillage, wars (to convert infidels or pagans(politically incorrect terms such as infidels and pagans are used here for lack of better words for making this serious point)), and wars for glory are all inherently unjust."
I could go on and on writing about this issue but I am not. The pictures that I have included in this discourse gives one "fuel for thought." Look at all the fighting that is taking place upon our globe today. Are these wars just or unjust wars? How serious are they? Eventually some of these conflicts will lead to the use of nuclear weapons. It is just a matter of time. God help us when this happens! Live on earth will never be the same again one once the nuclear war-headed missiles start to fly.