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Ethics & Warfare

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Todd Robinson UIUC

on 4 February 2014

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Transcript of Ethics & Warfare

Ethics & Warfare
Is it ever right to wage war?
Humans have been fighting for thousands of years, but why?
Biological factors
Byproduct of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) and the modern state system (the constructivist approach)
Lack of policy alternatives
When is it right to wage war?
Just War Theory
Jus ad bellum: the conditions under which the use of force is justified
Jus in bello: how to conduct war in an ethical manner
Arguments Against Just War
Non-violence approach - argues that war is an inefficient means to resolving disputes, suggests taking positive actions instead (winning over the hearts and minds)
Pacifist approach - the use of violence is immoral, period.
Against Just War Theory Specifically
Fog of war makes moral judgements difficult
The aim or war should be to achieve victory as quickly and cheaply as possible, often goes against the mroal way of conducting war
CBRN weapons goes against Just War, yet we have them
Other Religious Views of War
For Islam, war is permitted
in self defense situations
when other nations have attacked an Islamic state
if another state is oppressing its own Muslims
For Judaism, some kind of war is ethically justified, but only after there has been a genuine attempt to make peace
For Buddhists, war is never an acceptable means of resolving issues
Hindus (although this is a generalization) believe that it is permissible to use force in self-defense situations
Just War and Syria's Use of Chemical Weapons
According to Just War theory, is it right to intervene in Syria? Why or why not?
Key Questions
Is it ever right to wage war?
When is it right to wage war?
What is the moral way to conduct war?
Origins of Just War Theory
Largely based on Christian philosophy
Tries to reconcile three things:
taking life is wrong
states have a duty to defend their citizens, and defend justice
protecting human life and defending morals sometimes requires a willingness to use force
What is a Just War?
The war must be for a just cause
The war must be lawfully declared by a lawful authority
The intention behind the war must be "good"
All other ways to resolve the issue must have been exhausted
Must be a reasonable chance of success
The means used must be proportional to the end that the war seeks to achieve
How do you Fight a Just War?
Innocent people and non-combatants should not be harmed
Only appropriate force should be used
Internationally agreed upon conventions regulating war must be obeyed
What is a Just Cause?
Assassination of leader
Attack on national honor
Attack on state religion
Economic attack
Preemptive strike
Assisting an invaded friendly nation
Human rights violation
Punish an act of aggression (debatable)
Full transcript