Make sure you know the rules of engagement before reading on…
Anecdote or from adherents to Just War:
“There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will–warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, ‘It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.’ Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
“Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier–but do not dare say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all–will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”
― Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories (on Amazon)
Etymology of “Justice:”
Justice typically means “the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment.” From Old French, justice meant “legal rights” or “jurisdiction” meaning the limit of power and pulls this from the Latin iustitia meaning “righteousness, equity” from the iustus meaning “just.” The Old French version could even be used to refer to a judge, which transferred to English in the 1200s, and thus the phrase “justice of the peace” in the 14th century. The Latin iustitia is glossed over by the Old English influence of rehtwisnisse. To do someone justice means to render full and due appreciation. Thus, in every case, the term implies both a limit of power alongside a holy and good use of that power to achieve what is right.
Three famous people who adhered to this term
- C.S. Lewis
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- G.K. Chesterton
List of terms: Who? Where? When? Why? How?
- Who justifies wars? A war is just only if waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
- Where justify war? The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.
- When justify war? A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified. This follows for every stage of the war, antebellum, bellum, and post-bellum.
- Why justify war? A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause. Further, a just war can only be fought with “right” intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
- How justify war? A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable. The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.
Three positive tendencies of this term
- True just war theory creates a culture of diplomacy.
- True just war theory encourages the disarmament of principalities and powers
- True just war theory encourages protection of the innocent
Three negative tendencies of this term
- Can be naïve—there has yet to be a just war in the history of mankind
- Can be used to justify injustice rather than to seek justice in and around warlike or violent scenarios
- Few adherents actually stay here for long. They either end up as pacifists or practice their just war theory unjustly. Few can keep to this ideal consistently.
Just War as Christian Discipleship, Daniel M. Bell (on Amazon)