War and Peace

Philosophy of War and Peace

Part I.

Preconditions for a Just War by Alexander of Hales

  1. The person declaring the war must be sane. The person must understand the terms and conditions of the war. He or she must be aware of the impacts and have to be of sound mind when making any decisions regarding the war.
  2. Must have power to declare the battle. Justice can only be administered by individuals who have been empowered by the legislative bodies or jurisdiction of the society. Individuals who do not have authority from the law are prohibited from taking any action meant to pursue justice.
  3. Must not be a member of the clergy. A clergy member is ordained for religious services and thus may be limited by doctrines from waging war against those who inflict injury.
  4. Must have precise intention. The war must be objective and should aim to redress on issue in society.
  5. Individual upon whom the war is raised against must deserve it. The person to whom war is declared must have caused an injury or inflicted harm to another individual.
  6. The motive of the war is to eliminate evil, instill harmony and endorse the best interest of the community. The consequence of the war should be better than when the war had not occurred that is, should make a difference. For instance, individuals should enjoy the harmony after the war better than when the war had not occurred.

Preconditions by Thomas Aquinas

  1. Must have power to declare the battle. Justice can only be administered by individuals who have been empowered by the legislative bodies or jurisdiction of the society. Individuals who do not have authority from the law are prohibited from taking any action meant to pursue justice.
  2. Must have the precise intention. The war must be objective and should aim to redress on issue in society.
  3. The motive of the war is to eliminate evil, instill harmony and endorse the best interest of the community. The consequence of the war should be better than when the war had not occurred that is, should make a difference. For instance, individuals should enjoy the harmony after the war better than when the war had not occurred.

Excluded preconditions

  1. The person declaring the war must be sane.
  2. Must not be a member of the clergy.
  3. Individual upon whom the war is raised against must deserve it.

Difference in estimation between defensive and offensive wars

War is said to be defensive if carried out to combat unfairness likely to occur. On the other hand, an offensive war arises where the unfairness has already taken place and the war aims to amend the unfair act (Nardin, 1996 p 20). For instance, a good example of an offensive war is the act of a police officer arresting a wrongdoer in accordance to the law. In this setting, unfairness and injustice has already occurred to the victim. The arrest and punishment will aim to maintain order in the society.

They based their views on the following statement by Aquinas:

‘Just as rulers rightly use the sword in lawful defense against those who disturb the peace within the realm, when they punish criminals, so too they rightly use the sword of war to protect their polity from external enemies’ (Nardin, 1996 p 20).

John Finnis, believe that the rulers of any world government have no right to inflict a punishment on the offender and argument he uses

Punishment should be inflicted with the aim of restoring fairness between the perpetrators and law abider. Private punishment is considered unjust and vicious. The world rulers do not have the kind of accountability for inflicting punishment. Those in the authority should instead encourage offensive war which aims at redressing unfairness. They should thus maintain and restore fairness between the perpetrators and the law abiders or between the perpetrator and those who suffer from their wrong doings (Nardin, 1996 p 21).

He uses the following argument: ‘how can they punish if they are not world rulers or even international rulers and so lack the type of responsibility that grounds acts of punishment- responsibility for maintaining and restoring a balance of justice between wrong doers and their victims?’(Nardin, 1996 p 21).

Part II

Central Claim of Prescriptive Realism and Difference from the Central Claims of the Just War Theory

The central claim of prescriptive realism states that the activities of the government should not be governed by a set of social rules, customs, traditions, beliefs or practices which specify proper, acceptable forms of conduct. It means that prescriptive realism does not highly consider the aspect of morality. Some elements of morality such as prevention against hostility at some instances compromise the society’s well-being. This claim is different from the central claims of the Just War Theory in that realism aims to prioritize on morality concerns focusing on social rules, customs, beliefs and practices of the society in Just War (Nardin, 1996 p 54).

Realist Perspective as a Challenge to Other Traditions of Thought about the Ethics of War and Peace

Realist perspective presents a powerful challenge to other traditions due to the fact that it does not focus on morality (Nardin, 1996 p 55). Other traditions of thought place morality as a priority which may be a threat to maintenance of order in societies.

Ways Can This Challenge Be Stated or Developed

The challenge can be develop in the following three ways:

  1. In accordance to ‘ius ad bellum’ where realism states that stringent compliance to law and moral preventions against hostility which compromise the society’s well-being.
  2. In accordance to use in ‘ius in bello’ where realism states that all wars must have casualties.
  3. Realism stipulates states that there are limitations on war but societies must not observe them in intense periods.

Reasons Why Some Realists Believe That the Pacifist Rejection of War Is Not Only Imprudent and Also Immoral

‘For a man who wants to make a profession of good in all regards must come to ruin among so many who are not good’( Nardin, 1996 p 58).

Many pacifists do not advocate the use of force when it comes to waging war for the welfare of others in the state thus allowing harm to prevail thus receiving a conflicting approach from the realists (Nardin, 1996 p 58). Realists believe that pacifism should be adjudged as it allows harm to prevail in the state. Its refusal to use coercion in preventing downfall for a few instead causes a downfall to all others.

 Most Important Grounds for War

The important grounds for war include self-preservation and self-defense. Realism therefore seems to be more accommodative of placid negotiations. Realists have more willingness to allow aggression unlike other traditions which focus more on embracing moral values in the society (Nardin, 1996 p 58). The set social rules, customs, beliefs or practices which specify proper acceptable forms of conduct are not upheld by realists. Another important ground for war considered is aggression. Realists are not willing to condemn hostility in the society. They therefore fail to endorse war on religious, moral or legal grounds since they limit their level of hostility and violence (Nardin, 1996 p 61).

Why St. Augustine Is Regarded As a “Christian Realist” And ‘The Real Evil of War” For Augustine

St. Augustine is regarded as a Christian Realist since he changed the point of view relating to the principles of right and wrong in regard to war from purpose to reason of doing something and later on implied that since human beings cannot be free from sin, what is important is alignment with the laws set by a nation (Nardin, 1996 p 64).

The real evil of war according to Augustine was that some soldiers kill people on purpose out of selfish ambitions such as hatred and brutality rather than due to obedience of the set laws of their nation. Some soldiers are thus mischievous (Nardin, 1996 p 64).

 Essential Guiding Principles for Realists in the Conduct of War

Principle of Discrimination

The principle prohibits people from purposely attempting to cause damage or injury to another who is harmless in intent or has no responsibility for a wrongful act (Nardin, 1996 p 68). At war, it is therefore important to be free from bias as some people may intentionally harm the others who are unaware of the reasons behind the occurrence of the war.

Principle of double effect

It stipulates that a person must not harm another who is harmless in intent so as to reach a set target (Nardin, 1996 p 68). One should be concerned about other human beings despite him or herself even when the intended purpose is not achieved.

How Realists Defend Their Central Claim That “Morality Should Not Always Govern the Conduct of States”

Morality should not be prioritized when it comes to governance of the progress of states.  Governance should be based on consideration of self-preservation and utilitarian focus. The states should ignore or fail to consider all the requirements set out by the religious bodies, morality and utility (Nardin, 1996 p 69). Realists should maintain that the state should adhere to the provisions of morality but can choose to go against them in times of emergency or community crisis. They place little or no observance to morality when it comes to governance of state

Reference

Nardin, T. (Ed.). (1996). The ethics of war and peace: Religious and secular perspectives (p. 286). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

 

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