Well I was reading a thread here on the justification of the American Civil War. This got me thinking. Has there ever been a truly just war? If so what made it justified? Are there any ways it could have been unjustified? Sorry if this is a bit of a broad topic. Thanks for all replies.
Diogenes didn’t subscribe to just war theory (it wasn’t even yet invented). The if the city was at war, then the war was just. It didn’t take much to get the barrel rolling with that guy.
But as far as just war with respect to the Church… hmm… I would say very few were just. The problem with making a list is that every single war seems to have people on both sides of whether it is just or not. The Church didn’t take a position in the two world wars, so I doubt there was anything just about them. Dropping an atomic bomb on a cathedral was rather unjust. The American Civil War, I think, was almost the closest thing we have to a just war (that was a major conflict), and it really was a defensive war, so we had all our bases covered on that deal (the government did anyway).
There were a few small conflicts I would consider just. Ending the Balkans conflicts was a just war, in my opinion. I also happen to think doing something to keep Gaddafi from perpetrating the genocide he threatened was a just cause, but I am not convinced it was waged justly.
And that’s where it really gets messy. Because I don’t think it is feasible for a nation state to justly wage a just war. It’s perfectly possible in theory, but the reality is too ugly. Simply getting your nation into a just cause is not so difficult. But you also have to wage the war in a certain way with certain constraints on objectives, tactics, and strategies. The minute you have prisoner abuses, or zealous targeting of structures where there is likely to be a high civilian casualty ratio, you wander into injustice territory.
Just War’s are somewhat rare. Furthermore, even if somebody’s cause in a war is just, that does not mean that they fought it in a moral way.
For instance, the allies cause in World War 2 was just(even though it could have been avoided years before), but despite there just cause they did plenty of immoral things. Such as the bombing of Dresden and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Civil War was an extremely unjust war from the Union perspective that was also fought in an unjust way through things like pillaging the livelihood of civilians and etc.