Just War

Written by Sam Vaknin

In an age of terrorism, guerilla and total warfarerepparttar medieval doctrine of Just War needs to be re-defined. Moreover, issues of legitimacy, efficacy and morality should not be confused. Legitimacy is conferred by institutions. Not all morally justified wars are, therefore, automatically legitimate. Frequentlyrepparttar 126019 efficient execution of a battle plan involves immoral or even illegal acts.

As international law evolves beyondrepparttar 126020 ancient percepts of sovereignty, it should incorporate new thinking about pre-emptive strikes, human rights violations as casus belli andrepparttar 126021 role and standing of international organizations, insurgents and liberation movements.

Yet, inevitably, what constitutes "justice" depends heavily onrepparttar 126022 cultural and societal contexts, narratives, mores, and values ofrepparttar 126023 disputants. Thus, one cannot answerrepparttar 126024 deceivingly simple question: "Is this war a just war?" - without first asking: "According to whom? In which context? By which criteria? Based on what values? In which period in history and where?"

Being members of Western Civilization, whether by choice or by default, our understanding of what constitutes a just war is crucially founded on our shifting perceptions ofrepparttar 126025 West.

Imagine a village of 220 inhabitants. It has one heavily armed police constable flanked by two lightly equipped assistants. The hamlet is beset by a bunch of ruffians who molest their own families and, at times, violently lash out at their neighbors. These delinquents mockrepparttar 126026 authorities and ignore their decisions and decrees.

Yet,repparttar 126027 village council -repparttar 126028 source of legitimacy - refuses to authorizerepparttar 126029 constable to apprehendrepparttar 126030 villains and dispose of them, by force of arms if need be. The elders see no imminent or present danger to their charges and are afraid of potential escalation whose evil outcomes could far outweigh anythingrepparttar 126031 felons can achieve.

Incensed by this laxity,repparttar 126032 constable - backed only by some ofrepparttar 126033 inhabitants - breaks intorepparttar 126034 home of one ofrepparttar 126035 more egregious thugs and expels or kills him. He claims to have acted preemptively and in self-defense, asrepparttar 126036 criminal, long in defiance ofrepparttar 126037 law, was planning to attack its representatives.

Wasrepparttar 126038 constable right in actingrepparttar 126039 way he did?

Onrepparttar 126040 one hand, he may have saved lives and prevented a conflagration whose consequences no one could predict. Onrepparttar 126041 other hand, by ignoringrepparttar 126042 edicts ofrepparttar 126043 village council andrepparttar 126044 expressed will of many ofrepparttar 126045 denizens, he has placed himself aboverepparttar 126046 law, as its absolute interpreter and enforcer.

What isrepparttar 126047 greater danger? Turning a blind eye torepparttar 126048 exploits of outlaws and outcasts, thus rendering them ever more daring and insolent - or acting unilaterally to counter such pariahs, thus underminingrepparttar 126049 communal legal foundation and, possibly, leading to a chaotic situation of "might is right"? In other words, when ethics and expedience conflict with legality - which should prevail?

Enterrepparttar 126050 medieval doctrine of "Just War" (justum bellum, or, more precisely jus ad bellum), propounded by Saint Augustine of Hippo (fifth century AD), Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) in his "Summa Theologicae", Francisco de Vitoria (1548-1617), Francisco Suarez (1548-1617), Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) in his influential tome "Jure Belli ac Pacis" ("On Rights of War and Peace", 1625), Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1704), Christian Wolff (1679-1754), and Emerich de Vattel (1714-1767).

Modern thinkers include Michael Walzer in "Just and Unjust Wars" (1977), Barrie Paskins and Michael Dockrill in "The Ethics of War" (1979), Richard Norman in "Ethics, Killing, and War" (1995), Thomas Nagel in "War and Massacre", and Elizabeth Anscombe in "War and Murder".

According torepparttar 126051 Catholic Church's rendition of this theory, set forth by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory ofrepparttar 126052 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in his Letter to President Bush on Iraq, dated September 13, 2002, going to war is justified if these conditions are met:

"The damage inflicted byrepparttar 126053 aggressor onrepparttar 126054 nation or community of nations [is] lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success;repparttar 126055 use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver thanrepparttar 126056 evil to be eliminated."

A just war is, therefore, a last resort, all other peaceful conflict resolution options having been exhausted.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy sums uprepparttar 126057 doctrine thus:

"The principles ofrepparttar 126058 justice of war are commonly held to be:

The Disunited Nations

Written by Sam Vaknin

Arab nations plan to table a resolution atrepparttar United Nations General Assembly condemningrepparttar 126018 U.S.-British led "invasion" and "occupation" of Iraq and calling for immediate troop withdrawal. A similar effort atrepparttar 126019 Security Council last week failed, doomed byrepparttar 126020 veto powers of both alleged aggressors.

This is not likely to endearrepparttar 126021 organization torepparttar 126022 Bush administration whose hawks regard it as a superfluous leftover fromrepparttar 126023 Cold War era. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) even introduced legislation to withdraw fromrepparttar 126024 organization altogether. Nile Gardiner, a visiting fellow atrepparttar 126025 Heritage Foundation, summed up these sentiments in Insight Magazine thus:

"I thinkrepparttar 126026 U.N. has been in gradual decline for many years. It failed to act spectacularly in Rwanda and did nothing about Slobodan Milosevic's brutal regime. Iraq isrepparttar 126027 latest in a long line of failures."

Admittedly, like any bureaucracy,repparttar 126028 organization is self-perpetuating, self-serving and self-absorbed. But it - and its raft of specialized offshoots - still give back far more than they receive. In recognition ofrepparttar 126029 U.N.'s crucial role, several liberal Democrats have entered legislation to create a "permanent U.N. security force" and to "voluntarily contribute" torepparttar 126030 U.N. Population Fund.

Consider peacekeeping operations. At a total annual cost of c. $5 billion last year, U.N. peacekeeping missions employ close to 40,000 police and military and another 11,000 civilians from 89 countries. The budget is shoestring and more than halfrepparttar 126031 pledged contributions are still outstanding. The U.N. consumes less than 0.001 percent ofrepparttar 126032 world's gross domestic product. As James Paul, Executive Director of Global Policy Forum, observes:

"All UN staff, includingrepparttar 126033 specialized agencies and funds, are fewer thanrepparttar 126034 civil service ofrepparttar 126035 City of Stockholm orrepparttar 126036 staff of McDonalds. The core UN budget is one half of one percent ofrepparttar 126037 US military budget and far less thanrepparttar 126038 cost of one B-2 bomber aircraft."

Evenrepparttar 126039 United States Mission torepparttar 126040 United Nations, on its Web site, seeks to debunk a few myths. Despite a massive increase in remit and operations,repparttar 126041 organization's budget, at $2.6 billion, has remained constant since 1995. The workforce was cut by 11 percent, to 9000 employees, since 1997:

"The UN has done a great deal to increase efficiency and overall accountability. In 1994,repparttar 126042 UN createdrepparttar 126043 Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to serve asrepparttar 126044 inspector general and promote efficient management and reduce waste, fraud and abuse. Duringrepparttar 126045 year ended June 30, 2001, OIOS recommended $58 million in savings and recoveries forrepparttar 126046 UN and persuaded UN program managers to implement hundreds of recommendations for improving management and internal controls. OIOS investigations also led to successful convictions of UN staff and others for fraud and stealing UN funds."

Yet, bad - and expensive - habits die hard. Budget discipline is lax with no clear order of priorities. The United Nations suffers from an abundance of obsolete relics of past programs, inertly and futilely maintained by beneficiary bureaucrats. Follow-up U.N. conferences - and they tend to proliferate incontrollably - are still being held in exotic resorts, or shopping-friendly megalopolises. United Nations entities atrepparttar 126047 country level duplicate efforts and studiously avoid joint programming, common databases and pooling of resources.

The aforementioned OIOS has hitherto identified more than $200 million in waste and fraud and issued 5000 recommendations to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability. Disgusted byrepparttar 126048 flagrant squandering of scarce resources,repparttar 126049 United States - which covers one fifth ofrepparttar 126050 august establishment's pecuniary needs - accumulated more than $1.2 billion in arrears by 1999, doublerepparttar 126051 debts of all other members combined.

It has since repaidrepparttar 126052 bulk of these even as it reduced its share ofrepparttar 126053 United Nations' finances. It now contributes 22 percent ofrepparttar 126054 regular budget, down from 25 percent and 25-27 percent ofrepparttar 126055 costs ofrepparttar 126056 U.N. peacekeeping forces, down from 30-31 percent.

But a row is brewing inrepparttar 126057 corridors of power with regards torepparttar 126058 proposed budget for 2004-5. Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, United States Representative for United Nations Management and Reform, called it "a step backwards". The European Union, predictably, "fully concurred" with it and urged members to increaserepparttar 126059 budget in line withrepparttar 126060 U.N.'s enhanced responsibilities.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
ImproveHomeLife.com © 2005
Terms of Use