EthicsinWar - William Zornick Eng 102 Perez Ethics in War...

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William Zornick Eng 102 4/10/08 Perez Ethics in War With war being such a pervasive force in our culture, an important question to ask is when is war justified and when isn’t it? There are many factors to consider when asking this question, but the fact that we as humans have such a long track record of war to examine but still cant find a definitive answer speaks to the complexity of the question. However people have attempted to devise a Just War Theory to set guidelines of what make a war just. The Just War Theory introduced by James Turner Johnson is a respectable attempt to set proper guidelines to what make a war just. However the theory is compromised by a lack of depth, vagueness and excessive political correctness. His attempt to define a just war is as follows For jus ad bellum, the requirements are that the resort to force (1) have a just cause, (2) be authorized be a competent authority, (3) be motivated by a right intention, and (4) pass four prudential tests: it must (a) be expected to produce a preponderance of good over evil, (b) have a reasonable hope of success, (c) have peace as its expected outcome, and (d) be a last resort. The first requirement of just cause can be easily perverted. Although I obviously to not agree with this idea but to play devils advocate who is to say that from the terrorists perspective the attacks of September 11 th were justified by the attacks of the west on Islam and its people. This can be applied to many instances where, from our
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perspective groups of people were obviously in the wrong but perhaps from their perspective they were justified. It is difficult for Americans and people in the West as a whole to understand this but people in different cultures can be governed and live by different moral rules than we do and just because we do not live by them why do we have the authority to say that they are wrong. The second rule proposed by Johnson is that a competent authority must authorize war. The issue with this rule is that ultimately who has the authority to say that an individual must give their life for a cause that they may not believe in. In a perfect world participates in a war would have a conviction that what they were fighting for was just and proper and not mandated by a government authority. An example of this would be the American Revolution. The army fighting in the Revolution was truly a volunteer army. The soldiers who fought believed in what they were fighting for and those who didn’t simply chose to stay out. This is an over simplification of the event but is essentially correct. The army that the United States fields now is voluntary in the sense that a person chooses to enlist and not because of conscription. However in the sense that it is their duty to serve where they are sent, there is no room for moral objection. There is legitimate reasoning for this because the Army would be dysfunctional if it worked in the ideal.
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