7 Discrimination The use of force must be discriminate ie a distinction must be

7 discrimination the use of force must be

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7 Discrimination – The use of force must be discriminate, i.e., a distinction must be made and upheld between combatants (who may be intentionally targeted) and non-combatants (who may not be intentionally targeted) . It is important to keep in mind, however, that these last two criteria, i.e., proportionality and discrimination, are usually understood to be part of jus in bello (justice in war, that is, how the war is conducted, how and against whom lethal force is used), which we will take up next week, rather than part of jus ad bellum (justice of war, i.e., the conditions which must be satisfied in order to go to war). THAT BEING SAID, ALL SEVEN CRITERIA MUST BE SATISFIED IN ORDER FOR A WAR TO BE JUST. Okay, now let’s return to the three conditions specified by Aquinas. 1. Declared by a Legitimate Authority - The first condition requires that for a war to be just, it must be declared by a legitimate authority. The idea here is that the state, and the state alone, is charged with protecting its citizens from threats internal and external . Thus, it retains exclusive power to wage war . Also, if the individual has a dispute or conflict, it can appeal to the state to settle it. But if the state has a dispute or conflict, there is no authority above it to which it can appeal for resolution. Thus, the state, unlike the individual, retains the right to wage war and employ violence as a last resort to settle those conflicts and disputes that cannot otherwise be resolved . But giving the power to declare war exclusively to the state or its leaders does lead to the following question, namely, what about those instances where the state itself is the source of the threat to its citizens? In such cases do the citizens not 2
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have a right to take up arms and revolt? Can they not justly declare war? Take the American Revolution, for example. Did Thomas Jefferson and his cohorts not have legitimate authority to declare their independence and war with Merry Old England? If wars must be declared by heads of state, by governments, in order to be just it would seem that they did not, and as such, this would be a recipe for maintaining the status quo, for maintaining power in the hands of those who for whatever reason already have it. Here it might be helpful to recall that John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government , with which the founders of our country were quite familiar, recognized the right to tyrannicide, i.e., the right to resist and overthrow a government that has become tyrannical. Interestingly, Locke derives this right from the principle of forfeiture. In short, he argues that the government by transgressing against its citizens has forfeited its right to power. As to why the legitimate authority must make formal declaration, the reason is that the formal declaration serves to put the enemy on notice that war will begin, unless the dispute is otherwise resolved. Thus, by announcing the state’s intention to go to war, a last opportunity is given to the enemy to seek a peaceful resolution.
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