Examine The Conditions Laid Down For The “Just War Theory”

778 words - 4 pages

Examine the conditions laid down for the “Just War Theory”.
The “Just War Theory” was first put in place by St Augustine. He was ordered by Emperor Constantine, a Christian, to posit a theory that makes violence a legitimate Christian practice. Many Roman soldiers had converted to Christianity, and since ostensibly Jesus preached non-violence, “turn the other cheek” many did not want to fight.
Augustine divided his theory into two parts, just reasons for going to war, and just actions during war. He called these, Jus Ad Bellum and Jus In Bello. The first criteria for Jus Ad Bellum is Just Authority, it must be ordered by a competent and legitimate authority. For example in the Bible, it ...view middle of the document...

For example in Matthew, it says “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”. This is just because it only affects the people that actively want to go to war, making it fair in a way. The Bible also says it is a abhorrent crime if there is “shedding of innocent blood”. Another criterion of Jus In Bello is proportionality. This means the measures used must be humane and fitting. This corroborates with the Geneva Conventions which bans the use of dum-dum bullets, bullets that expand on contact, in warfare.
A fourth condition for a just war is that there must be some likelihood of success. There is no justice, it is held, in a government resisting a superior power only for its people to be utterly crushed. For a war to be just, the chances of it achieving its aims must be significant. One problem with the notion of Pacifism is that if war is always rejected, it will be easier for an aggressor to invade it. Many argue that nations have a moral obligation to protect their citizens. Peter Vardy agues the UN may be the right body to decide on whether the Just War criteria apply. He argues this would only work if it was, “truly unbiased”.
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