Explaining The Ethics Of War: Examples From The Fall Of Constantinople And The Afghanistan War - Grade 12 Philosophy Class - Assignment

2306 words - 10 pages

Ethics of War
Ethics of War
Ethics of War
Simal Gormus
Mr. Smith
November 30, 2017
The morality of wars has been discussed over the centuries and has been a critical subject. This essay examines the ethical aspect of wars by introducing the Just War Theory; its history and criterias, discloses the ideas of St. Augustine, Cicero, Hugo Grotius, Nicollo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes and Immanuel Kant about the reasons why and when a war should be waged and analyzing two widely known conflicts that have occured throughout the history of war: The Fall of Constantinople and The Afghanistan War.
Ethics of War
Human beings have been fighting each other since the prehistoric times, and the rights and wrongs of it have been argued for almost as long. Despite the undeniable fact that some wars have been fought for justice and peace, wars have always led to fear, destruction, and hatred. Causes of wars raised curiosity about the ethics of war by questions like;
· Is it ever right to go to war?
· When is it right to conduct a war?
· How can war be fought so that our moral standards are not violated?
These questions have been confronted for thousands of years by philosophers, political scientists and historians and led them to a doctrine called “Just War Theory”, which says that certain series of criteria must be met before a war is considered just. Just War Theory emerged from the writings of various ancient and medieval thinkers over the world as they sought to understand the morality of war. Eventually, a general agreement has been reached about the criterias that makes a war just. These criterias include;
· Just cause:
The aim of war needs to be in response to wrong or suffered. A war can be fought for self-defence, but not for national interests, such as revenge or acquiring power.
· Right intention:
The criteria of right intention is closely linked to the criteria of just cause. The primary purpose of a war must be to establish peace.
· Proper authority and public declaration:
A war can only be conducted if declared by a legitimate authority. Not only it has to be disclosed publicly, it also must be disclosed by the proper authority.
· A reasonable chance to success:
A war can be waged only if there is a rational chance of success. A nation cannot enter a war without a reasonable possibility of a favorable outcome.
· Last resort:
A war can be just only if all other means of avoiding a threat have been used up. These alternatives include: negotiations, economic sanctions, trade bans, etc.
· Discrimination:
The use of force must be limited by combatants. Innocent citizens must not be attacked and soldiers should always avoid harming civilians.
· Proportionality:
In order for a war to be just, it must not exceed the harm caused by the act (Paquette, P. G., & Gini-Newman, L., p. 289).
Many philosophers have argued the rightfulness of conducting war. According to early North African philosopher and Christian theologian St. Augustine, no matter...

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