ultimate goal of a just war is to reestablish peace. More specifically,
the peace established after the war must be preferable to the
peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
state of permanent control and lack of freedom is a real possibility.
To kill democracy in an attempt to save it will be a tragedy.
It is highly debatable that the goal of the terrorists is to
wipe out western civilisation (we must be aware of the difference
between a concrete goal and a vague wish). Take the Irish analogy.
The IRA has the goal of bypassing the democratic process and
imposing minority rule in Ulster. This may be despicable, especially
in regard to the methods in which they are using, but it is
not aiming to overthrow the established order on the British
mainland. We have to be clear as to what the goal of the Islamic
terrorists is, and assess just what we are prepared to lose
in countering it.
is a secondary issue, and that is the impression that terror
can force changes. In a sense it is easier to react to Islamic
terrorists in this way as they are aiming at massive US retaliation,
and indiscriminate bombing will give them precisely what they
want. However it is an odd situation, because if we let the
idea that terror must not be allowed to change our course make
us steadfastly stay in a situation that we would have pulled
out of otherwise, well they have changed our course.
must also remember that the ultimate goal is to establish peace,
and a permanent
war will not establish peace.
violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury
suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary
to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.
em until they glow is not proportional to what happened at
the World Trade Centre.
weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and
noncombatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war,
and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians.
is not a doctrine of just war that the West finds easy to maintain,
as we saw in Serbia. We must remember that one of the goals
of the fundamentalists is to radicalise Arab opinion, and the
indiscriminate bombing of civilians will do just that. Pragmatism
as well as justice demands a clinical strike.
Is To Be Done?
is not clear what sort of response, if any, should be carried
out. I believe that a strike against bin Laden's organisation,
if it has a chance of success and if it has been proved that
he was behind it, would be justified as it would remove a threat
to the United States. However an act of war merely to "let
off steam" would be unjustifiable, as well as counterproductive.
idea that war should be conducted within a moral framework may
seem like a quaint medieval practice, but as speech separates
humans from the apes, so morality separates civilisation from
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