Can wars ever be just?

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    Whilst wars often seem to be unavoidable, or fought to reduce the number of lives left in the long term, there are also many people killed as a result of them. Obviously there is a moral issue with anyone being killed, especially in higher numbers, so this primarily relates back to an argument of whether the end justifies the means,.

    But by this extension, can wars ever truly be just, if lives are lost during? And if yes, at what point do they cross a line into being unjustifiable?
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    (Original post by shadowdweller)
    Can wars ever be just?
    I don't think there's one answer that applies to all wars. The Vietnam War might not have been the most justified, perhaps. But other wars were definitely justified. Can you imagine what would have happened if Hitler was left to have his way?
    Just my two pennies worth
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    Need a war to end an unjust war
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    Yes, of course wars can be justifiable. Personally I think it would have been wrong if everyone had just let Hitler go about his murderous business.
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    I suppose that if by a just war you mean a war that can be justified then yes, all wars can be justified, so all are just. Spuriously, perhaps, but they can still be justified.
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    No war is just, nor is any war unjust. People like to quote some wars such as vietnam as unjust, or other wars such as WW II as just, with no or little regards to the actual cause of those wars. For example many people claim WW II was just 'cos hitler' without any real understanding WW II wasn't actually caused by Germany's racism at the time, rather more food shortages, imperialist aggression from france and britain between the wars and a western superiority complex.

    You then have an issue of whether violence is ever justified? If you believe it is, then it's hard to argue that wars are unjust. That's presuming morality is a real thing.
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    (Original post by shadowdweller)
    Whilst wars often seem to be unavoidable, or fought to reduce the number of lives left in the long term, there are also many people killed as a result of them. Obviously there is a moral issue with anyone being killed, especially in higher numbers, so this primarily relates back to an argument of whether the end justifies the means,.

    But by this extension, can wars ever truly be just, if lives are lost during? And if yes, at what point do they cross a line into being unjustifiable?
    In your post you say there are moral issues with anyone being killed. I agree, and only a moral people will wrestle with those issues. The problem is that, especially in the West, what is and isn't moral seems to be open for debate. In an atmosphere where morals are questioned and seen as relative no war can ever be seen as just.
    Some in the West hold that the only moral or just war is one in which you are fighting against your own annihilation. In such a war there are no unacceptable numbers killed just as there are no rules of engagement. WWll is an excellent example. It was total war. The Germans lost only because their Army was totally destroyed. The war with Japan ended because the U.S. developed a weapon which promised Japan more casualties then they were willing to accept.
    It should come as no surprise, when a people who have had their morals and values questioned and challenged for a number of years, have little interest in a protracted conflict or one where a large number of casualties are expected. An army who sees only opportunity and can justify war by some historical injustice or perhaps an affront to it's honor, hold a tactical advantage.
    To see how this questioning of values and the belief that morals are changeable can have an effect on the world, look at D-Day. Do you think the West would have the stomach for 3000 dead in 3 days,(not sure of exact numbers)? After all, no country could function under the war reparations imposed on Germany and the Germans were so fond of the Rhineland. By the time we were through debating it, Europe wouldn't be worth the numbers of casualties that would be expected.
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    Yes, Iraq war
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    Justice is the state of affairs that you believe should be imposed by war, so war can "ever" be just by definition. If you believe violence should never be used, you have no theory of justice.
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    (Original post by DanB1991)
    No war is just, nor is any war unjust. People like to quote some wars such as vietnam as unjust, or other wars such as WW II as just, with no or little regards to the actual cause of those wars. For example many people claim WW II was just 'cos hitler' without any real understanding WW II wasn't actually caused by Germany's racism at the time, rather more food shortages, imperialist aggression from france and britain between the wars and a western superiority complex.
    I don't understand the parallel between the first sentence and the rest of what you wrote. People being ignorant on a subject really has very little to do as to whether a war is 'just or unjust'.

    And I'd like to know what this 'imperialist aggression' was? Can you explain that comment? How did imperialist Britain push Germany into war?

    Ironic, you appear to be rather ignorant on the subject.

    This blaming France and the UK whilst absolving Germany is entirely baseless as far as I can tell.
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    (Original post by Pinkberry_y)
    Yes, Iraq war
    I almost spat my drink out with that joke
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    Can you imagine a world without war?
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    These are just a few points I came up with -1) A war can be just if the purpose of the war is for the greater good of the majority. One may say that this is morally unfair which is on some level true, however the world is ours to define what is and what is not fair and so if the war benefits the majority, then in my opinion, it is fair. For example, with the Second World War, this was fair as though Hitlers campaign for an Aryan Race and a supreme Germany may have benefitted some, it antagonised many and the west as that time made a decision for the benefit of the majority. 2)A war can be just if it is done when all other reasonable and diplomatic options have been exhausted. In a sense, it is the last resort to achieve a certain outcome and thus can be justified. 3) Lastly, a war can be just if the opposition posses an immediate and direct threat to the nation, leaving the nation with no other quick enough and reasonable option to respond with violence thus resulting in war. This is my general opinion, though I do not dispute the disheartening fact that innocent lives would be lost, I believe the ends justifies the means in some situations.
 
 
 
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