Essay on Moral Justification for War

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Moral Justification for War

Most wars often result from a combination of several different and diverse causes. Three of the most causes of conflicts are over resources, struggles for power, and clashing ideologies. The conflict over resources can be argued as the most basic as well as the most enduring cause of war. The resources often include land, energy sources as well as important geographic features.
Wars are not a stranger to humans; it is critical to understand to note that indeed wars have been fought since human beings have existed. However, the main issue that will be discussed in this paper is whether indeed there exists a moral justification for war. This paper argues that indeed there is a proper justification and that there are times when war is the only choice on the table, and it should be carried out in order to ensure that the greater good prevails in the world.

A war is only just if it is fought for a reason that is justified and which carries sufficient moral weight. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that the country that wishes to use military force that must be demonstrated that there is indeed a just cause to do so.

The main just cause when it comes to war is to put a right a wrong. It is critical to understand that indeed sometimes a war fought to prevent a wrong from happening might be considered a just war.
For example, should the United States attack Iran it if learns that it has began to enrich uranium to the level needed for a nuclear bomb. It is critical to understand that there is no decision that is more fateful than the decision to employ military force. Except in the most clear-cut cases, the decision to go to war is often very difficult.

Therefore, as a result, the just war theory has for many centuries guided many policy makers regarding the war, however, the just war theory is too subjective as it confines today’s real-world threats.
The rights-based justification for war does not only rely on any particular religious belief, but it is often consistent with any Judeo-Christian assumptions about human rights as well as the principles of humanity. Every person possesses the right not to be killed. Therefore, the ultimate source of human rights is arguable. Despite the source, there is a need to understand that each and every person possesses different rights.
Therefore, if one is walking down the street and someone confronts them with the gun, then the person that is being confronted has the moral right to use violence against the person to protect themselves. This is because by being in a conscious state and deciding to violate the right of another person not to be killed, the man forfeits his bubble of rights. The concept of forfeiting the right also applies to different situations of coming to the defense of another person. Therefore, in war, a soldier is just a defender.

Therefore, it can be argued that indeed soldiers continue to possess their bubbles as long as they direct their violence at the people that have already forfeited their right not to be killed. Enemy combatants are the ones that have lost their bubbles and this they do by threatening the rights of those who possess them.

It is critical to understand that even if the enemy soldiers are not at the time of engagement threatening anyone, the combatants still stand for an unjust cause and therefore, they can be said to be morally permissible targets because they happen to be operating as a larger part of a larger organism-which is an unjust threat (Kaempf 29).
This is the reason as to why military uniforms often include both the individual name as well as the organization/state where the name acts. This, therefore, shows that indeed the soldiers act like both individuals as well as elements of a collective entity.

Unfortunately, there are times where war is the best available policy option. The argument that the goal is worthy, and often war is the best option for pursuing it should be strong enough to be able to garner both domestic and international support.

It is important to note that indeed the case to go to war should be persuasive that using military force will accomplish better for people at a lower cost as compared to sanctions, inaction and the use of diplomacy.
There are several just and moral cases of war that have been introduced in recent times. The first is the invasion. This is, in fact, one of the clearest examples of a just cause. This is because it acts as self-defense against an aggressor (Kaempf 18).

For example, it is important to understand that when an enemy has crossed the one’s borders and has invaded the territory, then war is justified. It is important to understand that there are several situations that might exist that might cause war, and they often depend entirely on the severity of the case.

For example, the assassination of a prominent person such as a president or monarch, an attack on national honor, economic attack, preemptive strike or an attack on an ally might be a case for war. However, there is a need to have proper justification and both domestic and international support to enter into war.

In the year, 1993, the US Catholic Conference defined a just cause for war as force which might be used only to correct a grave and public evil such as an aggression or massive violation of the basic right of the whole population (Lamb 21).

There are three groups of people. Therefore, that might be in line for punishment, they include the whole people of another country, private individuals of another country or the leaders of another country. It is important to note that indeed a war of punishment can only be just if it in proportion to the crime and it existed as the only way to achieve the desired end.

Another justification and moral reason for war are the violation of human rights. There are several ways that can be used to expand this idea. The first is that war is just a force is it is the only way to stop the triumph over evil.
However, the definition of evil is often difficult to define and since not all the potential enemies can be described as evil such as Hitler’s regime that existed in World War II. A war is just to put rights act that shock the moral conscience of mankind. This formula is most certainly important and helpful as it states that indeed war is just when it comes to dealing with things that would almost shock everyone.
It is, therefore; simply ignorant to believe that indeed the world can be able to co-exist with others as it is the rule of nature to stride for the advantage over the rival. If there existed no competition to be the best, which is to say, there is a best.

However, there are those that are against war arguing that it has no moral justification. They argue that indeed the approach to justifying and killing in war and starting a war requires that the war is just. This is a stumbling block, and this is because the bubble theory often rejects the long held tenet of the just war tradition where the soldiers on both sides of the war are regarded to as moral equals.
This is because they are often equally innocent of responsibility for the war, but they are equally guilty of threatening each other. Therefore, it is important to understand that the claim of moral equality when it comes to war between the unjust aggressor and the just defender treats each and every soldier that exists in the battleground as an innocent aggressor.

Therefore, this reduces the justification of war to the moral equivalent of gang warfare- that there is nobody that is wrong because all are wrong (Shue, 27). Therefore, all the soldiers in war have lost their bubbles of not being killed.
For example, is the man of the family where a bomb hit and killed his family in Iraq obligated to fight against the United States Army? Does he have the moral responsibility to avenge his family by killing the enemy indiscriminately? These are some of the questions that are posed by those that argue that war can never have a moral justification.

However, should the world stand and see leaders massacre their people, should the world be silent when leaders such as Saddam Hussein kill his people indiscriminately. There is nobody that denies that war is bad and wrong, but sometimes that is the only option that exists on the table.

In conclusion, a war is only just when it is fought for a reason that is justified and which carries sufficient moral weight. Therefore, it is critical to understand that indeed the country that wishes to use the military force should be able to demonstrate that indeed there was a just cause to do so. The bubble theory shows that when an aggressor decides to attack, he or she gives up his bubble of the right to be killed.
This is the same when one is helping an ally, by the attacker giving up the right to be killed, an ally might help out by defending the person being attacked. However, those that are against a war argue that indeed all the soldiers in the battlefield often carry the same moral weight and consequently they are moral equals in the field.

They are, therefore; innocent aggressors and they represent a situation where there is nobody that is right because everybody is wrong (Shue, 31). However, there exists several important reasons for war that are considered just and they include invasion, assisting an invaded nation, to punish an act of aggression and human rights violation. Therefore, I do believe that indeed war can be morally justified.


Shue, Henry, and David Rodin. Preemption: Military Action and Moral Justification. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Lamb, Antony. Ethics and the Laws of War: The Moral Justification of Legal Norms. , 2013. Print.
Kaempf, Sebastian. "Postheroic U.s. Warfare and the Moral Justification for Killing in War." Future of Just War : New Critical Essays. (2014): 79-97. Print.