Cicero and War

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Cicero

HSM 311 Ethics & Homeland Security
Instructor:
6/19/11

Cicero wrote a great extent on his concept of a Just War, yet his theory can be summarized into three simple rules. The first condition for a just war as proposed by Cicero is that there must be a valid or just cause. Cicero believed that a just cause includes the defense of honor as well as the restoration or upholding of peace. In other words, if ones honor is at stake or being attacked, Cicero would deem it just for war to be waged. St Augustine Christians should be pacifists in their personal lives. But he routinely argued that this did not apply to the defense of innocents. In essence, the pursuit of peace must include the option of fighting to preserve it in the long-term.

The second condition for a just war is that the declaration of war must be left in the hands of the highest authority of state. Yet Cicero places conditions even in the states authority to declare war saying that war can only be declared, “after an official demand for satisfaction has been submitted or warning has been given and a formal declaration made,” Therefore in Cicero’s perception, if war is declared the opposing side must be well aware and informed. This condition rules out wars that are declared in secrecy or wars, which are fought in which the aim is to catch the enemy off guard. St Augustine concurred with Cicero in that war should not be preemptive, but defensive, to restore peace.

Cicero’s final condition for a just war is that the war itself should be waged justly. Cicero believed that there must be humane treatment of all combatants no matter which side they are on. Cicero, who had a feeling of hatred toward war realized that the concept of warfare will continue to exist amongst human beings. Therefore he set out to create the criterion, which is known today as the Just War theory. Cicero’s aim was not to...
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