Just War Essay

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The Libya, Obama and the Just War Theory
There is no doubt that philosophy can be applied to everything from politics, to government, to our personal relationships. In today’s world, however, it is difficult to simplify everything into theoretical whims of Cicero, Plato, and Kant. The Libya, Obama and the Just War Theory is a blog post written by a man under the alias “Doctor Cleveland.” Cleveland provides us with a prime example of an archaic theory being used to justify decisions made in a complex and highly political conflict. Cleveland argues that Obama’s decision to become involved in Libya can be rationalized through the “just war theory,” which states that war can be justified if it meets certain criteria. While he agrees that there are grounds on which a person could object to the Libya strikes such as “diplomatic reasons, military reasons, pragmatic reasons, reasons of consistency, even Constitutional reasons,” he argues that American involvement in Libya fits absolutely within the traditional philosophy. Because Cleveland cedes that there may be practical arguments against U.S. attacks in Libya and because I had always been a fan of weighing the philosophical soundness of a decision, I have accepted the challenge to counter Cleveland’s arguments purely on philosophical grounds. Cleveland attests that U.S. attacks in Libya meet the criteria because are countering a high magnitude of evil, that force being used by the U.S. is proportional to the harm that could otherwise be incurred, and finally that the threat is imminent. Although Cleveland thoroughly explains what each of these criteria mean in theory, he fails to link them directly to the conflict in Libya. This is in part due to his poorly structured argument, and in part due to the fact that he is taking on the impossible task of rationalizing war. The first condition Doctor Cleveland provides to justify war is that it must combat a certain magnitude of evil. An obvious problem one would foresee...
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