Vietnam War and Just War Theory

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October 21, 2010
Saint Augustine v. Vietnam
America saw many changes in the sixties as the younger generation found their voice. Amidst all the excitement and change the civil rights movement brought to the country there was still one haunting force that many Americans feared was lurking just outside of our boarders. Americans were plagued with the red scare, the extreme fear of communism. Americans trembled at even the sound of names of communist dictators such as Mao Zedong from China, and Nikita Khrushchev from the Soviet Union. As communism spread throughout southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, Americans began to fear that it was only a matter of time before communism leaked into the American society. As the communist forces of North Vietnam aided by Mao and the Chinese began to invade South Vietnam the Americans felt it was time to take a stand. Under the command of President Lyndon B. Johnson America dove head first into what many consider to be the most controversial war in American history.

Compared to St. Augustine’s Just War Theory, Americans have the right to question the purpose and intention of the Vietnam War. Jus ad bellum discusses the conditions under which a country is required to state before they are allowed the right to warfare. According to St. Augustine, a war must be declared by the political authority of a certain political system. The United States never declared war on the North Vietnamese or the Chinese. Instead the Americans declared that they were policing the area, this violated the first part of the jus ad bellum called just authority. Secondly, and perhaps the most controversial part of the Vietnam War is the just cause. This clause states that not only must a country have a just cause, but they must also state the cause. Later in this clause it states that the defense of an ally against an aggressor is a just cause. The Americans claimed this to be the cause for the sending of troops to Vietnam. The last part of the jus ad...
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