Just War Essay

Topics: Laws of war, Thomas Aquinas, Jus ad bellum Pages: 3 (1166 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Just War

In general, war is a very controversial and complicated series of events, but war still is a very sad last resort for humans. The statistics of how bloody and dreadful war can show the gruesomeness of this act. In armed conflicts since 1945, ninety percent of casualties have been civilians compared to fifty percent in the Second World War and ten percent in the First. The planning and execution of war remains controlled by men, but women and children are the main victims of violence in war. 160 million people died in wars during the 20th century. One can prove whether a war is worth fighting for, or is just, by the war meeting certain conditions. The war must be for a just cause. A lawful authority must declare the war. The intention behind the war must be good. All other ways of resolving the problem should have been tried first. There must be a reasonable chance of success. The means used have to lead to the end of war. These beliefs and statements have come from a variety of sources that comes all the way back to Augustine of Hippo. He personally believed one could both be a soldier and serve God and country with love. Of course, he wanted violence to be prevented as long as possible, but he still thought God gave them the sword for a reason. He wanted Christians to be able to protect peace and fight off the wicked. Augustine even went as far to say that it would be a sin not to protect oneself when violence is the only answer. Although Augustine did not break down the specific criteria for just war, Thomas Aquinas did. Born nine hundred years after Augustine, Thomas Aquinas was an extremely influential philosopher and theologian. Using Augustine’s pass statements, he stated three of the six criteria. They stated: a war must be waged for a good purpose, not self-gain, just war must be properly controlled by the state, and peace must be a central motive in war. The School of Salamanca wished to expand on Thomas’ beliefs and statements. They...
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