Justifying War

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Nuclear warfare, Nuclear proliferation Pages: 8 (3496 words) Published: April 20, 2005
When a person sees all the grisly images of war on the television set they cannot help but think, "This has got to stop". But what reasons can this person justify their decision on? There are many people in the world who can only argue their opinion through what they see on TV, which of course is not what war is. In William Earle's essay "In Defense of War" and Trudy Govier's "Nuclear Illusion and Individual Obligations" we respectively see a pro-war and an anti-war opinion. We must differentiate between the two because Earle's essay talks about war in generalities but Govier focuses on the nuclear aspect of war. As with most essays discussing similar topics they have their similarities and differences and that will be a big part of discussion here. Subjects referring to the morality and justification as war and exactly what we can use to justify it are some of the few things that will be mentioned. These will also be discussed in ethical terms and what part of ethics they fall into. Along with this will be an analysis of why each essay falls into its given category. The strengths of each essay will be mentioned as well as the weaknesses and a comparison as to which is the stronger essay and which is the weaker essay will be provided. The most important part, however, is the basic understanding of the message that the author is trying to get across. These main points will be highlighted throughout the paper when discussing the essay in question along with the provided evidence that accompanies the argument. Finally, a personal take on the subject from me will be provided just to clarify any discrepancies about what is written. I am writing this (aside from the fact it is a major assignment) in hopes that the reader will take these questions seriously and be able to look at both sides of the debate rationally and without fallacy.

It only seems appropriate to start this out with Williams Earle's essay, "In Defense of War". I stand beside him when he provides his opinion because I share the same attitude on this subject. In a nutshell, Earle provides a provocative look at the opposition's view towards war which is the anti-war opinion. It appears that Earle is not like most writers trying to defend his own argument with his own ideas but what he does is position his argument that war is necessary by unveiling the ideas of the pacifists. He gives us reasons why most people are with this group and it is because media has provided such a false look at the concept of war. When a person sees the consequences of war on their TV (which is usually dismembered bodies and bloodshed) they do not realize that TV is confined to showing what can be shown since it cannot offer any picture to the thought of war. The media does not provide a real look at what war really is. Earle criticizes the underlying presuppositions of pacifism as well as tracing the harmful consequences of it. He believes that the principle of pacifism is absurd and morally deplorable. Ideally, war is evil and peace is good. This is the perspective that pacifism takes. The supposed pacifists who Earle says are retired baby doctors, neurotic poets and novelists, psychoanalysts, ministers and confused philosophers claim they have some sort of "special insight" that allows them to speak out for the suffering of humanity. In doing so they eliminate the careful political thought and emerge with slogans that are supported by massive demonstrations and the exchanging of insults. Since they see no justification for war they believe that there has to be a cause and in turn a solution to the problem. Earle believes the justification needed for war is in fact its own cause. Pacifists trash around for explanations of why bad things happen. They constantly spout out reasons for this. All in all, the assumption of these explanations is that there can be no moral justification for war at all. It is pure evil and since man is naturally good there must be...
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