war and peace

Topics: Ethics, Just War, Morality Pages: 4 (1122 words) Published: April 6, 2014
War seems to be the most destructive and horrific type of human interaction. No other venue allows people to kill each other in such massive numbers or to cause such incredible and widespread suffering. Wars often take years to develop, can last for years longer, and the effects reverberate for decades if not centuries.

If war is so awful, why do people continue to allow it to happen? Why don't we simply eliminate it? Curiously, some people actually seem to like war. Armed combat is glorified in song and story, with many throughout history praising "martial values" for making us better, stronger, and more worthwhile human beings (even as we kill other human beings).

To the average person in society today, however, the prospect of war is often very depressing. People don't feel like they are in control of their own destinies and fear that the decisions of far away political leaders will take them all to the brink of destruction - a prospect made much more likely in a world of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

One thing which may restore to people some semblance of confidence is to participate more actively in the discussion about the morality of war. No particular war can be adequately justified without us first having gone through the question of whether and how any war can ever be justified morally (and if so, how and why). Perhaps we cannot assume the actual decision-making authority, but we can frame the context for those who do make the decisions.

When your country goes to war, it does so in your name. Should it? How do you feel about that?

What is War?
Of course, evaluating the morality of war generally or of any war in particular requires some idea of what "war" is. Some may 9/11 and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have left many people baffled and concerned. This interdisciplinary study of the ethics of war provides an excellent orientation not only to present, but also to future conflicts. It looks both back at...
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