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The origins of human aggression and just war theory

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  1. Introduction.
    1. Critics of just war theory.
    2. Just war theory and the accountability of political leaders for their actions.
  2. The first mandate of jus ad bellum (Latin for Justice to war).
    1. The Vietnam War and the 'Domino Theory'.
    2. The current war on Iraq.
  3. The second aspect of jus ad bellum - Intended goal of war should be peace.
    1. The US's failure to uphold the Geneva Agreements.
  4. The third aspect of jus ad bellum - legitimate authority.
    1. War declared by those ?responsible for the public order?.
    2. Iraq War and global legitimate authority.
  5. The Fourth aspect of jus ad bellum - war must be an absolute last resort.
    1. The failure of the Vietnam War and the Iraq War to fulfill this principle.
  6. Proportionality in jus ad bellum.
  7. Relative justice - crucial to jus ad bellum.
    1. Cold War propaganda depicting Reds as demonized nonhumans in Vietnam.
  8. Having a reasonable hope of success.
  9. Conclusion.

Critics of just war theory will remind people of its theoretical nature and inability to prevent a war. While this is certainly true, in that politicians in power are unlikely to attempt to use just war theory to prove that their cause is just before entering a war, the theory enables philosophers and war critics to evaluate a past or ongoing war by a concrete set of standards. Just war thinking is not new by any means and was carried out by Augustine and Aquinas, and, though the former stressed love even in violence while the latter stressed natural justice, both agreed that ?right intention and just cause? must be present in a just war (Cahill 197). These two concepts have since served as the core of just war theory doctrine through the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the eighteenth century (where the focus was more on right to war rather than justice in war), and today (Cahill 197).

[...] These are the seven principles of jus ad bellum in just war theory, and by utilizing them; I was able to give ample evidence to support my argument that both the Vietnam and Iraq War are unjust on every level of analysis. Not only does just war theory provide a practical and logical standard to evaluate a war by, but it forces its users to examine every aspect of a war before making a conclusive decision that a war is or is not just. [...]


[...] In Vietnam, the Cold War propaganda depicting Reds as demonized nonhumans who were so deceitful they could live right next door to a Democrat without his/her knowledge was still fresh in the minds of Americans and in media representations. In both the Iraq and Vietnam War, the US exhibits a total lack of relative justice in its shocking belief that it can actually run another country's government and in its pomposity to act as though, because it is a world superpower, must assert its authority everywhere? (Uncovered An aspect of jus ad bellum which has become very important in modern warfare is having a reasonable hope of success. [...]


[...] Considering that the cause for the Iraq War lacks either of the two requirements for a just war and that, in actuality, the White House felony to distort information to the Senate,? as John Dean points out, there exists no rationale for the current war, let alone a just cause (Uncovered A second aspect of jus ad bellum is right intention; intended goal of war must be peace? (Berry and Hoovler 2). While this principle is certainly open to debate, as a warring country may have the right intention of promoting peacefulness and yet fail to do so, there is still ample evidence to suggest that both the Vietnam and Iraq wars' primary intention was not to establish ?just and harmonious relations, habits of trust and good will, and equitable sharing of power? (Berry and Hoovler 2). [...]

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