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Just War Theory in Fullmetal Alchemist

Clausewitz famously suggested that "war is the continuation of policy by other means. It fits in nicely with his own general definition of war as "an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will. It is a widespread and deliberate armed conflict between political communities. It is the entity or phenomenon falling under such a description which is the primary focus of this entry. Before spending some time discussing the core aspects of each tradition, let's declare, right from the start, the core conceptual differences between "the big three" perspectives.

The core, and controversial, proposition of just war theory is that, sometimes, states can have moral justification for resorting to armed force in the international system. War is sometimes, but of course not all the time, morally right. The idea here is not that the war in question is merely politically shrewd, or prudent, or bold and daring, but fully moral, just.

It is an ethically appropriate use of mass political violence. Realism, by contrast, sports a profound skepticism about the application of moral concepts, such as justice, to the key problems of foreign policy. Power and national security, realists claim, motivate states during wartime and thus moral appeals are strictly wishful thinking. Talk of the morality of warfare is pure bunk: ethics has got nothing to do with the rough-and-tumble world of global politics, where only the strong and cunning survive.

Pacifism does not share realism's moral skepticism.

For the pacifist, moral concepts can indeed be applied fruitfully to international affairs. It does make sense to ask whether a war is just. But the result of such normative application, in the case of war, is always that war should not be resorted to. Where just war theory is sometimes permissive with regard to war, pacifism is always prohibitive. For the pacifist, war is always wrong. Now let's turn to each of these three traditions. Just war theory can be meaningfully divided into three parts, which in the literature are referred to, for the sake of convenience, in Latin.

These parts are: 1 jus ad bellum , which concerns the justice of resorting to war in the first place; 2 jus in bello , which concerns the justice of conduct within war, after it has begun; and 3 jus post bellum , which concerns the justice of peace agreements and the termination phase of war. Just cause. A state may launch a war only for the right reason. The just causes most frequently mentioned include: self-defence from external attack; the protection of innocents; and punishment for wrongdoing. Vitoria suggested that all of the proffered just causes be subsumed under the one category of "a wrong received.

Aggression, simply put, is unjustified and harmful violence. The key principle underlying just cause, and just war theory more broadly, is the vindication of fundamental rights and the protection of those who have such rights from serious, standard threats to them, such as aggression. Self-defence, and other-defence, from rights violating aggression are thus prime just causes for resorting to war.


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These rights are traditionally understood as the rights of states to political sovereignty and territorial integrity: states have the right to make their own political decisions for their own people, within their own borders. Only if these rights are violated - for instance, through an armed invasion across the border - is a country justified in resorting to a war of self-defence in response. Other countries may join the war on the victim's side, since the aggressor forfeits its state rights when it violates the victim's. But what grounds the importance of these state rights?

States have state rights, to things like sovereignty and integrity, only because their individual citizens have human rights. People create, and adhere to, state structures in order to secure the objects of their human rights. Human rights are elemental entitlements we all have to basic human dignity and to the objects of vital human need. The human rights most broadly endorsed are those to life, liberty and subsistence, for instance as enshrined in the United Nation's Universal Declaration and subsequent International Covenants.

Following John Rawls, we might establish criteria of minimal justice MJ which a state must fulfil if it is to be entitled to state rights: MJ 1 it is able to rule its people in accord with law and order; MJ 2 it provides its people with secure access to the objects of their human rights; and MJ 3 it adheres to basic norms of international justice, notably respect for the rights of persons and other minimally just states. Thus, a state which commits aggression against the people of another country violates principle MJ 3, and thus fails to be minimally just.

Other Subject Areas

A minimally just state forfeits its right not to be dealt with harshly, as a matter of appropriate punishment and rectification. Right intention. A state must intend to fight the war only for the sake of a just cause. Having the right reason for launching a war is not enough: the actual motivation behind the resort to war must also be morally appropriate. Ulterior motives, such as a power or land grab, or irrational motives, such as revenge or ethnic hatred, are ruled out. The only right intention allowed is to see the just cause for resorting to war secured and consolidated.

If another intentions crowd in, moral corruption sets in. Proper authority and public declaration. A state may go to war only if the decision has been made by the appropriate authorities, according to the proper process, and made public, notably to its own citizens and to the enemy state s. Last Resort. A state may resort to war only if it has exhausted all plausible, peaceful alternatives to resolving the conflict in question, in particular diplomatic negotiation. One wants to make sure something as momentous and serious as war is declared only when it seems the only reasonable alternative to effectively punish aggression.

Probability of Success. A state may not resort to war if it can foresee that doing so will have no measurable impact on the situation. The aim here is to block mass violence which is going to be futile. Macro- Proportionality. A state must, prior to initiating a war, weigh the universal goods expected to result from it, such as securing the just cause, against the universal evils expected to result, notably casualties.

Only if the benefits are proportional to, or "worth", the costs may the war action proceed. Just war theory insists all six criteria must each be fulfilled for a particular declaration of war to be justified: it's all or no justification, so to speak. It is important to note that the first three of these six rules are what we might call deontological requirements, otherwise known as duty-based requirements or first-principle requirements. For a war to be just, some core duty must be violated: in this case, the duty not to commit aggression. A war in punishment of this violated duty must itself respect further duties: it must be appropriately motivated, and must be publicly declared by only the proper authority for doing so.

The next three requirements are consequentialist: given that these first principle requirements have been met, we must also consider the expected consequences of launching a war which seems justified according to first principles. Thus, just war theory attempts to provide a common sensical combination of both deontology and consequentialism as applied to the issue of war. Just war theorists insist that jus in bello is a category separate from jus ad bellum.

For even if a state has resorted to war justly, it may be prosecuting that war in an unjustified manner. It may be deploying decrepit means in pursuit of its otherwise justified end.

War in Political Philosophy - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics

Just war theory insists on a fundamental moral consistency between means and ends with regard to wartime behaviour: justified ends may only be pursued through justified means. Concern with consistency, however, is not the only, or even the main, reason behind the endorsement of separate rules regulating wartime conduct. Such rules are also required to limit warfare, to prevent it from spilling over into an ever-escalating, and increasingly destructive, experiment in total warfare. If just wars are limited wars, designed to secure their just causes with only proportionate force, the need for rules on wartime restraint is clear.

Even though modern warfare has displayed a disturbing tendency towards totality - particularly during the two World Wars - it does not follow that the death of old-time military chivalry marks the end of moral judgment. We still hold soldiers to certain standards of conduct.

Soldiers are only entitled to target those who are, in Walzer's words, "engaged in harm. While some collateral civilian casualties are excusable, it is wrong to take deliberate aim at civilian targets. An example would be saturation bombing of residential areas. Micro- Proportionality.


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Soldiers may only use force proportional to the end they seek. Weapons of mass destruction, for example, are usually seen as being out of proportion to legitimate military ends. No Means Mala in Se. Soldiers may not use weapons or methods which are "evil in themselves. Just cause for termination. A state has just cause to seek termination of the just war in question if there has been a reasonable vindication of those rights whose violation grounded the resort to war in the first place.

Not only have most, if not all, unjust gains from aggression been eliminated and the objects of the victim's rights been reasonably restored, but the aggressor is now willing to accept terms of surrender which include not only the cessation of hostilities, a formal apology and its renouncing the gains of its aggression but also its submission to reasonable principles of punishment, including compensation, war crimes trials, and perhaps rehabilitation.

A state must intend to carry out the process of war termination only in terms of those principles contained in the other jus post bellum rules. Revenge is strictly ruled out as an animating force. Moreover, the just state in question must commit itself to symmetry and equal application with regard to the investigation and prosecution of any war crimes its own armed forces may have committed on the battlefield. Public declaration and legitimate authority. The terms of the peace must be publicly proclaimed by a legitimate authority, which is to say the national government of the state victimized by the initial aggression, or perhaps an authorized international body.

In setting the terms of the peace, the just and victorious state is to differentiate between the political and military leaders, the soldiers and the civilian population within the aggressor. Undue and unfair hardship is not to be brought upon the civilian population in particular: punitive measures are to be focused upon those elites most responsible for the aggression. Any terms of peace must be proportional to the end of reasonable rights vindication. The people of the defeated aggressor never forfeit their human rights, and so are entitled not to be "blotted out" from the community of nations.

There is thus no such thing as a morally-mandated unconditional surrender. Any serious defection from these principles of jus post bellum , on the part either of the victim or the aggressor, is a violation of the rules of just war and so should be punished. At the very least, such violation of jus post bellum mandates a new round of good-faith diplomatic negotiations - perhaps even binding international arbitration - between the relevant parties to the dispute. At the very most, such violation gives the aggrieved party a just cause - but no more than a just cause - for resuming hostilities.

Full recourse to the resumption of hostilities may be made only if all the other criteria of jus ad bellum are satisfied in addition to just cause. Just war theory thus offers rules to guide decision-makers on the appropriateness of their conduct during the resort to war, conduct during war and the termination phase of the conflict. Its over-all aim is to try and ensure that wars are begun only for a very narrow set of truly defensible reasons, that when wars break out they are fought in a responsibly controlled and targeted manner, and that the parties to the dispute bring their war to an end in a speedy and responsible fashion that respects the requirements of justice.

Referring specifically to war, realists believe that it is an intractable part of an anarchical world system; that it ought to be resorted to only if it makes sense in terms of national self-interest; and that, once war has begun, a state ought to do whatever it can to win.

In other words, "all's fair in love and war. Prominent classical realists often mentioned include Thucydides, Machiavelli and Hobbes. It is important to distinguish between descriptive and prescriptive realism. Descriptive realism is the claim that states, as a matter of fact, either do not for reasons of motivation or cannot for reasons of competitive struggle behave morally, and thus moral discourse surrounding interstate conflict is empty, the product of a category mistake.

States are simply not animated in terms of morality and justice: it's all about power, security and national interest for them. States are not like "big persons": they are creations of an utterly different kind, and we cannot expect them to live by the same rules and principles we require of individual persons. States inhabit a violent international arena, and they've got to be able to get in that game and win, if they are to serve and protect their citizens in an effective way over time.

Morality is simply not on the radar screen for creations such as states, given their defensive function and the brutal environment in which they subsist. Walzer offers arguments against this kind of realism, contending that states are in fact responsive to moral concerns, even when they fail to live up to them. States, because they are the creation of individual persons, want to act morally and justly. Walzer goes so far as to say that any state which was motivated by nothing more than the struggle to survive and win power could not over time sustain the support from its own population, which demands a deeper sense of community and justice.

He also argues that all the pretence regarding "the necessity" of state conduct in terms of pursuing power is exaggerated and rhetorical, ignoring the clear reality of foreign policy choice enjoyed by states in the global arena. States are not frequently forced into some kind of dramatic, do-or-die struggle: the choice to go to war is a deliberate one, freely entered into and often hotly debated and agonized over before the decision is made.

And this is leaving unspoken the argument regarding the defiant, Machiavellian amorality behind certain kinds of realism, and the moral calibre of the actions it might recommend on this basis. For example, if it's all about power and winning in the competitive struggle, does that make it alright to unleash weapons of mass destruction?

Or to launch a mass rape campaign?

Philosophy of war

Just war theory suggests not, and just war theorists like Walzer want to claim that the rest of us agree. Prescriptive realism, though, need not be rooted in any form of descriptive realism. Prescriptive realism is the claim that a state ought prudential "ought" to behave amorally in the international arena. A state should, for prudence's sake, adhere to an amoral policy of smart self-regard in international affairs. A smart state will leave its morality at home when considering what to do on the international stage. It's important to note that a prescriptive realist might, in the end, actually endorse rules for the regulation of warfare, much like those offered by just war theory.

These rules include: "Wars should only be fought in response to aggression"; and "During war, non-combatants should not be directly targeted with lethal violence.

The Philosophy of War

Just war rules, the prescriptive realist might claim, do not have independent moral purchase on the attention of states. These rules are what Douglas Lackey calls "salient equilibria", stable conventions limiting war's destructiveness which all prudent states can agree on, assuming general compliance.

There might even be some room for overlap between this kind of realism and just war theory. Mention should straight away be made of a very popular just war criticism of pacifism which will not be used here. This criticism is that pacifism amounts to an indefensible "clean hands policy.

Helen Frowe

It is contended that the pacifist is thus a kind of free-rider, gathering all the benefits of citizenship while not sharing all its burdens. Another inference drawn is that the pacifist himself constitutes a kind of internal threat to the over-all security of his state. This "clean hands" argument is easily, and frequently, over-stated. It is important to note that, to the extent to which any moral stance will commend a certain set of actions or intentions deemed morally worthy, and condemn others as being reprehensible, the "clean hands" criticism can be so malleable as to apply to nearly any substantive doctrine.

Every moral and political theory stipulates that one ought to do what it deems good or just and to avoid what it deems bad or unjust. N2 - Arguing that the suffering of combatants is better understood through philosophy than psychology, as not trauma, but exile, this book investigates the experiences of torturers, UAV operators, cyberwarriors, and veterans to reveal not only the exile at the core of becoming a combatant, but the evasion from exile at the core of being a noncombatant.

AB - Arguing that the suffering of combatants is better understood through philosophy than psychology, as not trauma, but exile, this book investigates the experiences of torturers, UAV operators, cyberwarriors, and veterans to reveal not only the exile at the core of becoming a combatant, but the evasion from exile at the core of being a noncombatant.

Abstract Arguing that the suffering of combatants is better understood through philosophy than psychology, as not trauma, but exile, this book investigates the experiences of torturers, UAV operators, cyberwarriors, and veterans to reveal not only the exile at the core of becoming a combatant, but the evasion from exile at the core of being a noncombatant. Fingerprint Peace. Keywords PTSD drone war cyber war torture just war theory military ethics phenomenology existentialism. Palgrave Studies in Ethics and Public Policy.