War is a horrible thing. Can a horrible thing be governed by ethics? It can and must. Lest we become a blood-thirsty, warlike people, we should stop and think about what our government does in our name.
Let us consider the ethics of going to war – jus ad bellum – a just cause for war.
We should go to war only to correct the most grievous of injustices. Within civilized society, we should find a strong presumption against the use of force, an aversion to violence. We would expect that only the most extraordinary circumstances would override that inclination to not fight. The tragedy of 9/11 was a great blow to the people of the U.S. There was, understandably, great anger and outrage. The Taliban – a government on decent terms with the U.S. – proved incapable of quickly capturing and extraditing Bin Laden. In blind rage the U.S…
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