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A Blog on Minnesota and National politics, religion, news, and life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

BlogAClass: Political Science -- Just War Doctrine

Welcome back to the latest edition of BlogAClass, if you liked this category then smile, it's back. If you didn't like this category, smile and read it anyway. So, anyway, with new classes this semester I am taking the only political science class offered at this school, taught by Professor Allen Quist who wrote the book FedEd, which I blogged about before here and so far this is the best class that I have ever taken in my life. Quist also has a sequel to FedEd that just came out called America's Schools: The Battleground For Freedom, check it out. Sorry bout that, I just had to get in that plug for my prof's books, read them, they both are very good. Anyway, in class today we discussed the Just War Doctrine, which basically lies out what makes a war qualify as a "Just War". An interesting fact, apparently it was the Catholics that came up (or at very least populizied the idea or something) with the idea of "Just War" as you can see here and here (Frank J., maybe you can make a post out of that?). The notes that we took in class and discussed are below.

Just War Doctrine
(according to Richard Regan, NOT Ronald Reagan)
(based on Thomas Aquinas, Augustine et.al.)

1. Must be waged by a legitament authority. (properly elected government, not always a democracy though)
2. Must be waged for a just cause. (must be morally, ethically defensible)
a. Aim to prevent wrongful action by another country.
b. Harm inflicted should be proportional to harm prevented.
c. Invasion is prima facia just cause. (a.ka. using force to repel an invasion is always just if the other points apply)
d. There has to be a reasonable chance of success. (basically don't throw away lives, although this is kinda moot because reason dictates that you should defend yourself in invaded even if you can't succeed, unless you are the french, then your surrender preemptively just in case)
e. Any attack in international waters or airspace is prima facia just cause. (a.ka. provocative actions by another country)
f. Nations have prima facia just cause to help another country that is attacked.

Preventive or Preemptive Attacks
g. A nation does not have to wait to be attacked and put itself at a disadvantage against an aggressor.
h. Nor does a country have to wait until the aggressors has stockpiled deadly weapons.
i. Preemptive attacks must be based on solid evidence.
j. War should always be a last resort.
1. This does not mean that countries should allow endless negations.
2. This does not mean that countries should not try other means to accomplish objectives.
3. There are causes for intervention in internal affairs. (e.x. humanitarian concerns)
4. Just war requires the right intentions. (that is that leaders agree to the principles of just war)