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Just War Theory and ISIS
Townhall.com ^ | September 13, 2014 | Steve Deace

Posted on 09/13/2014 10:07:07 AM PDT by Kaslin

In our constitutional republic there are two criteria for determining if an action by government is moral and/or legal. Would U.S. military action against ISIS, which has become the face of evil in the world at the moment, meet that criteria?

The first criteria is the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God." This requires the action committed by government to be moral, which means to be in accordance with natural law. This natural law requires military action to be morally justified given the human toll at stake. Dating all the way back to Augustine's City of God, this is what's more commonly known today as "just war theory."

There are seven components to Just War Theory. Let's take a look at each and see if military action against ISIS applies.

Just Cause

ISIS has already kidnapped and beheaded two Americans in full view of the world. How many Americans do they need to kill for a U.S. military response to be justified? They have also declared war on the United States, and have already demonstrated in Iraq and elsewhere they at least have some military capability to wage one. Not to mention all those they have already crucified, murdered, tortured, and violated. I believe this clearly makes the case this would be a just cause.

Comparative Justice

What's already been done to Americans, and is being threatened to do to even more, means eradicating ISIS clearly crosses this threshold.

Competent Authority

Our Constitution requires a process for the declaration of war, which is something administrations in both parties have ignored for decades. Some may argue that Congressional resolutions supporting military action, like we saw in both Iraqi wars, meets the criteria for declaring war since the Constitution never explicitly states what form that declaration of war must take. Only five times in American history has there been a formal declaration of war, and we’ve certainly been involved in many more military conflicts than that. Our first formal declaration of war came in the War of 1812, and we had already engaged in military action versus the Barbary Coast Pirates (who where the Jihadists of their day) several years before then. So even our Founding Fathers debated this question.

Right Intention

We have clearly demonstrated we have no more will/desire to invest heavily in nation-building in another Muslim land. Therefore, the only motive here isn't war for empire, but the eradication of a would-be caliphate (empire) in its nascent stages. Knowing what you know now from history, would you not have supported FDR eliminating the Nazi threat before it was too late? Therefore, we have a right intention here to eliminate a threat that has already proven it is mobile and extremely hostile.

Probability of Success

This is where it gets dicey. There were plenty of complaints about the tepid rules of engagement over there under George W. Bush, and now those complaints are even more pronounced under the politically-correct rules of engagement from Barack Obama. Will our current commander-in-chief unleash the hounds and allow the military to prosecute its mission to its fullest extent, or will he ask them to fight in a way that pleases the New York Times editorial board? In my opinion, a lack of trust in the current civilian leadership of our military is the biggest (only?) reason not to do this.

Last Resort

Obviously a marauding gang of villainous thugs like ISIS, that is too radical for even Al-Qaeda, is beyond reasoning with.

Proportionality

If ISIS is everything they've shown themselves to be, and our military is given the tools and the rules of engagement necessary to eradicate them, then the potential benefits to the American people out-weigh the cost of military action.

Conclusion

According to Just War Theory there is a strong case to be made for militarily engaging and erasing ISIS, with the one caveat being the lack of confidence in the current commander-in-chief. Of course, that is a crater-sized caveat.

Which brings us to our second criteria -- the will of the people. A majority of Americans currently believe President Obama has been a failure, but nine out of ten Americans also believes ISIS to be a serious threat. Therefore, since this has the makings of a just war, it is now up to President Obama to make his case for waging it to the American people should he choose to fight it.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Syria
KEYWORDS: 0bamaadmin; isis; justwar; justwartheory; war

1 posted on 09/13/2014 10:07:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I’m seriously doubting America is going to survive these next two years.


2 posted on 09/13/2014 10:15:13 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: Kaslin
Is Obama a War Criminal? - Paul Rahe

Oh, and the singular of 'criteria' is 'criterion', as in "The first criterion is the 'Laws of Nature and Nature's God.'" Grrr.

3 posted on 09/13/2014 10:16:50 AM PDT by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes EVERYTHING)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I doubt America has an ability to win even a just war when you look at the kinds of politicians who get elected. Armchair commanders, and a Congress who pretends to be for/against war.


4 posted on 09/13/2014 10:24:51 AM PDT by Morpheus2009
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To: Kaslin

These crazy jihadi muslims have absolutely no fear of death. The only way to deal with somebody who has no fear of death, is to make an example out of them, and kill them, and then go after the ones who brainwashed them. But you don’t kill them, you make them wish that they were martyred along with those they ruined, for the rest of their very long, and very imprisoned lives.


5 posted on 09/13/2014 10:29:31 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Kaslin

These crazy jihadi muslims have absolutely no fear of death. The only way to deal with somebody who has no fear of death, is to make an example out of them, and kill them, and then go after the ones who brainwashed them. But you don’t kill them, you make them wish that they were martyred along with those they ruined, for the rest of their very long, and very imprisoned lives.


6 posted on 09/13/2014 10:29:54 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Morpheus2009

Yep. It’s not looking hopeful. A thorough ‘cleansing’ of any dissenters in your military will do that to a country. :(


7 posted on 09/13/2014 11:01:43 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: Kaslin

The deaths of two Joe Schmo citizens, especially ones who were in harm’s way voluntarily and without sanction, means nothing. Consider, the murder of an ambassador, whose position if not his person is supposed to mean something, elicited nothing from us. Hundreds of Americans have been killed and millions-plus damage has been wrought here and there and from time to time without us going to war: the Lusitania (though they were warned), the USS Panay attack, the Beirut barracks bombing, the USS Liberty attack, the USS Cole attack, the ‘93 World Trade Center bombing, etc.

If we go to war over a couple of journalists losing their heads it’d be mere pretense. Not so much false pretense like the USS Maine or the Gulf of Tonkin “incident,” but not the real reason, nevertheless. The real reasons are that we want to get into the Syrian war out in the open, finally, that we fear for the Kurds, that we’re embarrassed to have eight years of work in Iraq go down the toilet so precipitously, and that we don’t want regional powers who aren’t us stepping in. Even if we’re suddenly on the same side, Assad can’t be allowed to solve it. Nor can Iran, for obvious reasons. Nor can Turkey, for less obvious reasons. Above all else Russia can never, ever, ever be allowed to step in, as they are Satan and his demon army from hell incarnate, or so we pretend to think.


8 posted on 09/13/2014 11:35:55 AM PDT by House of Burgesses
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To: House of Burgesses
If we go to war over a couple of journalists losing their heads it’d be mere pretense... The real reasons are that we want to get into the Syrian war out in the open, finally, that we fear for the Kurds, that we’re embarrassed to have eight years of work in Iraq go down the toilet so precipitously, and that we don’t want regional powers who aren’t us stepping in. Even if we’re suddenly on the same side, Assad can’t be allowed to solve it. Nor can Iran, for obvious reasons. Nor can Turkey, for less obvious reasons.

I agree completely.

9 posted on 09/13/2014 11:48:53 AM PDT by marron
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