What Are Some Circumstances That Would Make A War Just Or Unjust? - Essay Prowess

What Are Some Circumstances That Would Make A War Just Or Unjust?


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What Are Some Circumstances That Would Make A War Just Or Unjust?

Thesis statement

War can either be conducted in a manner that is justified or unjustified. War is an evil thing which should be always avoided because it involves the violation of human rights through deliberate killings and causing injuries to innocent citizens. Although the war is evil, just wars are permissible when all peaceful efforts of problem-solving become unsuccessful; thus allowing the nation to wage war for self-defense, as well as preventing any violation of human rights. Therefore, the conduct of just wars is justified when it is conducted in a moral way by observing all the internationally agreed conventions regulating war, and only applying appropriate force. However, a war that starts as a just war may become an unjust war if the means applied to wage it is inappropriate.


The conduct of war has existed ever since the prehistoric times of human beings, especially when conflicts become difficult to solve through peaceful means. Although the purpose of war has been aiming at protecting the citizens’ human and defending the justice, this purpose has always been violated during war times. As a result, this has always made a just war to become unjustified. According to ethics of war, war is assumed as a bad or evil thing and hence it should be avoided with all means possible. The evil in the war involves deliberate killing or injuring people that is an abuse of the fundamental human rights that every person is entitled. However, the ethics of war recognizes that there can be situations when war may become a lesser evil considering a number of bad choices. This paper intends to address three questions including; is it justified going to war? When is it right to wage war? What is the moral way to conduct a war?

According to various theories of pacifism, the idea of going to war is unjustified. Pacifism acknowledges that any form of war involves abuse of human rights through deliberate killing or causing injuries to people. In addition, pacifists recognize that it is right to conduct war, especially in certain limited circumstances. However, war should be avoided by identifying various ways of peaceful conflict resolution.

Although the conduct of war is evil, a just war is permissible since it is a lesser evil. Individuals and government must strive to avoid war and settle the conflicts in a just and peaceful manner. However, unsuccessful peace efforts may trot a nation to have the right of lawful self-defense with intent of forbidding the act of taking human life. However, the right of waging war does not permit any acts of war.

Just war theory provides the principles of conducting war in a moral way. Jus ad Bellum offers the condition under which the military force is justified while Jus In Bello portrays how to conduct a war in an ethical manner. Therefore, the war is only a just war if it is both justified and conducted in a moral way. A justified war must be for a just cause, lawfully declared by lawful authority with good intentions behind war. Just wars should a last resort when all efforts of problem-solving have been tried and failed. Besides, there must be a reasonable chance of success whereby the means used are in proportion to the outcome of what the war strives to achieve. In addition, appropriate force should be applied in just war without harming innocent people. Finally, just war must obey all the internationally agreed conventions regulating war. However, the some of the wars fought for noble causes have been rendered as unjust wars due to the way they are conducted.




Allhoff, F., Evans, N. G. & Henschke, A. (2013).Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War: Just War Theory in the 21st Century. Routledge International Handbooks; Routledge, 2013; 432 pages

Gros, J. (2009). Natural Principles of Rectitude for the Conduct of Man in All States and Situations of Life. Amer Philosophy, Religion Series; Apple wood Books; 476 pages.

Lee, S. (2012). Ethics and war: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rosenthal, J. H., Barry, C., & Carnegie Council on Ethics & International Affairs. (2009). Ethics & international affairs: A reader. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press.

Walzer, M. (2006). Just and unjust wars: a moral argument with historical illustrations. New York: Basic Books.

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