For a country whose (previously) predominant Christian moral code forbids killing, the proposition of war has been a difficult matter. Many have wrestled with the conditions that must be met to call a war JUST. This very day, our children die in a war about which, as parents, neighbors, friends of those soldiers, we must ask: Is it justified? We must each decide, and speak and vote and act accordingly.
And on this day of memorial, God bless Americans who serve and die or live beyond war with its many wounds, and God bless the fallen and displaced of Iraq.
Criteria of the Just War tradition:
- Probability of success: Arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measures are required to achieve success;
- Proportionality: The overall destruction expected from the use of force must be outweighed by the good to be achieved.
- Last resort: Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted.
- recapturing things taken
- punishing people who have done wrong
- Comparative justice: While there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a conflict, to override the presumption against the use of force, the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other;
- Legitimate authority: Only duly constituted public authorities may use deadly force or wage war;
- Right intention: Force may be used only in a truly just cause and solely for that purpose—correcting a suffered wrong is considered a right intention, while material gain or maintaining economies is not.