Ethics of War

The violent nature of war and its controversial social effects call for thinking over several questions. The questions include, whether war is right or wrong, will it ever disappear or not, does it always bring destruction or not.

Two main perspectives in ethics are Consequentialism: which is the legitimation of sacrificing one life to save more and Deontology which is a philosophy linked with duty, moral obligation and right actions and never justifies immoral means for any reason.

Theories of War present three traditions of thought:

  1. Just War Theory

This theory says that war is sometimes morally and ethically right but not always. Rules developed in the light of just war theory have been codified in contemporary international laws. It has three main parts as follows:

  1. jus ad bellumabout the justice of resorting to war in the first place;
  2. jus in bello, about the justice of conduct within war, after it has begun;
  3. jus post bellumabout the justice of peace agreements and the termination phase of war.
  1. Realism Theory

Realism theory believes in application of moral concepts like justice to main problems of foreign policies and affairs. Reality theory believes that States should be stimulated by power and national security instead of wishful thinking like moral appeals etc.

  1. Pacifism

This theory believes in successful application of moral concepts to international affairs. It believes that war should be avoided in any case. So unlike Just war theory, it always prohibits war in any situation.

Concluding the three theories, it can be said that there is a rich and challenging argumentative stuff available in the theories. If on one hand, Just war theory occupies main space in the eyes of majority, the pacifist and realist theories also offer challenges that cannot be denied at any cost.