Just War Theory Applied to Pearl Harbor

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rachlane
Words 794
Pages 4
Aquinas’s just war theory can be applied to modern armed conflicts today. Using the attack on Pearl Harbor as an example you can still apply these ancient ideas to provide a useful way to look at events. The just war theory states three rules for a just war. First, a proper authority must command the war. Those in authority are supposed to protect the people. It is lawful for them to use weapons or force to keep peace and order inside their city/country and to punish people who break the laws and do evil. In the same way, those in authority are responsible for defending the community against external enemies, and can therefore use force against enemies. Second, there must be a just cause for the war. “… Those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault.” Third, those fighting must “have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil.” The first rule is clearly the most important rule; it sets the tone for everything that follows. A state may launch a war only for the right reason. A just cause most frequently mentioned includes self-defense from external attack. Thus far, Pearl Harbor could be considered a just war because the United States declared a state of war with Japan after they were “suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” as stated by President Franklin Roosevelt in his “Day of Infamy Speech”. However, we must remember how morally complex war can be and that no war can be completely just. Secondly, a just cause is required, specifically that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. The Japanese did deserve to be attacked because they took the lives of American citizens. However, they didn’t deserve it to the degree that the United States took it to. It was cruel and…...

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