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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just and Unjust Wars, 29 Jan 2010
This review is from: Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (Paperback)
Interesting book, but although the examples mentioned do nicely buttress 20'th Century 'morality'; they are overwhelmingly drawn from recent times. This means the liberalistic attitudes contained are wildly at variance with normal historical precedent, and more importantly; don't include any period of meaningful historic change. Two far more relevant examples are shown below:-

1. On New Year's Eve 406AD, in the depths of an unusually bitter winter several German tribes, driven by starvation; followed a Vandal warband across the frozen Rhein River into the Roman Empire; which they then looted for food, clothing, etc.... for several years. This action ultimately led to the destruction of the Western Roman Empire and the foundation of modern Europe, as it revealed to the Germanic peoples both their own power and Rome's weakness. From the opinions expressed within this publication it would appear these worldchanging events should be judged 'unjust'; and the Germanic warriors should simply have been told to stay home and watch their families freeze/starve?

2. Made invincible by the words of the Prophet they revered; between the years 622AD and 750AD, Islamic armies conquered first the Arabian Peninsula; then attacked and took Egypt, Syria, North Africa, Armenia, Constantinople, Sicily and Southern Italy from the Byzantine Romans; the Iberian Peninsula from the Visigoths; Iraq, Persia, Afganistan and the Indus Valley from the Sassanid Persian Empire; fought their way up into France, and even took a large slice of central Asia from the Chinese. The result of this 'Holy War' was the utter destruction of the previous cultures, along with possibly millions of their predominently Christian inhabitants; and creation of the Islamic World we see today. From the guidelines given, all these conquests would also clearly have been 'unjust'; but exactly how would those Islamic armies have been persuaded to cease their 'unjust' behaviour?

We all know of many other examples, from ancient times to the modern day; but I think I make my point. As explained clearly by Plato some 2,500 years ago, the very concept of 'just/unjust' war is an absurdity. Since primordial times, the clans, tribes, nations, and races of humanity have been locked in a never-ending Darwinian struggle, in which survival is the only real prize. Thus if food was in short supply, the strongest or most vigorous tribe would take it, if neccessary at the point of a spear; surviving the famine at the expense of the losers, who quite often 'disappeared' from history. As humanities scientific wisdom increased, this knowledge was largely employed to produce ever more effective weaponry, muskets, cannon, galleons, aircraft, tanks, rockets etc..... which, when needed could/can be employed to defend or take the neccessities needed for survival.

Throughout the ages, those unable or unwilling to compete successfully in this ruthless struggle for life have inevitably been erradicated in short order. Just a few examples include the Neanderthals, Phillistines, Carthaginians, Romans(having become degenerate), Aztecs, and North America's Indian tribes.

Leon Trotsky summed this up nicely when he explained:- "You may have no interest in war my friend; but war has a very great interest in you.". Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Apr 2010 07:36:23 BDT
Supaman says:
Interesting review. I would like to add the following:

I think it's also worthwhile remembering that through conquering Muslim armies, the traditions of the ancient Greece and the 'classical' period were rediscovered in medieval Europe, which had important influence on development of subsequent philosophy. Without Muslim invasion, Europe as we know it today may not have happened.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2010 10:07:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jan 2011 23:21:30 GMT
Interesting choice of example, but not strictly true. The European World had in fact only 'lost' those Greek cultural benefits you mention, due to the Muslim conquests of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine empire, in the first place. This massively important/powerful Byzantine Empire had itself developed directly from the Hellenic Greek empire of Alexander the Great, which upon his death in 323BC was divided by his Generals, Craterus, Ptolemy, Antigonus etc... into the Successor Kingdoms, which in due course, were reunited/absorbed into the Roman World as Byzantium. The original Greek/Macedonian culture from Europe remained dominant throughout this 900 year period however; only being finally erradicated from history by the Muslim invasions, which created the Islamic world we know today. Obviously these Muslim invaders benefited as much from their unjust conquests in the East as did Rome's Germanic conquerors in the West.

If wishing to illustrate the supposed 'benefits' of alien conquest to the conquered peoples, the military seizures of India, Africa, Australia and the Americas by Victorian Europe are far better examples, as these invasions did rapidly raise primitive, and sometimes even stone age cultures into the modern world; but the Mohican, Huron, Cheyenne, Apache, Zulu, Matabele, Maori, Aztec and Australian aborigines amongst others, would clearly dispute the alleged 'benefits' the defeat of their peoples and the perminant occupation of their ancestoral homelands brought them, even today.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2010 11:34:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jun 2010 13:18:45 BDT
Brian Flange says:
I can't help but feel there's a misreading of Darwinism going on here. The essence of Darwinism (crudely) is that better-adapted animals will tend to proliferate - nothing is implied therein about strength or vigour or ferocity always enhancing survival, (despite attempts at hijacking Darwinism by Social Darwinists and their ilk).
An example: North America used to be home to sabre-toothed tigers, but they're now extinct. However, North America is still home to many varieties of snail. Snails in Darwinian terms have arguably demonstrated greater longevity and adaptive efficiency than the sabre-toothed tiger. Does that mean that a snail could have beaten a sabre-toothed tiger in a fight? Presumably not ...
Moral: don't confuse Darwinism with Social Darwinism.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2010 04:37:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 May 2011 05:51:43 BDT
Less than two centuries ago, North America was the ancestral homeland of the Red Indian tribes, and had been for numerous millenia. Due to their failure to defend that homeland from invasion by ever-increasing numbers of alien immigrants they lost it for ever, in what was as clear an example of "unjust war" as history provides. That loss of their homeland was accompanied by a population decline of more than 90%, which ensured that an independant American Indian culture would never develop.

Moral? When seeking guidence, rather than being misled by the idealistic fantasies of 20'th Century dreamers such as Mr Walzer, listen to genuine philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Their wisdom has stood the test of time and shows clearly that concepts such as 'just/unjust war' are a luxury, belonging only to those societies/nations possessing the raw power to enforce their opinions when necessary.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2013 07:12:31 GMT
V. Gale says:
So, in essence, when things get serious, there is no room for morals. These are just a hobby for idealistic dreamers or a handy tool for leaders to appease their squeamish subjects and convince them that their "atrocities" are, or were, in reality quite reasonable; no further discussion needed.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2013 20:24:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Dec 2013 20:27:36 GMT
Quite right Mr Gale.

Charles Darwin's theory makes it crystal clear that humanity is simply an advanced ape, dominant on this planet today largely due having previously used our intelligence to gain control of the food supply by eradicating dangerous competitors such as wolves, tigers, crocodiles etc....

Charles Darwin's theory also makes clear that in the modern world mankind's only genuine rival's are other human tribes/nations/cultures.

Basic logic thus demonstrates that modern human conflicts (wars) are simply upgraded battles for Darwinian survival between competing human clans, just as rival wolf packs or ant nests will compete for control of the resources they need.

So when did you ever see a predatory animal refrain from tearing down it's prey from 'morality' or scruples Mr Gale?
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