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Just and Unjust Wars
on 29 January 2010
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