Thinking Clearly About War by Gary Jason


James Turner Johnson: Can Modern War Be Just?; Yale University Press; New Haven.


There is nothing quite so fatuous as the nuclear pacifism currently fashionable among leftist theologians and their ilk. Visions of mushroom clouds (brought on by repeated viewings of On the Beach and Dr. Strangelove) cloud many minds. The result is the fuzzy-minded view that we must either accept the current MAD standoff with the Soviets, or else we must unilaterally disarm. Nuclear pacifism thus paralyzes the West, allowing the Soviets to replace pro-Western governments with proxy regimes.



Such fuzzy-mindedness and paralysis might be avoided if we relied more upon the "just war" theory, developed by philosophers and theologians since Augustine. Sketchily put, just war theory distinguishes questions about ius ad bellum (i.e., questions about what justifies resort to war) from questions about ius in bello (i.e., questions about which forms of force in war are justifiable). The consensus view has been that a war is justified...

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