Just War Theory, Using The Gulf War

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The following essay will present the concept of just war theory, using the Gulf War as a case study in order to understand the concreteness of the doctrine. The choice of this case is due to the various issues regarding the application of just war theory to modern conflict, which will be discussed in the concluding part of the paper. Just war tradition has its origins in the fourth century AD. The first propagandist of these ideas was St. Augustine (AD 354-430), who elaborated a just war doctrine, which was later adapted and explicated by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74). According to these writers, a war is always judged by following two criteria, which concern the reasons states have for fighting and the means they adopt. They made a distinction between jus ad bellum, the justice of war, and jus in bello, justice in war. REF Jus ad bellum refers to the legitimacy of going to war. Having a just cause and possessing the right intention are part of the conditions in favour of a just war. It is generally assumed as just cause defending oneself from an act of aggression, which is believed unjust. However, because of its open-endedness, the term “aggression” should be defined. It could refer to a physical injury (a violation of territory), an offense (against national honour), a trade embargo (against economy), or even to a person’s prosperity (violation of social justice). Thus, the general consensus considers as only sufficient reason for just cause an initiation of physical
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