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Just and Unjust Wars

  • Date Submitted: 11/26/2010 10:49 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.1 
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Sean Baldwin
Dr. Hallgarth
Just War Theory
In-Class Essay
I. Walzer’s argument in chapter 3 of Just and Unjust Wars is a very good description of the moral realities of war. Walzer’s argument misses a major ambiguity in that it may be possible to turn an aggressor into a victim and vice versa leading to an even more abundant set of issues.
Walzer argues that certain difficulties turn war into pure hell for the combatants. On one hand General Sherman argued that by not burning Atlanta, the North would be leaving itself open to future attacks, but by burning the city to the ground Sherman felt he was able to prevent any more aggressions by the South. Sherman argued that the North was acting in self-defense and according to Walzer; wars of self-defense are in no way a crime. The problem with Sherman’s argument is that the South could simply seek to end the war by surrendering, but Sherman views what he is doing as necessary and instead chooses to burn Atlanta. The problem here is that Walzer does not seem to state that it may be possible to turn the aggressor into the victim of the crime. It becomes an issue of who’s got the bigger stick and constant one-upmanship, thus, leading to their being constant hell placed upon all parties involved in the conflict and placing each in a state of crime.
The issue here with Walzer’s premise is that there is a possibility of flipping the roles in war. When the Japanese attacked the United States base of Pearl Harbor, it was an act of aggression making the United States a victim and making it a war of self-defense for the U.S. However, it could be argued that the firebombing of Kobe and the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were severe acts of aggression that totaled three to Japan’s one. Just because you get hit in the arm by a ball does not mean you can cut of the person who threw its arm.
II. The legalist paradigm, as presented by Walzer, is both a great concept, but is also flawed. The idea behind is...

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