Morality in war

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 25 November 2016

Morality in war

Is war ever moral? I feel that War is a necessary part of life. Sometimes force is the only way to defend yourself or others. We are all equals, and It is immoral to take the life of anyone, but it is also immoral to let the life of anyone be taken. We have a responsibility to help each other because cooperation is the only way the human race can survive; we also have a right to defend ourselves. This means that if someone else is threatening you or anothers life, and you are capable of helping, you have an obligation to protect yourself or them.

Lethal force will never be moral, but what if it’s the only way to protect someone? Let’s say that an attacker has broken into your house and is holding a gun to you and your family. You also have a gun pointed at the assailant. In this hypothetical situation we must assume that the only way to save your family is to kill the attacker. You must make a choice to kill the attacker or let the attacker kill you and your family. Both options are immoral, so one has to ask if it’s more immoral to kill the attacker, or to let the attacker kill your family?

The obvious choice to me is to kill the assailant. I feel this is the right choice because of two reasons. One, our responsibility to protect ourselves and our family is larger than the responsibility to not do harm to another. The second reason has to do with the proportion of damage. The attacker would be doing more harm in killing my family and me then I would be doing in killing him. This example allows us to see, on a small scale, when lethal force is necessary. Things get more complicated when we look at entire countries rather than just one family, but my view point remains the same.

Lethal force is only permitted when it is the only option to defend yourself or others. War is necessary because people sometimes make immoral decisions that put others in a position where there is no other option, but is war ever moral? Killing is always immoral, and killing is part of war, so parts of war are immoral, but does this mean war is inherently immoral? Sometimes it is the least immoral choice; this makes it the most moral choice, so it is sometime moral. I believe that many of the wars we have had have been immoral.

I don’t think that the United States has been justified in it’s actions every time. “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. ” – Vladimir Putin. I feel that it is in part due to the classical “male” approach to ethics which focuses on “independence, autonomy, intellect, will, wariness, hierarchy, domination, culture, transcendence, product, asceticism, war, and death,” Jaggar, “Feminist Ethics,” 1992 One can see that these characteristics would allow for war to be more often morally acceptable.

A “feminist” approach to ethics would focus more on “interdependence, community, connection, sharing, emotion, body, trust, absence of hierarchy, nature, immanence, process, joy, peace, and life. ”Jaggar, “Feminist Ethics,” 1992 These characteristics allow for a more peaceful world. The Syrian regime was accused of using chemical weapons against it’s own people in september of 2013. The weapon of mass destruction “Sarin” may have been used, and this action is against international law.

The United states felt obligated to step in and punish the Syrian Government for this because they felt it was in the worlds best interest to not let these atrocities go unpunished. It could be more dangerous to let them get away with it because international law could fall apart and the world could turn to anarchy if nothing is done to punish wrong behavior. This being said, what is the best course of action to punish the Syrian government if they did infact use this weapon? Military action was debated, and President Obama was willing to attack if necessary, but I feel this is very dangerous.

If the United States were to attack the Syrian government without UN approval It could have the same effect as doing nothing. This is because the united states would also be breaking international law, and this could also cause the UN to fall apart. If strong countries like the US bypass UN approval on military actions then International law means nothing. “The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security.

Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. ” -Vladimir Putin. In addition, military action would not be morally acceptable in this situation because it would not be in self defense; it would be an act of aggression causing more harm than good. A diplomatic approach would be a step in the right direction for this particular situation. This real life situation allows us to see how we can judge the morality of an action on a larger scale.

In conclusion, war can be moral, but it is only a strategy to attain peace and safety for a group. All other options should be explored before war can be considered; this is because war involves some of the most immoral actions possible; the killing of others. “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. ”- Ernest Hemingway http://www. brainyquote. com/quotes/quotes/e/ernesthemi108407. html#zB7XwPTRbCpbv7my. 99 http://www. nytimes. com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria. html? _r=0.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 25 November 2016

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