Just wanted to add my two cents worth to the fine w/u's that precede this...

With all the talk lately about the United States and their present war in Afghanistan and their “pending” war with Iraq, I got to thinking if there ever is or was what might be referred to as a “just war”. My oldest daughter ( a philosophy major) reminded me of about either Aquinas and Augustine and what they had to say on the subject many years ago. I don’t think that either of them could have possibly conceived the advancement in weaponry nor the destruction and scope of the carnage that can be inflicted in modern times . Nonetheless I’ll try and paraphrase as best as I can and let you fine folks decide if indeed there ever was a “just war.”

The first of these conditions would be described as Just Cause: It states that force may be used only to correct a grave public evil such as aggression or massive violation of the basic rights of whole populations.

Aquinas : 'a just cause is required namely that those who are attacked deserve it for some wrong they have done.”

Augustine: “We usually describe a just war as one that avenges wrongs, that is, when a nation or state has to be punished either for refusing to make amends for outrages done by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized injuriously. Those wars are looked on as peacemaking which are waged neither from aggrandizement nor cruelty but with the object of securing peace, of repressing the evil and supporting the good"'.

The second of these conditions state that only constituted public authorities may use deadly force or wage war. In other words, there must be a legitimate authority.

Augustine: “The natural order conducive to human peace demands that the power to counsel and declare war belongs to those who hold the supreme authority".

The third of these conditions might best be called “Right Intentions”. Force may be used only in a just cause and only for that purpose. Sounds a little like the first huh? Well Aquinas goes a little further

Aquinas:'The craving to hurt people, the cruel thirst for revenge, the unappeased and unrelenting spirit, savageness of fighting on, the lust to dominate and suchlike -- all these are rightly condemned in wars'.

Next we move on to the probability of success.” Arms must not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measures are required to achieve success

Folks, I don’t think any further quotes are necessary regarding that one.

Fifth in line is what can be described as a last resort. “Force may be used only after all peaceful alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted.”

Again, I don’t think any other words are necessary… The next two kinda blend together. The proportions. “The overall destruction expected from the use of force must be outweighed by the good to be achieved. “

Last but not least, noncombatant immunity. Civilians may not be the object of direct attack, and military personnel must take due care to avoid and minimize indirect harm to civilians.

There you have it folks. I wish some of our bible touting trigger happy present leaders from countries of all shapes, sizes and beliefs would take heed of these words.