Ryan wrote:The ambiguity of the terms used and what each means is one of the problems with just war theory.
I asked this question to someone before: imagine for a second that you are high in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan fighting off a Soviet Invasion. You are strapped and armed, ready to defend your village. Is your mere presence there justly deserved? Is it your right as an Afghani to defend land and nation? If yes, therefore, in a limited capacity, defending oneself in a violent way is just.
Ryan wrote:Now have captured a member of the enemy force. Your unit wants to 'behead' the captive to 'heal the breast' of believers. Is this just? Your religious friends think so. Suddenly you are transgressing the limits of some kind of natural rights like self-defence to imposing personal moral dogmas over others. But to you this is a just cause. And that is part and parcel of the problem, it all comes down to interpretation. Some self-proclaimed sheikh in your unit could be a 'competent authority' for example.
The latter situation actually happened by the way. Abdullah Azzam and the early Mujahideen movements in Afghanistan thought it just to behead captives to 'heal' their 'breast.' Flawed morality projected upon others ultimately means or leads to injustice.
Ryan wrote:Violence is not curtailed by those factors though: same ideology, culture, etc. But would they feel more or less justified doing it to one another? Especially on a large enough scale - a war? Would other factors have to creep in place before war could be waged - e.g. money, politics?
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