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    Philosophy of Ethics

    Preventive war is, “a war fought to maintain the balance of power, to stop what is thought to be an even distribution of power from shifting into a relation of dominance and inferiority.” (p.76) Walzer presents the conditions under which a defensive initial attack against aggression, defined as imminent violence, can be morally justified. Whereas a classical argument gives a justification to preventive war, Walzer has a more restrictive view. He argues that first attacks should be limited to preemptive strikes against a present threat, and does not consider future threat as sufficient justification.
    Walzer argues that preemptive attacks should be justified only when states are “threatened,” which is a completely different concept than “fear.” Walzer suggests the following “being threatened” criterion: (1) a manifest intent to injure, not previous signs of meanness. (2) a degree of active preparation that makes that intent a positive danger, not just an growth of power) (3) a general situation in which waiting, or doing anything other than fighting, greatly magnifies the risk, not refusal of future securities. Walzer’s argument focuses on the present threat while preventive war looks to the past and future. Also, for Walzer, preemptive attack is a measure you take only when waiting or other measures increase the risk. An example of this from the chapter is the Six Day War.
    Walzer indicates how the legalist paradigm of aggression has been used to differentiate between the just and the unjust war. International aggression is worse than domestic crime because the threat is so much greater and there is no policeman to act as protector. There are police powers, but they are dispersed through all the members of the society.

    In the legalist paradigm intervention for justice is not permitted and rules out efforts of intervention. He also mentioned that states should never intervene in the domestic affairs of other states. The revisions against the legalist paradigm incorporated the moral realities of military intervention. Walzer gives justification for intervention in the revision of the paradigm. Aggression is dismissed when in defense of values of individual life and communal liberty. It shows a commitment to human rights. Walzer stressed that interventions are constrained and must be included into the revisions.

    Self-determination is the right of people to “become free by their own efforts.” Self-determination and political freedom are not equivalent. A state is self-determining even if its’ citizens fail at establishing free institutions. It is not self-determination if free institutions are established by, as he put it, a neighbor. One cannot be made free or virtuous by an outside force. This must be developed, actively pursued and aspired to individually.
    Mill generally has written that citizens get the government they ‘deserve’ or is best fit. I personally believe with this principal. It aligns in some sense with the law of attraction in that you create your own reality, you treat people how to treat you and you attract, to name a few, behavior, success and opportunities into your life. I really relate to these theories. It is an empowering was of humanity. It is, as Walzer mentions, a “kind of Darwinian definition.” It helps citizens and leaders work towards a balance of power and freedom.

    A crusade is a war fought for religious or ideological purposes. In a crusade, it does not just aim at defense of law enforcement but a higher order and the creation of new political orders and conversion. Walzer mentions that it was ok to go into Nazi Germany and political reconstruction would have been appropriate. This right does not rise in every war but only when compromising peace was “impractical and unthinkable”. This exposes the evil in the regime and only then is conquest and reconstruction appropriate. The Nazis were at war with nations, not just governments alone. They were hostile to the existence of entire peoples. The response to the Nazis hostility, therefore, through reconstruction efforts and regime change was imminent and accurate. Humanitarian interventions to stop mass murder and 'ethnic cleansing' will obviously aim at regime change, since the regime's criminal behavior is the reason for the intervention.

    We launched this attack. We created what we didn't expect to create—that is, an unending internal civil war. It doesn't seem right to me to argue that we can just walk away from this. We have to contrive as best we can to create a safer environment for the Iraqi people.
    However, the United states has often acted as world policeman, a role that the U.S. denies is its intention or goal, but one that it is seen as having undertaken on several occasions. Two such occasions can be found in the intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 and the invasion of Grenada in 1983. The two branches of "just war" are jus ad bellum, the justice of war, and jus in bello, justice in war. “Just wars and humanitarian interventions will often be an occasion for forcible and justifiable democratization-and that will sometimes require an attack upon traditional hierarchies and customary practices.” (Walzer xi) Imposed democracy is defensible. But is this justifiable in Iraq? Walzer gave an example of the Gulf war and how the US followed the classic Just War Paradigm. The Just War Paradigm meaning, in this case, they stopped invading and fighting once Kuwait had been decisively defeated. But, in Iraq, we marched on and aimed to overthrow and replace the regime. We also did not allow the citizens of Iraq to take charge and turn Saddam Hussein out of office. I am a big believer in giving the people power, have them make the change so its theirs. This idea aligns with these two quotes I like. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Laozi and "We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves." - Galileo Galilei.
    I think entering war for the wrong reasons and convincing the American public of the motive behind the war on false pretenses is morally unjust. Especially since the US compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler and had further propaganda. (But what else can you expect from a government? Which is an issue all in its’ own. What we expect out of a government is very imminent. ) The character of the Iraqi regime justified, for the US government, to invade, look for and destroy Weapons of Mass destruction. The US looked at the past murders and intentions of the regime justifying the past was prologue and that their aggressive actions could happen again in the future. It was just, even if the regime was not actually engaged in aggression or mass murder. The past and potential WMD (weapons of mass destruction) allotted the US a ‘just’ pass to invade. Walzer disagrees with this philosophy and view. Mix in some classic propaganda and you have got a war and newlywed young men to send.
    Walzer does not think that regime change, on its own, can be a just cause for going to war. We respond to the ‘evil’ men are doing, he states, not what they have done or might do. (Although he discuses some pre-tense cases where entering the war on threat of attack is justifiable) So, tying this back in with the above paragraph; the US was wrong by going in with their past behavior as their biggest asset. Aggression and massacre is a just response to war, but a regime who displays aggression and massacre requires, as Walzer states, “a different response.” (Walzer xiii) The containment system the US and UN ensued was successful in preventing both WMD and mass murder into the state, (but it failed in the sense that we still did go to war.) Because of this it raises the argument then that the war in 2003 was not necessary. If this were an international peace project it would have been successful; a check and balance international power system with monies and man support.
    RANT: An international peace project has a nice ring to it. I believe in world peace. I think that it is obtainable. Once we connect with the universe and ourselves more, as a species we may be lifted, raise our consciousness and awareness’s. We can change the frequency of the energy omitted from earth to a healthier one. Which would, attract things from the universe, I believe.
    The bush administration, simply, just favored regime change and war over containment. A leader, whom favors war, for me, is not a healthy or moral leader. It’s a system that needs changing when war is one of the first options. Walzer states that the most plausible argument for going to war “might have been that the containment system was costly and carried risks of its own.” (walzer xv) Walzer states that preemptive short-of-war can be justified, appropriate when in the state of preventive force. It comes before war itself, but it brings up the question of just and unjust use of force and if the use of this force can arguably be applied to our actions of regime change and democratization. Walzer wrote that it was just to use force, in a limited way, when a legitimate design of the containment policy is acted out and to advance to its further purpose for the sake of producing a new regime while aiming at mere contamination. In preventing mass murder and aggression is justified, indirect regime change is as well. Force-short-of-war is a unilateralism approach and requires, for success, collective recognition and applied force to evil regimes, murder and aggression. Force-short-of-war does not permit forcible democratization and must shield civilians.
    Regime change, when it happens from ‘the inside out’ is ethical and moral. Which can be a result of a form of direct action, which involves “politics-short-of-force.” Their goal would be to “foster a civil society that democracy requires,” (walzer xvii) by opposing oppression and censorship. Politics-short-of-war and force-short-of-war, together can support each other to avoid war.

    Utilitarian’s beliefs are creating the most happiness. This also brings up Kants categorical imperative. Treating people as an end, not the means. The system is more important than the gears, is how I see the utilitarian approach. I think individuality is very important, but even more so, working together, through and with individuality to create a communal and linked society and way of life is the best approach. Utilitarian’s judge the morality of an act. Their biggest concern is what creates the most happiness for the most people. So, for example, if I am vegetarian and we are over at my friends house ordering a pizza and they, the majority, want peperoni, do I accept that order because it creates the most happiness in the group? Or would the group see my constraints and settle with cheese and be a little less satisfied but relieve me completely? I think a utilitarian might say get the peperoni!! But a rights theorist would say it won’t dissatisfy the group exponentially more to settle with the cheese for my sake.

    When soldiers’ sacrifice and death help to distill peace. Justice in war or jus ed bellum applies to this utilitarian direction in the sense of explaining when there can be justice in war through utilitarianism, or creation of maximal happiness. Walzers supreme emergency override for the human rights he otherwise defends during wartime seems to have certain resemblances with rule-utilitarianism. Actions are moral when they conform to the rules that lead to the greatest good. The action and pursue of war in the name of justice and rule-utilitarianism can sometimes be justified, juss en bello.
    Other things being, equal people are happier if their society follows rules so people know what types of behavior they can expect from others in given situations. This can sometimes hurt and diminish personal freedoms of the individual by taking utilitarianism approach to social order and happiness. These can be implemented through wartime and the application of new theories learned from the war. Individual human rights are not as fundamental as shared ways of life. A problem with rule-utilitarianism is that is rules can be bent in situations, and raise questions such as “why not in others?”

    Torture is unjust; it puts the self in a paradigm. “Do I save my skin?” …Although I am not sure. It seems that torture depends on your view. If you favor your physical body and reality more than your mind and self then torture is unjust. But if you leave your physical body and trust in, and escape into your self, then torture is senseless. But when is it ok to cross the physical boundary when the mind is what we want. When the person refuses to share what in his mind, we have no choice but to affect the only thing that we commonly share, the flesh. I also believe that torture would never need to be used in a healthy society. People would want to communicate, share and interact, its only in evil situations and harming situations that one would refuse to accept the world, lock in, and need something to be forcibly extracted from them.
    From a utilitarian point of view, if by torturing this person, maybe say extracted viable information that potentially can benefit many, it is just. It is just because it creates the most ‘happiness’, satisfaction or effect from the situation. For a Lockean, the rights theory states man right to life, liberty and property. So then, I would assume, torture violates ones right to life and liberty. But, if the tortured victim was being faced with that experience because he took away someone’s life, liberty or property, I think that could potentially be justified, because through torture they are ‘protecting the rights of the people’. The Lockean view has moral rights theories and natural law theories. It is in their duty to assist in the preservation of mankind. Lockeans would believe it legitimate for individuals to punish each other. John Locke stated, “to preserve his property – that is, his life, liberty, and estate – against the injuries and attempts of other men.” To punish was acceptable, but one must punish in the state of nature, so that such deserving people would end up being judges of their own cases. If the actions violated that natural law principle, that one should not deprive another of life, liberty, or property, the guilty parties could be liable to criminal punishment. In the state of nature, according to Lockeans and rights theorists, a person is vindicated to use the power to punish to preserve his Natural Rights, society and mankind as a whole.
    One of my favorite quotes from the book from Walzer was “Moral reality of war is not fixed by the actual activities of soldiers but by the opinions of mankind.” (15)

    We live in such a complicated system. Is it really simple and were adding useless complexities? Or is that we evolve to simplicity?

    Sun, May 27, 2012  Permanent link

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    Phyllotaxis     Thu, Jun 7, 2012  Permanent link
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