Can war ever be just?

Can War ever be just?

Can there be rules about war so that fair play is possible? Has there ever been a war with a just cause?

The Peace Pledge Union summarises the history of just war, modern just war and arguments for and against.

Read the full article on non-intervention, from the Peace Pledge Union website.


We need to look carefully at the kinds of war being fought today, especially with the development of new and more sinister technological weaponry. We need to ask who decides on whether war is declared – and why? Ordinary people don’t get asked whether they think a war is just – they get told by a so-called ‘legitimate’ authority. The notion of ‘just’ implies a sense of justice. Can we have a full sense of justice where killing is involved? Conflict resolution means expanding justice through achieving a situation in which all parties can speak of their needs and values together. Gandhi maintained that nonviolent campaigns are an effort to find the truth of the situation through struggle. The truth of the situation entails the justice of the situation. The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) argues that any killing, let alone on a mass scale, cannot justify any likely ‘good’ to be achieved. No ‘good’ can justify the deliberate death of another. No cause, not even a defensive one in which possessions, territory or life are threatened, can ever justify fighting and killing.

See the New Stateman’s view on Libya summarised by John Rentoul in the Independent, 23 March 2011







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