The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Monday, August 07, 2006

              Just War
In the past few weeks, with Israel's war with Hizbullah, the concept of Just War has once again come to the forefront. Just War Theory says that a war is justified if it is waged based on a number of conditions. These are usually divided into jus ad bello (when it is justified to go to war) and jus in bello (how a war is waged). Most rational commentators agree that Israel's campaign against Hizbullah meets the first condition - Israel was justified in waging war on Hizbullah. On the second issue - of how Israel is waging the war - there is much more disagreement.

But what if this concept is itself outdated or simply doesn't work in the era of fourth-generation warfare. David Warren suggests that this is indeed the case. That by waging moral war, we do not save civilians, but actually endanger more of them.
By openly stating that we will, under no circumstances, attack targets where civilians are present, we "“hand the foe a blueprint of our acts, incite him to step over our carefully drawn line, encourage his vice and incur our own defeat."” (I am quoting a priest who has considered the broader implications of the Catholic just war doctrine.)

Even "just war"” acknowledges that, as in medicine, real mercy can sometimes require ruthlessness. We have forgotten this in the West. If we want to save civilians, over the longer run, we must resolve to call the enemy’s bluff. Show him by our actions that hiding behind baby carriages will not save him. For the enemy will only stop using “human shields” when they cease to serve his purposes.
|| Nudnik 8:49 PM
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