Thursday, December 18, 2008

WAR- Ethics & The Philosophy Of Law

War is a contention by force or the art of paralyzing the forces of an enemy and a word that can be frightening most people in this world, it cannot be defined in one sentence or using a few words. It means more than just a military conflict between nations or parties, as Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary says, any situation in which there is fierce competition between opposing sides or a great fight against something harmful. It arouses feelings of aggression, depression, confusion and satisfaction. It involves many stages of action, can last for years, and requires so much political detail that only a few people can truly understand it.
Cicero defines war broadly as "a contention by force"; Hugo Grotius adds that "war is the state of contending parties, considered as such"; Thomas Hobbes notes that war is also an attitude: "By war is meant a state of affairs, which may exist even while its operations are not continued"; Denis Diderot comments that war is "a convulsive and violent disease of the body politic;" for Karl von Clausewitz, "war is the continuation of politics by other means" (Moseley, 2002). Each definition has its strengths and weaknesses, but often is depend on which perspective the observer seen.

The most widely accepted theory of the morality of war, contains two proportionality conditions that say a war or an act in war is justified only if the damage it causes is not excessive. These conditions have figured prominently in recent debates about the morality of particular wars, including the Gulf, Kosovo, and Iraq wars. But commentators often say the conditions are poorly understood, so it is unclear exactly what they do and do not forbid (Hurka, 2005).
Just war theory lays down a series of conditions that a war must satisfy to be morally justified; if it violates any of the conditions it is wrong, although how wrong it is depends on how many conditions it violates, how important they are, and how seriously it violates them. These conditions are standard divided into two groups. The jus ad bellum conditions concern the resort to war and are directed to political leaders deciding whether to initiate war or whether to respond to another state’s doing so with military force of their own. The jus in bello conditions concern the means used to fight war. They are again directed at political leaders when they make tactical decisions such as Truman’s decision to bomb Hiroshima, but also at soldiers as they fight from day to day. It is usually assumed that the two sets of conditions are independent, so a state can be justified in its resort to war but violate the in bello conditions in how it fights, or initiate war unjustly but use only tactics that are morally allowed (Hurka, 2005).
War is not only an act, but also a state or condition, for nations are said to be at war not only when their armies are engaged, to be in the very act of contention. It is also war when, they have any matter of controversy or dispute subsisting between them which they are determine to decide by the use of force had have declared publicly or by their acts their determination so to decide it. Therefore in determining whether it is morally wrong or right to be at war, our group expressed our opinion on 3 categories of war:-
i. Physically contact war or military war
ii. Economic war
iii. Social war

In our discussion, we expressed our opinions regarding the morality of war depending on parties of the war and the reasons they are going to war in nature law and sociological view. Our group cannot depend on positive law and realist view because war usually involve states, as Webster's Dictionary define state of open and declared, hostile armed conflict between states or nations, or a period of such conflict. This captures a particularly political-rationalistic account of war and needs to be explicitly declared and to be between states to be a war. When it only happened between state and country, there are no courts of law to get secure justice to judge whether it is morally right or wrong.

In our discussion, we divided the possible actions in a physical contact war into two parts:-

3.1 The Aggressor or Initiator of War
This type of war normally involves the usage of weapons or military war between 2 or more states / country. This kind of war usually arises because one party tries to expand their land, ideology or to show of their power. They try to take advantages from the other state of weakness. Based on the theory of natural law, we believe this kind of action is morally wrong because it will create an evil thing for both party when the war begin. In this type of war there will be definitely civilian casualties at both sides, destruction of property, goods and inevitably the environment.
By volunteering, or consenting to be drafted, combatants consent to be put in harm’s way by their own commanders, and to be harmed by the enemy. Intentional killing of civilians, on the other hand, cannot be justified in any such way. They are innocent, and cannot be killed punitively; they are not fighting, and cannot be killed in defense of self or others; they have chosen to remain civilians, rather than join the military, and cannot be killed consensually (Primoratz, 2004).
Killing civilians for the purposes of terror and demoralization is morally indefensible, all theologians and moral philosophers agree, violating the just-war principle of discrimination (TIME, 2008). This corresponds with the views of the group.
The worst catastrophes to the humankind, according to the sociological view, are the trauma suffered by the population/mankind directly or indirectly, would take decades or even centuries to forget.
Israel for instance, with support from major super-powered nations has ever since laboring war against the Palestinians in ensuring their opponents won’t be able to establish Palestine nation on the world map especially by invading illegally the Gaza strips of the Palestinian territory.
The Israeli’s action has caused a lot of suffering and killing of not only on the Palestinians side but to certain extent to the Jews too, beside the destruction of immovable assets and buildings, surrounding environment.

3.2 Defensive Measure By The Attacked Side/Nation
Get involved into physical war against an aggressor, invader and perpetrator for the sake of its sovereignty is considered morally right. Based on the natural law defending their family lives, properties, land and sovereignty are good reasons. In Sociological view, it is also morally right because this war is related to society defense from outside intruder to destroy and demolish the future.
Every human being has an equal right to life and liberty. Founded on these rights, every legitimate state or nation has an equal right to its life and liberty. In general, it is a crime to violate these rights. In domestic society, violations of these rights are given criminal names: murder, rape, kidnapping, extortion. Persons guilty of these crimes are punishable and often such punishment includes the loss, temporarily or permanently, of certain rights; in some states it is possible to lose your very right to life, though more commonly it is an individual’s right to liberty that is suspended. Internationally, violation of these same rights is called aggression, and aggressor states, states guilty of aggression, can be legitimately resisted: those nations whose rights to life and liberty have been violated or threatened are permitted to go to war—are usually dragged into war—to protect those rights. We say their cause is just: that they are fighting a just war (Gray & Streiffer, 1999).
Therefore, though our discussion starts by assuming that war is a bad thing, and should be avoided if possible, but we do recognize that there can be situations when war may be the lesser evil of several bad choices. In other word what ever reason wars are expensive in money and other resources, destructive of capital and human capital, and disruptive of trade, resource availability, labor management. Large wars constitute severe shocks to the economies of participating countries. Notwithstanding some positive aspects of short-term stimulation and long-term destruction and rebuilding, war generally impedes economic development and undermines prosperity.

Globalization & liberalization have deeply affected businesses in the modern age; it has opened up vast new opportunities for economic and social growth through greater integration into the world economy. The process of integration into the world economy or globalization has proven a powerful means for countries to promote economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. However, from a different perspective the opening up of one nation’s border without any control would invite a new way of invasion, which is through a borderless economy initiated by the super-power economy blocs.
In economic war, there are two possible actions normally taken place

4.1 Economic War by a Super-Power
Economic war is the kind of war arises because one party tries to expand their economy or to invade the natural resources cheaply. They try to take advantages from other nation’s weakness. This kind of action can be morally wrong base on nature law because it will create an evil act and bad consequences onto the invaded economy.
Considering the ASEAN economic crisis in 1997, the most consistent short-term economic effect of economic war is rising inflation that raised prices of goods and services, and consequently to reduce purchasing power and living standards. According to sociological view, the trauma that existed during the bad economy indirectly or directly result social insecurity, mental pressure that leads to suicide, lost of jobs, high rental caused unaffordable house and government increasing expenditure leads to wider deficit.
We consider the following examples as morally wrong economic war. Firstly, the former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad blamed the devaluation of the Malaysian Ringgit in 1997 on George Soros and other speculators. George Soros was considered having morally wrong economic war against the rising ASEAN economy. Through world money market instrument, namely money market speculation, Soros has used his influence in the international money market in reducing the ASEAN’s market monetary net value. Korea, Indonesia, Thailand have to beg financial aids from International Monetary Fund, which consequently made them being controlled by the IMF.
Secondly, the Economic War against the Palestinians has failed. Israeli military shut down a series of West Bank charitable and educational organizations affiliated in one way or another with Hamas, even though the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is apparently incapable of providing these services. The United Nations reported that after more than a month of cease-fire in and around Gaza, 95% of Gazan industry remained closed, as did many of the Gaza passages through which goods enter and leave the strip. Israeli monetary authorities did, however, graciously accept delivery of more than 16 million shekels worth of worn bills and coins from Hamas monetary authorities in Gaza and replaced them with new bills and coins. These are just the most recent absurdities in the hapless economic war Israel has been waging with the Palestinians for the past 41 years. Amazingly, Israeli authorities left and right, military and civilian still don’t acknowledge that wielding economic carrots and sticks does not substantially affect Palestinian political behavior.

4.2 Counter Economic War by Newly Large Rising Economy (China) Or Physical War Enemy (Osama Bin Laden (OBL) versus United State America (USA).
The USA has failed to prove its claim of the existence of ‘mass destruction weapons’ in Iraq instead the USA has destroyed Iraq civilization into ashes. They claim that their existence in Iraq will continue until they manage to wipe out terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Killing and destruction have become common news in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of physical war. Little that they know the fighting spirit of the depressed and oppressed Iraqi brothers, namely Osama Bin Laden militants will prolong the war in other form, namely economic war beside the continuing physical war. After years occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, the USA economy is currently in critical stage and its deficit keeps widening. It is believed that its enemy’s strategy in economic war against the USA has been successful in making the USA economy almost kneeling down.
Therefore, morally right economic war against the military or physical war of the super power and developed nation economy such as U.S.A from OBL’s point of view and the newly rising China as a super power economy:
Firstly, the war against USA led by OBL is two pronged. It is a military war and an economic war. OBL was strong enough to conduct a silent economic war against them. Nonetheless, this economic war being a protracted one since it does not primarily engage armies or materials. An economic war is underway and it has in opposition OBL versus the U.S.A The latter may have a stronger hand in the military aspect of their war against Osama, the former Saudi millionaire (he is now disposed of his Saudi nationality and is not that a millionaire nowadays). Yet the U.S.A seems vulnerable on the economic front and since its economy is based mostly on the strength of the U.S.A dollar, it is getting difficult to predict the fate of this war.
Secondly, the creation of economy bloc such as European Union has led a single giant economy such as China feel threatened, especially with the world’s pressure to force China to open up their economy under World Trade Organization agreement. China has an advantage in skilled workers at low labor cost. China has undermined the USA by imitating most of USA high standard brand at cheaper cost. This economic war is considered morally right in ensuring a newly rising economy such China gain its world market share which has been monopolized by the well developed economy. There will be come to a stage where labor, natural resource and energy will become expensive in China and thence they will compete at a level ground.
According to the USA, China is obviously not living up to its commercial expectations. Illegal copies and stolen technology are only a few examples of the economic policies of Beijing. The open economic warfare waged by China against America is in violation of its own agreements and treaty obligations. The U.S. companies that so heartily supported open trade with China are now beginning to regret the deals they made with Beijing. Tyrants don't have to play fair or by the rules. GM, Chrysler and others are learning as they pay the financial penalty of a fools bargain.

Social refers to an entity that is a society that includes attitude, lifestyle, behaviours, income, education, wealth, etc. Therefore, our group defines social war as a war that brings about change to a society within a country. Social war is a result of globalization and modernization of culture and mentality. In order to judge whether this type of war is morally wrong or right, our group will also look into the parties involved. It also depends more on the society within a country and usually we as human beings are always curious about something new.

5.1 The Aggressor
Globalization and modernization enables something new either physical or not, to grow outside of the country of origin and into the other more traditional society. Globally, this is seen as a good development and improvement. In the context of social war, the aggressors are usually related to technology development that can be used by the society that is under attacked. Within a social war, external societies are never forced to accept or conform to these developments. Therefore we conclude that social war is morally right as it aligns with the era of globalization.

5.2 Society under Attack
Society under attack refers to a country that accept development and modernization that is brought in by the foreign society. We find that it is morally wrong for a society to deny any form of social related development even though with a good intention of preventing negative social repercussion. The society that is under attack must accept the changes that are brought in by molding it towards the local society as to move along the stream of latest technology development.

Human beings have been fighting each other since prehistoric times, and people have been discussing the rights and wrongs of it for almost as long. War is a bad thing because it involves deliberately killing or injuring people, and this is a fundamental wrong - an abuse of the victims' human rights (BBC, 2008).
However our group contends, sometimes war cannot be avoided especially when we need to defend what needs defending and to rid ourselves of tyrants or protect ourselves from ideologies or fanatics who attack us with their own principles and weapons. As Schall (2004) points out, war is not the greatest evil, but at times the only means to prevent evil. This is not the war of all against all, but the war of those who can limit terrorism and tyranny when and where it occurs.

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