Just War: Iraq #6 “Discrimination” Part One

The other half or main category of the Just War Doctrine as initially posited by St Augustine is jus in bello. This refers to conduct in war. In order for just war doctrine to pass the test of morality and ethics, according to its theological argumentation, warrior states must satisfy a series of requirements prior to war, see below, AND appropriate conduct in war. If either of these categories or subcategories are violated, then that state or party has violated Just War doctrine.

It is true Just War Doctrine is to put it mildly softlaw. It is theology but it has attained a certain critical mass in international discussions and ruminations on war. Also since the Roman Catholic Church is its progenitor, it is certainly going to have a certain resonance among large segments of the international community.

The term “discrimination”, is usally an abhorrent one. It is the opposite of justice and is frequently associated with prejudice, de jure segregation and racialism. In this case, it is positive. It refers to avoiding civilian damage and establishing rules of engagement in which militaries wage war against other militaries and not civilians. It prohibits the destruction or burning or leveling of civilian-inhabited communities. It prohibits arbitrary rules of engagement, many are very arbitrary, in which force protection strategy is an excuse to shoot and kill any moving object. It prohibits the use of indiscriminate weaponry or even “smart” weaponry ruthlessly and carelessly applied. It prohibits the invasion of homes and apartments not directly related to military necessity. It proscribes the use of napalm, cluster bombs or high altitude bombing in which the protection of non-combatants is ignored. It is basically an effort to protect and defend non-combatant immunity.

I will develop this component further in additional posts.

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