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Is war ethical?

War can be an act of aggression by a nation or often a last resort of nations dealing with conflict. With terrible human and other costs, is war ever justified or ethical?

Yes, War is ethical in certain circumstances

In circumstances where war is the only means to effect positive change, war is ethical. The ends must adequately justify the means.

War is ethical if the reason behind the war is morally righteous

If all other peaceful options have been tried and have failed, then a war may be an ethical next step. The war is only ethical if the reason for going to war is virtuous.

War is ethical if the response is proportional to the initial act of aggression

If actions taken in a war are reasonable responses to real or perceived aggression, then the war is ethical. It is being waged with intentions that are not meant to cause unnecessary casualties.

No, War is always unethical

War may appear to be the only option when two powers are at odds with one another, but the unintended consequences of war are always grievous and enduring. Therefore, war is always unethical.

While conflicts should be solved peacefully, wartime promotes extraordinary violence

We have the option to resolve our conflicts in peace and have even built structures to strengthen diplomacy such as the United Nations, yet wartime eradicates the priority of reconciliation. We confuse winning with resolution, even if it costs lives. War can seem like a solution, but it ends up increasing conflict.

War is unethical because it is psychologically damaging for all parties

There is evidence that war is psychologically damaging and harms not only the combatants, but also their families and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. While some believe that we have made progress in preventing damage, others believe that war sets us up for a continuous cycle of violence.

This page was last edited on Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 02:42 UTC

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