Just War Principles - Summary
Principles for Engaging in War
- The cause of initiating war must be just.
- War cannot be initiated justly except by those who hold the proper authority and responsibility.
- The moral merit on our side must clearly outweigh the moral merit on the other.
- The intention of going to war must be to obtain or restore a just peace. Desires to punish or humiliate are not adequate intentions.
- All non-violent alternatives must be exhausted before resorting to war.
Probability of success.
- If the prospect of success is hopeless, war is not justified no matter how just the cause.
Proportionality of projected results.
- The good expected must be greater than the estimation of anticipated costs.
- War should be regarded as a tragic necessity.
Principles for Conducting War
Proportionality in the use of force.
- No action should be taken that generates more harm than good.
- A strong distinction must be maintained between combatants and non-combatants. Non-combatants must never be deliberate or primary targets of military action.
Avoidance of evil means.
- No use of evil means (even for a just cause).
- As much as possible, the enemy must be treated in good faith in order to keep open the possibility of reconciliation.