Just War Theory: The Principles Of Just War Theory

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Today, technological advances in warfare have challenged the foundational principles of Just War Theory and generated scrutiny around ethical behavior in combatant environments. Just War Theory refers to a set of rules that a sovereign state is expected to follow before engaging in war, during war, and after war—jus ad bellum, jus in bellum, and jus post bellum, respectively. With the increased employment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drone strikes under the Obama Administration, one may doubt the morality of these attacks. Specifically, the aims of this essay seek to answer the question on whether or not drone strikes in Yemen adhere to the principles of Just War Theory. Considering the unprecedented and regular use of this technology, …show more content…
Just cause is the principle that a state should only approve war in the act of self-defense against the aggressor who is always at fault (Orend 17). Drone strikes in Yemen violate this principle because just cause condemns preemptive strikes. Furthermore, an act of self-defense only qualifies when the self-defense is in response to a current attack, not a suspected attack in the future (Orend 17). Because drone strikes are used to prevent Al Qaeda’s potential, future attacks on the United States, they may seem perfectly justified; however, considering that the United States has not suffered a domestic attack on the scale of the September 11 attacks since 2001, drone strikes violate this central rule of Just War …show more content…
Last resort explains that leaders should not pursue war until exhausting all diplomatic negotiation efforts (Orend 59). The violation of Just War Theory is less clear as it relates to drone strikes in Yemen, since negotiation efforts with Yemen are complicated through an absence of a United States embassy in the country (CNN). However, because the United States does not actively negotiate or have strong ties to the Yemeni government, their use of drone attacks is that much more unethical. Without supporting a dialogue between itself and the Yemeni government, the United States does not have the ethical right to employ drone strikes. In this scenario, the United States is the aggressor because the nation has taken upon itself to initiate a war without considering it as a last resort. Additionally, one may argue that the last resort may be ignored in this scenario because the war on terrorism has no known negotiator on the side of the terrorists. However, when examining the principle of just cause, it does not make sense to initiate a dialogue with a terrorist organization because they have not explicitly given the United States grounds to pursue war since the September 11 attacks. Ultimately, the last resort exposes a weakness in the United States’ drone enforcement policy in

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