The Importance Of A Just And Unjust War

1177 Words 5 Pages
Register to read the introduction… Their duties involve participating in the public office and fighting in a just war if it is deemed necessary by their ruler Augustine asserted that once a war has been declared the soldier must obey his leader regardless of whether he is waging a just or unjust war. The soldier is therefore not guilty if the war he engages in is unjust but instead it is the sole fault of the ruler. Augustine argued that ‘the soldier is innocent, because his position makes obedience a duty'. To punish a soldier for participating in an unjust war would encourage dissertation and anarchy amongst the ranks. Augustine thus believed that there should be no resistance to political authority even when unjust. However, in doing this Augustine did not allow for the free will of soldiers to refuse to fight if he disagrees with the war. They are merely tools for rulers to wage wars. Augustine completely exonerated soldiers for any war crimes that they may commit, if ordered to do so by their ruler, no matter how ghastly they may be. This unconditional obedience could easily result in mass human rights abuses. The intention of undertaking a war was very important for Augustine in determining which wars are justified and which are not. In the City of God Augustine used a tale of a youthful prank to clarify what an unjust war is. He talked of stealing pears when he was a young boy; this act was undertaken not out of necessity because of starvation but because of the thrill in the act and the unity it brought amongst him and his …show more content…
In this sense his criteria to what constitutes a just war is valuable to modern day thinking. However, he offers a pessimistic view of human nature suggesting that not only do we have the capacity to sin but also we are almost bound by our lustful desires to commit sins. Ultimately, the most just person should not need to wage war at all; the ability to prevent a war is the quality to be most admired. Augustine writes with many contradictions. Augustine's Just War will still ultimately cause the death of innocent civilians; something which is never

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