Was the 1982 Lebanon war a just war?
The debate over what constitutes a just war has an ancient history. Just war theories stem from philosophical, religious and military thinking. Christian religious thinkers, like St. Augustine (354–430), and Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) spoke of laws of war and peace, reflecting on the reasons that bring about war (jus ad bellum) and the means employed in the conduct of war (jus in bello). A contemporary thinker who has developed a liberal theory on just and unjust wars that accentuates moral considerations is Michael Walzer. He used Clausewitz as a point of departure, aiming to construct an interdisciplinary liberal theory that brings together political theory, ethics and international relations. In this paper, I employ Walzer’s theory to assess the justifications for the 1982 Israeli war in Lebanon. Section (I) provides historical-philosophical background and context. Section (II) accentuates the underpinning principles of Walzer’s theory. Section (III) employs Walzer’s theory to analyse the 1982 Lebanon War. Section (IV) addresses the question whether the Lebanon War was justified. I argue that the 1982 Lebanon War was not justified.
ethics of war; just war; ius ad bellum; ius in bello; 1982 Lebanon War
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