Jus ad bellum:
War is laziness. It would seem illogical to argue that war is physically lazy when it demands exertion to the point of utter exhaustion. But, war is mentally lazy because it is what politics deteriorate to when political leaders refuse to resolve problems intellectually. War is thought of as “the big exception” to normal politics. This traditional acceptance must be lost if there is to be any progression; as John Stuart Mill said: “[the] despot of custom [hinders] human advancement.” To break this reluctance to war one must destroy the two main pillars which hold up the ‘acceptance of war’ pedestal: (i) the romancing of war; and, (ii) the inaccurate analogy of army and police.
Like the ancient western intellectuals Homer and Virgil, Sun Tzu romanticized war in his collection of essays called The Art of War. These warfare stories are myths. Although based on historical events, it is hard to believe that warfare has ever been conducted with such restraint and honor. The belief that ancient warfare was once conducted according to these virtues is similar to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideal state of nature – a metaphoric utopia that never existed. It has been said that war unifies man. Ironically, this is accurate insofar as war unifies men in dis-unifying other men’s bodies. Tzu lived at a time of brutal ongoing warfare, but instead of constructing a system of morals to help the people cope with the brutality of period, as Confucius did, he sought to construct a system of warfare that could be conducted quickly and efficiently so fewer deaths would result. Tzu could be called the Joseph-Ignace Guillotin of China. In his view, war could not be avoided, so the best thing to do would be to make it more efficient. Tzu states that “those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle.” This is a noble intention but, practically, it is not very realistic. Clausewitz attacks this claim in his work, On War, arguing that “kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war.” He argues that when they set this goal it gives the enemy an advantage. They now have two goals, to defeat the enemy army and to do so with as little bloodshed as possible, while their enemy still only has one: to win at any cost.
This term ‘winning’ is not used accidentally; it is a common utterance throughout many Just War writings. War is repeatedly compared to games or sport in both Tzu and Clausewitz writings. In addition to simplifying and romanticizing war, they assert that rules will be followed during war just as they are in sport. According to Clausewitz, “in the whole range of human activities war most closely resembles a game of cards.” This is an apt analogy even though his use for it was in support of his claim that war is a “gamble.” The reason it is the perfect analogy is because, to paraphrase him, in the whole range of human activities, a game of cards is considered the game with the most cheating, deception and bending of the rules. Tzu agrees: “all warfare is based on deception.” If war is a game, it is a game in which the players will do anything to win, regardless of the rules, and, what is worse, it is a game without referees.
The second pillar which holds up the “acceptance of war” pedestal is the comparison of warfare to police action. In her assessment of the positions of various Just War theorists, Teichman states that warfare is equivalent to “police work and punishment.” If one wants to make the comparison of warfare to police work then one has to understand that police work is something which has been institutionalized in a state and constructed for the protection of its entire population. In contrast, warfare is not institutionalized and is not undertaken for the protection of everyone; each side is merely protecting themselves. As much as Just War theorists want to rationalize warfare, they are constructing their arguments on precarious foundations. Warfare is not law enforcement because there is not united law which nations are fighting to enforce; there is nothing more than a dispute between two parties. In this case, Clausewitz’s analogy of war being nothing more than “a duel on a larger scale”  is a more accurate description of what war really is: nation-styled vigilantism. Both sides of a conflict have their own definition of justice which supports their reason for war. In his book, Political Writings, Francisco De Vitoria calls this “undecided justness.” These justifications cannot be credible because of their one-sidedness. The Dude would say: “that’s just, ya know, like, your opinion, man.” This is why arguments like Monsieur De Vattel’s claim that countries have the right in war to “punish” opposing countries, are invalid.
The key element missing in the analogy that warfare is like international police-work is international police. In the absence of such a force, dudeism and pacifism cannot be practiced. Since the only justification for violence is self-defense, a nation, attacked by surprise, has the right to defend itself. At this point in time, countries such as the United States get away with preemptively attacking another country for the “potential” danger that the country is said to impose. This is exactly the guessing game situation earlier discussed that should not be allowed. In the film, this guessing game is brilliantly illustrated when the Dude and Walter, looking for the million-dollar briefcase, confront the petty punk who took the Dude’s car for joyride. Frustrated during the interrogation, Walter decides to punish the punk by smashing “his” new car. Unfortunately, Walter turns out to have made an incorrect assumption and the real owner of the car comes running out frantically. The real owner then continues the guessing game when he makes the same mistake smashing the Dude’s nearby car thinking it was Walter’s. On a global level, these kinds of mistakes could lead to the use of much more deadly weapons than crowbars, namely nuclear bombs.
Once an international police force is assembled warfare between nations cannot be justified. This should not be looked at as a utopian dream but as a practical evolutionary step. Once there is an international police force they will be responsible for assisting those who are attacked or who suffer under despots. One country’s heroic action in the aid of another only creates a false picture of reality because it superimposes its values over theirs. Referring to the United States’ imposition of democracy in Iraq, Michael Ignatieff says in his article “Election Scorned: “never has there been such a concentrated attempt to destroy an election through violence” It is not surprising that some Iraqis resist the imposition; even if democracy is something they want, they do not want it imposed on them by foreigners. Nothing will be respected if it is not the product of one’s own work. It is evident that the actions of the United States have not seemed genuine and the “democracy” which they have forced at gunpoint is a thorn in the side of democracy itself. Ignatieff says that United States has done the impossible: “they have turned democracy into a disreputable slogan.” A country cannot decide what is best for other countries. These decisions must be left to an international authority.
In his work, Perpetual Peace, Immanuel Kant argues that “war is the easiest thing in the world to decide upon.” This is because the authorities who decide such matters are not directly involved in the war and so the daily sacrifices made by the people during wartime are, for them, remote. As Edmund Burke argues in his book, Reflections on the French Revolution, these so called ‘authorities’ who have declared war have “not [shed] one drop of…blood…in the cause of the country they have ruined.” Clausewitz states that war is a “political instrument” but if one wants to make such a metaphor then it is an instrument played by non-musicians. The authorities that decide to go to war do not have the proper international authority to make such grave judgments.
“The Just war theory should be filed in the same drawer as the flat-earth theory”
-Bishop Carroll Dozier