Military Review English Edition September-October 2014 - Page 106

Figure 1. contract and a protected common life. In contrast, governing oppressively causes a state to lose legitimacy in the eyes of its population; however, the state’s ability to wield power and influence still enables it to enforce the contract, albeit without any guarantee that it will safeguard the common life of its citizens. Such a circumstance may leave no recourse for the population other than forcibly changing the government or its policies. When a state becomes tyrannical and oppressive, a population’s violent struggle against the state should be considered morally justifiable. In just war terms, a state’s deliberate efforts to oppress and harm its citizens constitute a form of aggression that should justify an internal response to it. Coercion as a form of state aggression. A prominent just war theorist named Brian Orend, author of The Morality of War, recognizes violation of human rights using coercion as a form of aggression. He concludes, “either states or nonstate actors can commit aggression, which we have seen is what roots a morally justified resort to war.”19 Tyrannical governments might confront their citizens with a choice equivalent to state aggression: “your rights or your lives.”20 The citizens’ attempt to compel a government to alter its policies through the use of force, even if it means overthrowing the government, is arguably a kind of independence movement. A proposed sixth revision to the legalist paradigm. As our own nation arose from revolution, our values “give us the credibility to stand up to tyranny.”21 Therefore, I believe there is room for exception in just war theory’s treatment of domestic tyrants and suggest adding one more revision to the legalist paradigm. 104 This revision should allow for aiding violent resistance movements of peoples victimized by government harm and persecution, even if their political community has yet to fully gain the ability to determine its own existence. This means that intervention in a nation-state to stop its oppression of, or deliberate harm to, its citizens may be a morally prudent and justified policy choice. Decision-Making Models for Choosing Just War Walzer navigates between two moral extremes for choosing to wage war, either when it is never justified or when survival is at stake. The latter refers to responding to aggression or helping another state in its response to it, which are both the only morally justified reasons under the strict conditions of the legalist paradigm. A decision-making model under Walzer’s legalist paradigm. The decision model under the principles in the legalist paradigm may look like figure 1. The moral decision point for war becomes absolute under a national interest of survival or when coming to the aid of another state in its struggle for survival. Walzer’s first four revisions to the legalist paradigm allow some room between these two poles. For example, Walzer describes cases that justify outside intervention, such as when a state’s violation of the rights of its citizens stands out as “so terrible that it makes talk of community or self-determination or ‘arduous struggle’ seem cynical and irrelevant.”22 He also allows for humanitarian intervention and rescuing people from massacre where the goal is limited solely to rescue without any additional political objectives.23 September-October 2014  MILITARY REVIEW