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Can War Be Justified?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/29/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,477 times Debate No: 93209
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
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Should war be justified? Do wars bring us anything more than bloodshed and destruction? To some war is tradition and culture; to others its a significant waste of money, resources and lives. I want to hear peoples opinions on war, and whether it could be justified.


I accept this debate, and I look forward to debating this controversial topic with you.
Debate Round No. 1


As a person in the comments said: 'World War 2 saved millions and millions of lives', by taking 60,000,000 lives of women, children and men. Surely it would've saved the 60 million by simply avoiding shooting each other to a point where one side runs out of men to throw into the front line. Sure, one would state that the aftermath resulted in peace, but it always does. War would only ever be justified if no lives would be lost, but then that is not a war altogether, therefore war cannot be justified. Please note that this is an opinion, not a fact.

I look forward to reading you argument.


War is often necessary. In an ideal world, where we would never have international disagreements, it wouldn"t be. But this world is not utopian. It is an industrialized mess of corrupt governments, ruined trade deals, economic instability, and religious extremism.

My opponent has provided an idealistic solution to a world that is in no way utopian. Most issues are never worth fighting over. But some are. Let me provide my opponent with a hypothetical example so he can decide what, in his defenseless world, he would do about it.

In 1994, the Rwandan Genocide began. The Hutu majority in Rwanda, led by nationalists, began the genocide of the Tutsi people, as well as moderate Hutus. The genocide caused 800,000 deaths. Rwandans against the killings formed the Rwandese Patriotic Front, and declared war against the Hutus in order to stop the murder of innocent people. After an effective military offensive in July, the RPF gained control of Rwanda and the genocide stopped.

Was the RPF"s revolution unjustified? Would my opponent have preferred the Rwandan citizens to sit back and watch their neighbors and loved ones be slaughtered? It should be noted that genocide is not war. War is defined as the armed conflict between two opposing forces. In this case, the original slaughter of the Tutsi people represented just that: a slaughter in which one armed force murdered the opposing people.

Again, I maintain that most wars are unjustified. Wars fought over trivial economic issues, or the crimes of the few in a country are completely unjustified. But the naive statement that all wars, over all issues are unjustified is incorrect.
Debate Round No. 2


Defending your people and/or neighbours is one thing. Declaring war on the Hutus AFTER the conflict is a whole different story. I see no faults in defence, its attack that makes it unjustifiable. Of course, if the opponent attacks in order to stop future threats, that is sensible and makes it the better( and, to answer your question, is what I would have done). However, like in most cases, the attacker may start conflict in order of personal pleasure, i.e revenge.

That is an example of WW2. Hitler stated that another world scale war would bring Germany its reputation and honour back. Its quite clear that Hitler had no intention to benefit Germany, himself being Austrian. He hated the Jews and wanted an excuse to slaughter millions of innocent Jews, most of whom caused no problems to the German society, so a world war was legible. Of course this isnt the only reason to start another war, but , I would think, was important to the build up.

You said that my 'idealistic' world would be defenceless, but just because our nations are peaceful, you would think its got no form of defence? Let me give you an example:
For many years, Iceland has been one of the most peaceful countries on our planet
( )
but does than necessary mean that is go no military or front line defence?
Iceland has no standing military, but its in strong relations with NATO, along with an Iceland Air Defence System. Units subordinated to the National Commissioner also take part in Iceland's defences. Foremost of these are the National Security Unit, which handles intelligence operations and the special unit V"kingasveitin, a highly trained and equipped counter terrorism unit which is part of the National Police force.

That to me, and to a majority is not defenceless. Perhaps Iceland has such a low violence rate because of its highly developed defence unit.
Also, it notable that Iceland played no/little part in fighting in any of the World Wars, which brings up the saying 'The best for of Offence is Defence'.

As of now, I still believe that war isnt right. 'War brings peace' is not a valid excuse because after every war of every nation, peace shortly followed, partly because of realisation of actions, but mainly because of lack of resources. And because of this, war, not defence or punishment but war, cannot be justified.


My opponent is a genuinely kind, peaceful, intelligent individual, and I admire that about him. He has good, if a little too informal, conduct. But we agree on virtually nothing in this subject.

Con is arguing that under no circumstances can war be morally justified. I am arguing that war, in some circumstances, can be morally justified. Specifically, I believe that war fought to end humanitarian crises or colonial subjectification is justified, but only after all diplomatic measures have been exhausted.

Con stated that he saw "no faults in defence," and that, "if the opponent attacks in order to stop future threats," the course of action is "sensible." Both of the possible courses of action listed in the previous sentence are examples of war. As I put in my prior argument, war can be defined as the armed conflict between two opposing groups. As such, fighting a defensive war, according to my opponent, is completely justified, as is attacking one"s opponents to ensure the safety of one"s nation. And in a couple sentences, Con"s argument crumbles. He has just given two examples of "justifiable war" that go squarely against his firm anti military stance.

I don"t think that Con really understood the point of the Rwandan revolution during the genocide. He assumed that the revolution occurred after the mass killings. It did not. The RPF essentially ended the genocide, corresponding to Con"s view that attacking to defend one"s self was morally justifiable. Why, then, is Con so against all wars?

This was quite an interesting debate. I enjoyed arguing over this topic. Hopefully people will realize that, while war is always horrific, occasionally it can be morally justified.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ThePunisher1234 2 years ago
Sorry, citing Wikipedia
Posted by ThePunisher1234 2 years ago
Really? You're quoting Wikipedia?
Posted by TheWorldIsComplicated 2 years ago
War is always terrible, countless innocence lives lost and tons of parents getting letters that their child has been killed in action. The problem with taking out a countries militaries is that no one would be willing to go first. Unfortunately, "greed has spoiled men's souls" as Charlie Chaplin said.
Posted by ThePunisher1234 2 years ago
You acknowledge that our world is in no way perfect, and yet you present a solution that would realistically only work in a utopia? We are all animals. Highly sophisticated, keenly intelligent animals, but still animals. We act in our own self-interests, even if those self-interests occasionally involve cooperation. What you are proposing is impossible.

Oh, and if you want an example of the failure of economic sanctions, take a look at the U.S-Japanese relations prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria. The war that followed was particularly bloody, and the Japanese military committed countless atrocities and war crimes. The U.S, as a statement against the Japanese actions, cut oil exports to Japan, causing major oil shortages in the Japanese fleet. Rather than accept the dishonor of backing down and retreating from China, Japan chose to plan a devastating attack on U.S. naval assets in Pearl Harbor, and brought the U.S. into the most bloody, brutal, and devastating modern war.

The example regarding my future son concerns an entirely different argument.
Posted by TheSideSpectator 2 years ago
Did you really think people would just stop shooting each other? (excluding what happened in christmas during the war). They wouldn't, although this is an opinion, I believe that every human in their respective countries should follow out and carry out their orders that their country has given them, or else, they would fail themselves.
Posted by vi_spex 2 years ago
religion is war
Posted by dalir.kosimov 2 years ago

Have I stated that my 'solution' will ever happen? I am totally aware that my idea of a 'perfect world' has probably never happened, nor will happen, but until it does, I will defend my point of War being a waste. Surely our brilliant minds would come with with a better solution than killing each other off? You said 'We really cant have a peaceful rule without a way of enforcing it. That is war' that is not war, it is punishment, and i totally agree with punishment. And why cant we have a peaceful international communications? Why does the answer always have to be violence? Answer me this: if you son went to war, and died with bullets in his head, would you really think that there was no other way but violence, or would you change your mind and think that maybe, just maybe, murder is not the answer?
And please give me an example when major economic sanctions did not work.
Posted by ThePunisher1234 2 years ago

Do you honestly believe that your solution would ever happen? If you do, you're either insane or hopelessly idealistic. War serves as a catalyst for global stability. After the ammunition is spent, after the soldiers die, and after the blood settles, nations generally realize the catastrophic consequences of their actions.

As TheWorldIsComplicated stated, the world is not perfect. We can't have constant peaceful international communications, and we can't really have peaceful rule without a way of enforcing it. That way is war. When we have countries that wrong other countries, we need a way to punish them. Often, economic sanctions really don't work.
Posted by Silas_Cole 2 years ago
Only when your trying to defend yourself or help the defense of others.
Posted by dalir.kosimov 2 years ago
True say, but non of this would've happened if World War One hadn't started over a thoughtless shooting in Austria-Hungary. That is my point. If the world leaders decided to unite (that would happen in the perfect world but, like you mentioned, this is not a perfect world) then World War 1 and the Nazi injustice wouldn't have ever occurred. I do not see the point of wasting precious lives when it could have been prevented via a multinational voting of who gets what, for example. And no soldier should die for a good cause, no soldier should die, there should be no soldiers. If we truly wanted to have world peace then we would strip all the countries of their military equipment and men. But of course, this is not a perfect world, so the leaders wont think for themselves for once and we will carry on taking other peoples lives 'legally' just because the leaders said so. We haven't the right to play God, deciding who lives and who dies. That is why I think that war can never be justified.
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