Just War Tradition in the Nuclear Age: Is it Ever Moral to Push the Button?
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Because of the massive destructiveness of nuclear weapons, many nuclear ethicists have asserted that their use in war is contrary to just war traditions which have guided Western moral thought since at least the Fifth Century. This position creates a significant dilemma for US officials who must keep their fingers on the nuclear trigger as part of our national defense strategy. This essay examines the dimensions of that dilemma by reviewing the principles of the just war tradition and applying them to modern total war concepts. It concludes by examining three possible solutions to the dilemma, 1 deployment of a strategic defense system, such as that contemplated by SDI 2 arms control and 3 establishment of a world police authority under the auspices of the United Nations to enforce nuclear disarmament and to intervene, if necessary, to prevent a total conventional war between the great powers.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics