War effect on civilians. The war in Iraq

War has been the part of human kind the
since the beginning. It not like a natural disaster that occurs but it is
disaster brought by men. There have been many wars over the century. From
Vietnam to the war in Middle East, the pain inflicted on civilians and the
soldiers is unbearable. Just War Theory (JWT) has been used to justify these
wars and they were necessary. There have been other incidents, where the
intervention by the UN was predominant. The reason for war considering JWT has
led to many interventions causing bloodshed. 
The role of JWT is challenged by the theory of pacifism. The role
pacifism and peace has played in recent years in world politics is notable. The
role of peace treaties and sanctions have has mass effect. The theory of
pacifism, a nonviolent application is ethical and morally better than JWT. The
war not just effects the people in one country and their human rights, but it
also effects other countries. The Refugee crisis and the violence against women
just somethings. War, there is justification that can make it just because The
loss of life and the long term effects it has on people are horrific.


Just War a Theory (JWT) is the
theory that provides justification of war and why it was a legitimate war. The
just war practice represents precedents and the actions which provide reason on
why war was necessary. These precedents are from many different historical,
cultural and religious aspects and time. JWT has two parts Jus Ad Bellum and
Jus in Bello. They dictate the ‘right to go to war ‘and ‘the right conduct in
war’ respectively. “Augustine (354-430) provides a foundation for Just War
Theory in Western literature. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) codified Augustine’s reflections
into the distinct criteria that remain the basis of Just War Theory as it is
used today.”(Dorbolo John,2001,1). JWT is a theory that has not changed since
1274 and is still used. JWT has remained the same unlike the weapons, the
threats and conditions in war. The doctrine that gives reason for war in the
modern era is anything but modern. Since the twentieth century nations have
become more powerful in nuclear, biological and cyber warfare. JWT does not
represent that in any aspect. Other doctrines which are still used such as
Geneva Convention was put into action in 1949(international committee of the
red cross, 2010) is more than sixty years old. There are no relevant laws or
doctrines which can dictate just war accurately. The lack of doctrines and
relevant law addresses that war is unjust. Jean Elshtain in the book Just War
Theory, he states that genuine justice cannot be achieved until the race to
weaponise has ended (Elshtain Jean, 2004, 14). JWT gives nations a criteria to
justify why a war is fair, however, it does not they consider the effect on
civilians. The war in Iraq was classified as just war yet the effect on
civilians has been devastating. “There have been approximately 165,000 Iraqi
civilians killed by direct violence since the US invasion” (Crawford Neta,
2008). Thus proving that JWT has no consideration for civilians. The effect of
war is a social injustice and war is fought for personal benefits. The
relevance of JWT is an excuse for political and legislative reasons. The failure
of US to intervene in the Rwandan genocide is a prime example. “… The US had no
interests in Rwanda, a small central African country with no minerals or
strategic value “(Carroll Rory, 2004). The role of war in the modern era is
purely for personal gain. The concept of just cause, just intention and just
authority is non-existent. The role of war has changed, it was to protect and
defend the nation but now it is about strategic and monetary advantage. During
World War Two the JWT is disregarded because a part of jus in Bello is
proportionality. “The proportionality of the use of force in a war. The degree
of allowable force used in the war must be measured against the force required
to correct the Just cause and limited by Just Intention (see Jus Ad Bellum).” (Dorbolo John,2001,1).
The use of the atomic bomb in Japan is in no way justifiable. “. It is not
unlikely that the estimates of killed and wounded in Hiroshima (150,000) and
Nagasaki (75,000) are over conservative”(UCLA, 2007). The doctrine which had the
purpose to protect and establish fair war failed. The failure happened because
it was not mandated to the modern era. The weapons have changed and doctrine
needs to be changed to, so it can manage the proper use of those weapons. JWT
has failed thus it questions the decisions of the leaders and why JWT is still





The use of JWT and the effects of
war leads to other ways of solving problems. The other theory that has been
active throughout the history is pacifism. Pacifism is the idea that war and
violence are unjustifiable, and that conflicts should be settled in a peaceful
way (BBC, Pacifism, 2004). Pacifism is morally and ethically sound compared to
JWT. There have been many pacifists throughout history and their achievements
are commendable. The role of pacifism, as stated, is to resolve conflicts and
in the modern era where most nations are nuclear capable, it is very important
that conflicts are peacefully resolved. The twentieth century has seen some
famous pacifists which had immense influence on the people. Dr Martin Luther
King, Jr for example, was a leader in an American civil rights movement. He
believed in peaceful protests and his speech “I have dream” inspired many
(Szulman Jennifer, 2015). People such as he showcased to the world the achievements
conquered using peaceful means. The peaceful approach to problems compared to
military actions is not just ethically but economically superior. Violence
disregards long term effects and interests of the nation in order to achieve
more narrow and immediate material ends (Howes Dustin, 2010, pg11). An example
of such is the atomic bomb in Japan. The mistakes of the past have helped the
nations to use peace treaties and sanctions to resolve conflicts. The Paris
Peace Accords signed by the US and Vietnam, put an end to the conflict in the
Vietnam War (History.com staff, 2009). The use of sanctions have been more
apparent, as they prevent conflicts. The involvement of the European Union and
UN becomes paramount in this process. There are many types sanctions and they
all have different purposes. A sanction is described as “measures not involving
the use of armed force’, including a ‘complete or partial interruption of
economic relations” (DFAT,2011).  The
world economy is more market driven than ever, hence the restrictions on trade
can severely cripple a country’s economy. The use of such means has more impact
than war. Pacifism, in the recent years, has more impact because  people know the consequences of war. The
effect of sanctions on the Russian economy have shown that five billion US
dollars is leaving the Russian economy each month (Ulansky Elena, 2014).
Placing sanctions on a country is more damaging. Sanctions achieve the same
objective but without any loss of civilian or military life. Sanctions have
proven that war is not necessary to cripple a country. As always the role of
war was to defend the beliefs and yet pacifism has achieved the same without
shedding a drop of blood.









It often occurs that armed
conflicts leads to infringement of human rights. The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights has minimal meaning in war zones. During war many of the Human
right are violated because the Citizens are just concerned about their safety.
Thus, rights such as freedom from Interference with privacy, family, home and
correspondence (Flowers Nancy,2000) have no relevance or meaning. The people
who are most affected are civilians who had have no involvement in the
conflicts. Any armed conflicts leads to a refugee crisis and neighbouring
countries are most affected. Pakistan for example has spent two hundred billion
on Afghani refugees (Baloch,2013). A country such as Pakistan, which is a
relatively a poor country cannot afford such spending. Accepting refugees leads
for higher demand in education, health, transportation and social services. As
the demand for such things rise and supply is relative, it leads to inflation.
Countries those accept refugees need to dedicate more spending towards them
thus leading to other aspects having the budget cut. The assumption that
leaving a war zone will increase the quality of life is in danger too. An SBS
report stated that more than one million Syrian refugees in Europe are at risk
of modern slavery ( Brinded Lianna, 2017 ). The effect of war escalates to
other countries too as they have an obligation to help the refugees. The risk
of migrating as a refugee is high, due to the uncertainty of their trip. Many
refugees which are successful in the trip lead to being processed in refugee
camps. This has its own complications. Sexual abuse and violence against women
are just some complications. “Women in refugee camps live in fear of violence,
including rape, according to a report about the adversities female
asylum-seekers face in Greece”( Aljazeera, 2017). The refugee crisis has it is
complication of human rights violations. The governments of host nations
however, do not have the resources to provide proper support. The long term
effect of armed conflict is horrific. Everyone that is involved in war is
negatively affected in some way. The soldiers have suffered on the battlefield
and yet the veterans often need long-term care due to the physical and
psychological impact of war. The effect of war usually leads to disease which
will affect their life after service. The emotional effects of war on soldiers
usually influences their future because many find it hard confronting the
effects of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Veterans without have adequate
counselling and care often lead to suicide. Armed conflict affects  children and young people in many different
ways too.  Most children suffer physical
harm, sexual abuse, violence and PTSD. Some unlucky children lose their
parents, which leads them to commit suicide. The human rights of many children
are non -existent too because survival is goal, yet those who do survive often
suffer from mental issues for the rest of their life. 




The role of war in the history cannot be
ignored. War has caused so much trauma to millions of people. The role of war
has been embedded into humans, it seems logical and fair to resolve issues that
way. JWT definitely gives us guidance on how to make war fair but that does not
stop the effect it has on people. War is an ethical dilemma and it is
understandable why it is. The effect it has on people not in any way fair or
just. The civilians of war torn countries loose so much and the soldiers loose
even more. Pacifism gives the option of not going through such ordeals. The
achievements by peace treaties and sanctions is commendable. The ethical and
moral issues raised by conducting war has made pacifism a better alternative.
The justification of war cannot be achieved because it not just  in any manner. The issue is that neither
theories are perfect they both have flaws. Pacifism however is underlines the
importance of human rights. In a nutshell war is not just and cannot be just
because it affects a lot people negatively.




















Aljazeera. (2017, 24). RRDP: Women
fear violence and rape in refugee camps. Retrieved from


Baloch. (2013, October 26).
Burdened economy: ?Pakistan has spent $200b on Afghan refugees? – The Express
Tribune. Retrieved from https://tribune.com.pk/story/622518/burdened-economy-pakistan-has-spent-200b-on-afghan-refugees/


BBC. (n.d.). BBC – Ethics – War:
Pacifism. Retrieved from


Carroll, R. (2017, July 14). US
chose to ignore Rwandan genocide. Retrieved from


Crawford Neta C. (n.d.). Iraqi
Civilians | Costs of War. Retrieved from


DFAT. (2016, April 21). About
sanctions. Retrieved from


Dorbolo Jon. (n.d.). Just War
Theory. Retrieved from


Elshtain, J. B. (2004). Just war
theory. Retrieved from


Flowers Nancy. (n.d.). The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (abbreviated). Retrieved from


Howes, D. E. (2010). Toward a
credible pacifism: Violence and the possibilities of politics. Retrieved from


ICRC. (2010, October 29). The
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols – ICRC. Retrieved


Lianna Brinded. (2017, August 10).
Many refugees in Europe risk swapping life in a war zone for the life of a
slave. Retrieved from


Szluman Jennifer. (2015, September
17). Marking ‘Peace Day’ with list of most famous peace activists. Retrieved


UCLA. (2007, October 10).
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Toll. Retrieved from


Ulansky Elena. (2015, April 9).
Sanctions – Impact on Average Russian Life. Retrieved from