Can War Be Justified?
It is a very popular point of view nowadays that war is the ultimate evil of mankind and cannot be justified by anything. War is evil, war is hell, war should never happen. This pacifist rhetoric has, of course, very little to do with the reality. And reality is this – yes, war is evil, but sometimes a little evil is necessary to prevent a bigger one.
According to the statements we have mentioned before, one can think that wars happen because both sides of the conflict have agreed that they should fight over something. But this picture is absurd and, in fact, it is never the case. In any wars there is an attacker and a defender; and while it is up to the attacker whether to attack or not, for defender it is another choice: to defend or to be slaughtered. The principle is the same as that mentioned by Shakespeare – when we forgive a murderer, we murder ourselves.
Do pacifists really think that any conflict can be resolved without resorting to power? Sometimes it seems they really do. But pacifists, as far as I can judge, know little history. For example, if Europe confronted Hitler when he first tried to annex Sudetenland and deposed him – that is, using armed force – the bloodiest war in the entire human history could have been averted.
That is why, I say that the war is justifiable when it is a defensive war, or when it is fought in order to eliminate a potential aggressor or a tyrannical dictator, a leader of inhuman regime. Any other kind of war is, of course, nothing more than a simple crime – just like mugging, but million times worse.