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1/06/2006

JUST WAR PART 8: DE VITORIA (WHEN NO ONE'S RIGHT)

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
JUST WAR PART 1: THE TIMES OF AUGUSTINE
JUST WAR PART 2: THE THEORY OF AUGUSTINE
JUST WAR PART 3: AQUINAS BUILDS
JUST WAR PART 4: UNDER THE INFLUENCE (Crusades)
JUST WAR PART 5: UNDER THE INFLUENCE (Natural Law)
JUST WAR PART 6: CHIVALRY
JUST WAR PART 7: JUS AD BELLUM & JUS IN BELLO

As the sun set on the middle ages a new generation of Just War thinkers rose to prominence, seeing the world through a new lens their predecessors never accounted for: colonialism. It was the sixteenth century and Columbus sailed the ocean blue, bringing Mother Spain's armed conquistadors with him and firmly wedging Just War proponents (which was the entire Catholic Church) between a proverbial rock and hard place. Or, more fitting, between a spear and a sword.

"More than any other individual [Francisco de Vitoria] served to recast the medieval just-war consensus for the dawning of the modern age."(1) De Vitoria thought beyond mere rules for engagement and "set forth foundations for international law not only for Christendom but for the whole world."(2)

de Vitoria revised Just War thinking by admitting there are ties in warfare. He didn't call them that but that's what he meant. In the case of the conquistadors versus the natives, for instance, he wrote that the world is a human community with certain rights given to all people. Among those rights is the ability to go anywhere one wishes, trade anywhere one wishes, as long as one does not intend to harm anyone in the process. So the Spanish had a right to settle in the New World.

But he also reasoned that even IF the conquistadors were innocent travelers (I doubt it) the unsophisticated inhabitants of the New World may not perceive them as such. The natives could view any visit by different looking folks as hostile, as something to fight against - justifiably - especially if they're carrying sharp pointy things. So the natives were right in defending themselves against what they saw as an attack, thought de Vitoria. And the Spaniards were then right to fight back in defense of themselves.

Like I said, it's a tie.

Basically, two sides of a conflict could view the conflict differently and, when applying the Just War theory, each could rightly (given their perception of things) reach the conclusion that they are the good guy and are just in waging war against the bad guy - who also thinks he's the good guy.

So what's a Just War theorist to do in a world where good and bad guys are not so easily sorted out any more? De Vitoria decided that instead of weighing jus ad bellum (WHY we're going to war) and jus in bello (HOW we war) equally in such instances, nations should place more emphasis on jus in bello (HOW we war). In doing so de Vitoria shifted the primary ethical problem away from whether or not we have definitive justification for going to war and towards the rules of engagement, how we will win now that we are at war.

And that's how half of the Just War theory became more important than the other. In time wars could be justified AFTER they began instead of before. Justified by HOW they were fought and not WHY they were fought. Wars would sometimes be called "just" not because the cause of war was determined to be so but because the scope of violence was limited, the enemy was not tortured, property was not damaged unnecessarily and innocent citizens were not slaughtered.

SOURCES:
1. James Turner Johnson, Can Modern War Be Just? (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1984), p.76
2. James Brown Scott, The Spanish Origins of International Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934), p.9

16 Comments:

Blogger Kathryn said...

war, conflict, fighting, -- neverending disagreement and destruction. i guess i'm just in a mood, people try to civilize, justify and explain the most base things. . . i don't know if there is any good explanation sometimes? other times there may seemed to be. . . One thing I do know. . . love is beautifully uncomplicated. . but does require much - in fact everything - from the one who would walk in it.

1/06/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone should draw up some comparisons to modern day america, the present on-going war and our president with the holy roman empire, Constantine and the holy wars. i wish i had the time.

Seth

1/07/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

We'll get there I'm sure.

1/07/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe just a few parallels of the top off the knoggin:

Constantine offers and appoints bishops governmental authority and has some heretics executed. Bush appoints ashcroft a pentecostal preacher attorney general, appoints protestant fundamentals to supreme court offers to fund faith-based initiatives and calls atheists "unpatriotic" americans.

Constantine builds giant churches and Christianizes the empire and invades arab occupied lands and trys to take them back for the sake of Christianity and calls them the Crusades. Bush makes oval office a prayer room and plunges into arabic contries for the sake of democracy and calls them a Crusade.

these comparisons may be a bit of a stretch but one thing is for sure. America has sustained the identity as the most "Christian" nation since Constantine's Rome.

Seth

1/07/2006  
Blogger fasternu426 said...

Constatine's "Christian" Rome forgot one thing...Christ

Those comparisons are quite a stretch.

I do not recall Bush ever calling anyone unpatriotic. I myself do question the patriotism of SOME of the voices calling for an end to the war, their motivation is to end the war just because they do not like the current officeholder. They would lose a war to win an election which is shameful and borderline treasonous. This would cause a worse situation in a region of the world that has been screwed up for thousands of years. Long before we ever got involved.

Having served myself I can appreciate this great nation and some of its motivations for some of the things it does. When that sword is unsheathed and put into play, it is not easily put back. There are decisions made at levels that cannot be oversimplified.

I live in a nation founded on belief in God. A God that loves me enough to give the blood of his son for me when I do not deserve it. My God does not call for the heads of infidels. He calls for their love. I live in the house that God built. I will defend that house in whatever manner necessary. If that is by taking up arms or by laying them down, so be it. My life is not my own. I have seen the ugliness that man can do with my own eyes, not on TV or a Book, my own eyes. Peace is by far better than war, but to prepare for peace is to be ready to go to battle. Our ultimate fight is for our souls. That war has been won already.

1/07/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I live in a nation founded on belief in God."

ibid.

Seth

1/08/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

This thread on just war though isn't aiming to say no to all war; it is examining the method by which we Christians in America defended this current war of ours and so many wars of the past: Just War theory. So far I think it's obvious that there has been little consideration of scripture by Just War theory constructors - and the history only gets farther from faith as we go.

Fasternu, I appreciate your well-spoken comment. Good stuff to chew on. You did mention, and I found this interesting, that you think Constantine and the ROmans forgot about Christ. How do you mean? What's the basis for saying that? The same church Constantine founded (Catholic) is the church who gave us the beginnings of Just War theory. Is it without Christ? And if so, should we Christians be replacing Christ's warnings against war making with Catholic Christ-less (if you say they are) theories about war?

SG

1/08/2006  
Blogger fasternu426 said...

What would make a war just? What would make the actions of a man just? The motivations of a man and a nation can both be judged. Just as there is a righteous anger, there is a righteous war. Do I mean a jihad upon those that oppose me? No, that would make me no better than those that would devour me. A man can be judged by the fruit he produces. John 15:2. Can a nation be judged in the same manner? By its fruit? I believe so, since nations are of men. The United States has gone to war only a few times in its history compared to other world powers. We are a young nation. Our founding documents acknowledge God and the ordained right of man to worship him. Have we always gotten it right? Hardly, but we are a nation of men, led by men.

We rejected God's rule and wanted kings and judges and such to rule us instead of God. The original sin was not Adam and Eve getting it on in the garden of Eden. The original sin was the belief of a lie and for Eve to desire the same as Satan, to want to be a God herself (Gen 3:2-5) and Adam was right there with her. Therefore we suffer the whims of men and not God on this earth. Some men rule better than others, obviously. But look at the fruit produced by each, men and nations. Are we conquering for power? Are we on a crusade to destroy the faith of those that we defeat on the battlefield? Are there conversions at the point of a bayonet?

While I am no expert on the Holy Roman Empire and the Crusades (I prefer modern military history, Napoleon to the present), the way I understand it, Christianity was hijacked by those that slew others in God's name. The same way airplanes were hijacked. The rulers of the Catholic Church at the time appeared more concerned with a lust for power than a desire for God. Anything can be justified as God's will when the common man is not familiar with the word of God. At the time I believe that commoners did not have access to God's word. We take it for granted that we can crack open a bible and see how God loves us. They were subjected to the interpretation of the reader. If it was said that God wanted you to go slay the heathen, so be it..... let's go sharpen pointy things and skewer them in his name, Amen! God to them was a wrathful God, full of wrath and fire and brimstone and loathing for the creeping things..... and would smite thee on thine coconut for thine transgressions! Not so....My God is an Awesome God, not a Mean old God!

At the time the world was a pretty scary place too, but I believe we have a better opportunity to know God's word through the bible today. Islam was on the rise and there were conversions at the point of a sword. Both sides did this! I have read of atrocities on both sides during this period. As I understand the early church, they were persecuted by the Romans until they finally won out in a battle of ideology. Then, the Catholic Church formed and it was (to quote THE WHO) "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Persecutions came under the banner of Christianity, people were burned alive, tortured...... in Jesus' name. Not to say the Catholic Church is some evil institution. Hardly.

Today's conflict is not easily compared to that of the past. America is not a Crusader. Yes, we are invading the Middle East, but not in the name of Christ. The similarity ends there. There is no need to conquer these lands, even for oil. There is no Pax Americana. We do not conquer and hold nations under our flag as other nations that wag a finger at us have. We do not intentionally inflict casualties upon a civilian populace as other nations that wag a finger at us have. We do not abduct and behead those that are against us. We are not perfect, but we punish those in our ranks who massacre and break our laws. The Mai Lei (spelling???) massacre during Vietnam is a good example. We are not vicious conquerors, our swords dripping with the blood of innocents. Thomas Jefferson stated that the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants alike. We are not tyrannical. How can we be when we offer them freedom and elections and such that they never had before? The same for Germany, Japan. Yes, we occupied these countries but they were returned to self rule. We occupy for a time and return the land to the people. We know how precious our God given freedom is. I believe our president seeks God's counsel on the decisions he makes, but does not war in his name. That is the difference. I believe he carries God in his heart, not on his shield. (inwardly, not outwardly)

Ephesians 4:14-15 states that "we are no longer children tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lay in wait to decieve. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him all things which is the head, even Christ." As Christians we need to be careful of doctrine. Is the Catholic Church bad? Is the Catholic Church without Christ? No way, I will rejoice in Heaven with Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ. Western culture owes much to the Catholic Church. The "Church" is made of members who fellowship in the name of Christ. We are the body, Christ is the head. No matter the sign in front of the building, we should have one truth and that is Christ is running the joint! There are spirit filled Catholic churches, and satan filled Baptist churches. Pentecostals and Lutherans alike will roast in hell or sing praise in heaven depending on their relationship with Christ. Judge by the fruit. Does the fruit benefit God? Is the fruit useful to God? Are we hot or cold, will he spew us out? Whether he does or not, he still loves us.

PS:

Don't take my name wrong, It means faster than you 426, paying homage to the 426 HEMI. Maybe I should have chosen another... Not that I am smarter or better than anyone (HAHAHA) , my wife would agree. I'm just happy to be here! I am into old muscle cars and after Christ and my family, it is a passion.

1/08/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

speaking of fast cars, i just test-drove a impala SS and it plastered me to the seat. What is the hemi by the way? i have heard that more recently than ever shopping for cars.

your right, these comparisons are in no way well thought out, pretty much thrown out there to stir up the pot, but i do believe there can be some comparisons drawn. spreading ideology is a part of our national character and no matter how much we try to have it both ways God and country are intermingled with military protocol. God and country, to quote one of my favorite movies "give your heart to Jesus but your ass belongs to the core"

you said,

"There is no Pax Americana. We do not conquer and hold nations under our flag as other nations that wag a finger at us have."

in henry kissinger's book "diplomacy" he says something to the effect that america is so confident in the democratic version of freedom that it is its "crusade" to bring democracy to every end of the world. is it in the name of God? not overtly, but when you say, "a nation founded on a belief in God" which God are we talking about? allah? dont think so, pretty sure its the Christian God, and then we start talking about spreading democracy and the American way of life through military action and after this i step back and think where maybee my comparison is not such a stretch.

Shaun, about your Church theory in an earlier post, this view of the church going wrong with Constantine and we have never recovered is still seeming a bit like wishfull thinking. It is much easier to throw the baby out with the bathwater than consider that that the church has never had it completely right. The church has been going through a metamorphis since the disciples hit the streets like drunken men. If it wasnt peter and the bacon, moving to paul and the corinthians, to struggling with how to maintian unity after the disciples and paul died appointing bishops. and then almost within the century heresies left and right. the church has always been like a vine that has been pushing its way through dirt and rocks. Constantine was just a big nasty rock that felt like fertile soil at first, BUT if nothing good came out of it then maybe i could buy the theory. However God worked through his flawed church to spread his word to the four corners of the earth through that Christianized empire. I guess what i feeling here is that the church has NEVER had it right. And somehow the truth about Him finds it way to the surface. we never will fully get it right until He returns but we still work at it. I am still leaning towards the idea that some denominations have some things closer to the spirt of truth than others and eventually we will move towards something that will resemble each other so much that we realize there is no longer any differences.

Seth

1/08/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I've never said, Seth, that the church ever had it COMPLETELY "right". More right in very specific aspects - how faith relates to culture/government, what the church's response is to poverty, hunger etc - before Constantine. I've said that...or meant to.

SG

1/09/2006  
Blogger fasternu426 said...

Stirring the pot is good. That is how ideas and opinions are made and reinforced, and changed...for better or worse. As Iron sharpens Iron..... if nothing else, it gives us something to do :)

The Bill of Rights states, we are endowed by our creator. The framers were careful to intentionally stay away from creating a "state" religion. Yes, the God most worshipped was The Judeo-Christian God. But, unlike some, we do not conquer in his name. The Nazis, on their belt buckles had an eagle clutching a swastika, surrounded by olive branches and the phrase, "Gott Mitt Uns" (God With US). I highly doubt that God was with them, seeing that they murdered 6 million Jews and others. Germany was obliterated by the allies. We conquered them, but not in God's name. We tried those we felt responsible and hanged, shot, or imprisoned them. Being a Nazi was not a good thing. Being an American is. We are fortunate to live in a nation where we can express our freedoms of religion, and other things. Look to the right side of this blog and click on the link Voice of the Martyrs. I read the story of the boy in Sudan who was nailed to a board for his being curious about Christ. We do not persecute those that differ in opinions. We do not send thugs into you home to drag you out in the night and hack your family with a machete. There are no roving bands of Kalashnikov toting zealots that will influence your opinion with the butt of a rifle to your head. Freedom stands on its own. The best influence we have as a nation (and as Christians) is to be a shining city on a hill. To be an example. We have spread democracy best, not by landing the Marines on the beach, but by just being ourselves. Everyone desires freedom, really! Lots of nations talk trash about America, but their citizens would gladly immigrate here. In the same manner, there many who are miserable without God, but would love to have the peace and love that God gives us. Our quality of life is beyond anythihng most in the world can imagine. Another link to the right of this blog is Global Rich List. See how rich we are compared to others. You could support a family on what you might spend at Starbucks or lottery tickets each week. Not to sneer at them and say haha look what we have, but to be thankful for what we have. Most in the United states have never experienced hunger. Many have. The poorest Americans are still far better off than others in the world. We have been blessed and are able to bless others. We want them to have what we have, not lord over them. It is a tightrope walk for sure to spread one's belief, but not FORCE one's belief. That depends highly on the character of the one spreading the message. The greatest freedom is the freedom from sin. How do you spread that? How do we spread that message? That is what God wants. I do not worship America, I am thankful to God FOR America.


As far as the church, that's another tricky thing. Or is it? A church, a man....both are lost without a head. Meaning......without Godly counsel all will stray away from God. When we get away from God, we are vulnerable to other influences. We should not take away from or add to God's word. In Genesis 3:3 in the original sin, Eve went beyond God's word and added her own counsel. She added the phrase that she should not even touch the tree of knowledge. Doubting God's word, augmenting and diluting, leading to rejection of it was Satan's trap for Eve. Churches are no better. The church is vulnerable to temptation as is a man. II Timothy 4:2-4 warns to preach THE WORD, not just preach. Warns of a time when a church might not endure sound doctrine, but go after their own lusts. II Timothy is a good book of the bible to read for word about the church and how it should stand firm. Use that as a template when thinking about Constatntine's church and the crusaders.

As far as the church, people will always, always, repeat, always screw up a good thing. God gives us a shop manual (the bible) to keep this vehicle running (a 1969 Hemi powered Plymouth GTX) so we can get to our final destination (heaven). We lose it or throw it out the window. We do not call technical support (prayer). We think we know how to fix it ourselves. We then drive it like we stole it and BOOM...... Who do we call? Hopefully Jesus in a tow truck. And......let him drive.

PS:
The Hemi motor is a Hemispherical Head engine. Meaning The combustion chambers are rounded on top for better combustion. It was a very succesful and powerful engine. Look at allpar.com to get a good explanation and diagrams.
Richard Petty won most of his races in the 60's using the 426 HEMI. So succesful that Ford and GM whined to have the motor banned from NASCAR. Petty sat out one year after the ban and NASCAR lost 1/2 of its fans!

The new Hemi is a great motor! If you liked the Impala SS, go and test drive a Hemi Charger Daytona. Look for the new Challenger, the pony car wars are back!!!

1/09/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the misrepresentation there shaun. i was drawing from my A.D.D. cubed memory ports from what you said in an earlier post- "It (reformation) did not recognize that the Catholic church was not built entirely upon the original foundation but instead laid partially on a new foundation called "Constantinianism." No matter what is built upon that foundation, no matter how "reformed" and well-intentioned and good, it will not be a return to the original structure Christ left us with: the CHURCH."

Seth

btw, fastern' i like the charger but i am still partial to the mustang GT. the impala SS is to much power for that domestic car.

1/09/2006  
Blogger fasternu426 said...

What is a Just war? Who gets to decide? The soldier lying on the battlefield wearing the wrong uniform certainly must've though there was nothing just about it.

The winner of every war I can think of gets to say how the other guy (who was evil and deserved it) started it and how good they (the winner) was. I was given a card to keep in a uniform pocket telling me the rules of engagement and was instructed how prisoners were to be treated according to the Geneva Convention. This makes us feel good about how we war. We didn't kill rape, pillage and burn so we must be the good guy? To the Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine, (Coastie too) he/she has to do his/her duty, and that doesn't include asking questions. We have that luxury.

Proverbs 23:1-2 "When thou sitteth to eat with a ruler, consider dilligently what is before thee: and put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetite." This seems kind of harsh, but is true. Consider the ruler that lays out the banquet before you. Is it a feast of death? Are you tempted by HIS (the ruler, not God's) power and glory? You would be better off dead than be seduced by him?

On the other hand, if it is a good ruler, do you trust him and eat from his table? How do we tell the difference?

Prov24:6 "For by wise counsel shall thou make thy war; and in a multitude of counsel there is safety." Psalm 1:1-2 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly....but his delight is in the law of the Lord..."
Prov21:30 "The horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is in the Lord."

How do we, without being privy to cabinet meetings and classified briefings know if our leaders are using "wise counsel"....

Be a fruit inspector...Matthew 7:16-20 "Ye shall know them by their fruits....Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them."

We must also apply the same fruit inspection to critics of the leaders. Who is shrieking the loudest, and what is their motivation? What kind of Godly fruits are they sprouting? And especially apply this to ourselves.

And..do we pray for answers? Do we pray for our leaders? Right or wrong, we are on the same team.


PS Seth:
If you thought the Impala SS was too much, the SRT8 Daytona has about 120 more horsepower and 125 more ft lbs of torque and is rear wheel drive. A lot of people don't like it because it is a 4 door. But easier to justify with the war department...I mean...wife :) They just introduced the Mustang Shelby GT500 at the Detroit auto show, looks good. But I'm straight up Mopar!

1/10/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just about pooed my pants when i saw that shelby. i almost found myself praying that God would give me one...but then, i put that copy of "your best life now" down sent my compassion check in, and bought a saturn. I wish that buying mustangs was my hobby then I could justify an investment into... nah my wife wouldn't go for it then either.

also the impala wasn't too much, it was just to much for that car. it was like putting a harley engine on a moped. anyway, i am sure that everyone is finding this car talk ever-so-interesting and considering there is nooo possible way to tie this into this just shaun's war discussion, ill be heading off to bed.

cheers

btw, if you have not read the other just war posts and discussions there is some pretty fun stuff there.

Seth

1/10/2006  
Blogger filomeno2006 said...

Fray Francisco de Vitoria, egregio artífice del Moderno Derecho Internacional

2/27/2008  
Blogger filomeno2006 said...

James Brown Scott, Doctor Honoris Causa por la Universidad de Salamanca

2/27/2008  

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