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Attacks of 9/11 | Just War Theory

Since the attacks of 9/11, American politicians have assumed that “war with terrorism” is new kind of war, representing unique threats and unprecedented problems. In reply to these many have stated that we should review the criteria provided in order to justify the use of armies. Politicians reconsider the doctrines of restraint and containment while “unloading” became the new clever word describing our offered tactics for attracting terrorist threats.

Acts of terrorism on 9/11 have led to unprecedented destruction, while also exposing congenital weakness of our national system of travel by plane and our vulnerability for secret operations within our open society. However, though tactics of terrorist organizations represent new problems for our national establishment of safety, these actions, apparently, do not guarantee the forsaking of our traditional propensity to restraint, considering force use on international scene. There are many theories ordering conditions which need to be observed before any use of force by one country against another is justified.

In his original work, Just and Unjust Wars, Michael Walzer puts arguments in favor of all-round Just War Theory based on human rights and how those rights should mention our judgments concerning justice of war and justice in war. This theory is unique; it does not give a mention to the traditional Just War Theory criteria, the appropriate power, correct intention, chances of success etc. Instead of this Walzer offers, that the recognition of inseparable human rights has resulted in the all-round theory to generate our moral judgments concerning war. According to Walzer, the rights of separate states are received from their representative character following from “association” people in any given area. Each person is provided by inalienable rights of life and freedom, and states are generated to protect and present these rights of citizens in the world community.

When the state rights are broken, we name it as an act of “aggression”. The state which breaks the rights of another, consider as “an aggressor” (Anderson). Therefore, Just War Theory limits the morally justified use of force firstly to those cases when the aggressor state breaks the rights of another, such as self-defense or war. The states are justified in defending of their citizens’ rights by means of preventive attacks when they know that their rights are under the threat of failure, and refusal to operate would place territorial integrity or the political sovereignty of the state at bigger risk.

The recognition of inseparable human rights has huge consequences for any Just War Theory, and the United States made this identification nominally in “The National Security Strategy of the United States”, which states that liberty is an inalienable right of each person and each civilization.

As the defender against a preventive attack threatened anybody not enough, the amenability for the lives of people, and the individual, private rights encroached, falls directly on the aggressor country. Consequently, if the United States are going to be the fighter for the civil rights and advantages as our policy of national safety assumes, it is extremely important not to violate the rights of others.

This wiliness to help is certainly praiseworthy and is reminding John Stuart Mill’s doctrine of “self-help” (Mill). It proposed that that “people have in essence receive the government which they deserve, and that people living under tyrannical modes will continue to do so while they were not ready to participate in “difficult struggle” for freedom independently” (Mills). What is extremely important for this doctrine is that the citizens’ rights to virtually remain oppressed should be observed while they are ready to bring necessary victims themselves. Except in enslavement or slaughter cases (when the concept of difficult struggle would seem impossible), it is necessary to respect the state sovereignty to protect the individual rights of its citizens. Differently, any compulsory liberation, of course, would break both rights of separate citizens, just as the right of the state which oppresses them. For people really to be free, they should make the first steps to freedom independently. As soon as they have made it, any lives lost, or the rights broken, will be the consequence of their own choice.

Participating in preventive wars, even if those wars would be conducted to “release” people, the United States would break the rights of people that we aspire to protect, considering that there are numerous tyrannical modes all over the world, we should limit us from crusade realization to release the oppressed people, particularly if it means to decide their destiny for them. Attacks of 9/11 clearly broken the rights to American territorial integrity just as the private rights of people lost in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon etc. According to the variety of military theorists, the American answer to these aggressive actions was fast and justified. By intending members of the Al-Qaeda and the government of Afghanistan which allowed Al-Qaeda’s training, planning, and coordination for 9-11 attacks, US waged a war of self-defense against an aggressor. Though Al-Qaeda is not the state, it prepares as a viable aggressor because of its organizational structure and its representative character for political aims of a radicalized Islamic group. Though the Taliban government directly did not attack America, its granting of Osama bin Laden clearly placed Afghanistan in position of complicity and aggressor instigation. These actions have accelerated defensible use of violence against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. To keep moral advantage, we should not operate militarily against simply apprehended or prospective threats. It could involve us in wars which should not be conducted against “enemies” who, probably, do not deserve full anger of the most powerful country in the world. Even if all statements of the United States against Iraq were true, which they possibly were, there probably did not seem, by Wlzer’s criteria, to be a sufficient threat justifying military operations as there was no clear obvious intention, or active preparation to wound the United States. Besides, it seemed that any danger of territorial integrity and political independence of the United States was, of course, minimum.

To support the moral justification for our answer to the 9/11 attacks, and the danger of post 9/11 world, we should remain betrayed to our before 9/11 understanding of Just War Theory. Though we should probably overestimate our position of safety, both our political and economic relations with the fixed countries, we should not change our moral prospects concerning distinction between just and unjust wars. If we assert that human rights and advantage are universally inseparable, we cannot break the right of some to provide the rights of others; and thus we cannot break the right of the countries before they will actually threaten us. Therefore, we Just War Theory need re-acknowledgement and an explanation, not redefinition if that means to change our judgments of a question.


Work Citied
John Stuart Mill, “A Few Words on Non-Intervention,” in Dissertations and Discussions (New York, 1873), III, 238-263.
Anderson, Richard C. “Redefining Just War Criteria in the Post 9/11 World and the Moral Consequences of Preemptive Strikes”. 24 Jan. 2003. Web. 10 May, 2011.