When is Military Force Justified?

Updated: Nov 1, 2016

It is when a country’s military, also known as its armed forces, has no other choice but to use deadly force and weapons to support the interest of the state and of its citizens – its main function. This means casting fire on the enemy, dropping bombs from planes, detonating nuclear warheads, even resorting to biological warfare.

Too Much, Too Often – the Giant Military State in Which We Live

It’s a sad fact that this beautiful, magical world has become a military state. We just hear about it so much these days due to social media and the Internet. Because of greedy, immoral people, the assumed solution to today’s many problems, especially between countries, is war – killing, genocide, torture, violence, and suffering. It’s frightening how often a country relies on military force to defend its country’s major multi-billion dollar enterprises – like ones refining crude oil, and mining other valuable entities such as metals and gemstones.

War as an Assumed Solution to Today’s Many Problems  

When exactly is military force justified? Is it ever justified? The answer lies, of course, in the eyes of the beholder. But when one considers the tumultuousness nature of today’s world, they eventually come to the realization that, yes, military force is often justified. The important question, however, is when it’s justified.

Before answering this question and arguing for when exactly military force is justified, it’s important to consider what comprises “military force.”  It is when a country’s military, also known as its armed forces, has no other choice but to use deadly force and weapons to support the interest of the state and of its citizens – its main function. This means casting fire on the enemy, dropping bombs from planes, detonating nuclear warheads, even resorting to biological warfare. It is something many countries of the world have the means, and the desires, to do, even some of the minor, smaller, less wealthy countries.

Military Force is Justified When There Is an Impending Threat to One’s Borders

So, when is military force justified? For one, when there is an impending threat to one’s borders. If a country is on the verge of being invaded, its military should have the right to use military force. When a country’s citizens are on the brink of being slaughtered, the country as a whole should be able to resort to military force. It comes down to defending one’s way of life, not lying down and dying. Fighting for one’s borders, freedom, safety, and happiness is surely one reason to use violence and weaponry as a means for peace, though it does sound like a contradiction. In World War II, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor – and rather than doing nothing, which would assuredly invite similar attacks and possible invasion, America went to war against the Axis Powers. The country came together and stood up for its right to freedom and happiness; it meant that no country would attack America and get away with it. This is one prime example of when military force is justified.

Secondly, military force is also justified when a larger, wealthier and more powerful country or group of countries threatens invasion, invades or attacks a less powerful country. For example, in 2008, Russia attacked the former Soviet Republic Georgia. It was the typical David vs. Goliath scenario. Russia accused Georgia of foul play against the autonomous republic to the south, and sent in troops to negotiate “peace.” Instead, Russia got whatever it wanted, a buffer zone between Russia and the Middle East, in turn bullying the small country into submission. Military force was not justified on the part of Russia, but Georgian military forces surely had the right to defend its motherland. And Georgia was not a NATO country, like Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and many other countries with powerful armies that could have used military force to defend the weaker, less powerful and wealthy country of Georgia. This is a classic case of how military force should be enacted when it’s justified. A big, powerful country was bullying a small country that could not defend itself; therefore, it had the right to resort to military force.

To conclude, military force is, unfortunately, a reality in today’s world. But the lines of what “justifies” it are quite blurry. What is wrong in one country’s eyes are righteous in another’s. That is the tragedy of our times. But as long as there is good in the world, as long as there are countries like the United States, France, Ukraine and Germany and others that stand for peace and Democracy, good will prevail over evil. Though not without too much bloodshed and hatred along the way. We can only hope and plan for the world with no war, though it is quite unlikely to happen anytime soon. We can be sure of that fact.

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