First, note the formal criteria for “just war” given in the readings this week. Why did statesmen in Ancient Rome establish these criteria – jus ad bellum – rather than deciding to resort to force on a case by case basis, depending upon the specific time and circumstance? What are the advantages and disadvantages of committing to a set of formal criteria for future decisions concerning the use of force?
Second, one consequence of religious influence on ideas concerning warfare is that wars are often viewed as battles between good and evil. How might such a perception affect one side’s adherence to jus in bello rules? Should the relative rightness of one’s cause affect whether the jus in bello rules are followed? (Note: this isn’t merely an opinion question — be sure to look at the ways that the various writers would answer these questions as well.)
Finally, look at the relationship between just war theory and the overall views of justice in society for the various theorists we discuss this week, especially al-Farabi