PAPER TOPICS I
HUMAN RIGHTS
Philosophy 19A
A Legal Studies Course
Professor Andreas Teuber




Drawing on the reading and your own considered opinion and good judgment, answer the question on the following pages, In giving your answer, articulate what you believe are the most principled grounds for arguing the way you do.

In thinking of objections to your own reasoning, do not just think of any objections that someone might possibly come up with, think of the best possible objections that someone might make, i. e., give yourself a hard time. If you can respond to the other side at its strongest rather than at its weakest point, that can only help to strengthen your own case and make it that much more persuasive.

The paper should be about seven (7) pages in length, preferably typewritten. It is due on Friday, March 5th, in class.

In between the strong realist view that "all is fair in war" or, more specifically, that sovereign states are not "fit subjects for our moral concern" or that moral considerations are not relevant to sovereign states acting in the international world arena and the strong pacifist position that war is wrong in all of its many guises since the value of human life is absolute and war necessarily involves the killing of human beings lies the more moderate Just War Doctrine which lists the conditions under which it is just for a sovereign state to go to war (Jus ad Bellum)as well as what sovereign states may do within a war (Jus in Bello).

In light of Just War Doctrine make an argument for or against the justice or injustice of three of the following, think of the strongest possible objections that might be made to your argument, and respond to them:

I. The United States War Against Iraq (The Gulf War)

II. The United States War Against North Vietnam (The Vietnam War)
A. The Decisions and Steps taken by Colonel Medina,
Lieutenant Calley and the Soldiers fighting under Calley's Command at Mylai

III. The Acts of the three Australian Soldiers on Trial in "Breaker Morant" (The Boer War)

IV. World War II:
A. Truman's Decision to Drop Atomic Bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki (The Pacific War)
or
B. Churchill's Decision to Firebomb
the German Cities (The War Against Hitler)

V. The Israeli Pre-emptive Strike Against Egypt in on June 5, 1967 (The Six-Day War)

In making your argument in each of the three cases you have chosen, offer, too, whether in your view the Just War position in each of the three cases is sound and defensible.

If you do not think it is sound, offer what you believe are grounds for thinking otherwise, and defend those grounds to the best of your ability.

Feel free, too, to focus on one or another aspect of any of the cases you have chosen in order to put the argument you want to make in the best possible light.

Thus, although you may think or believe that the U. S. War Against Iraq was just in light of Just War Doctrine, you have some doubts about the United States practice of bombing munitions factories that Saadam Hussein had placed in or near schools and factories.

Feel free to carve out an area within any one of the three cases that you have chosen and then to think and work within that area.

Feel free to make use of Michael Walzer's discussion of each of the topics above, to make use of his discussion of the Vietnam War in JUST AND UNJUST WARS, pp. 96-101 and pp. 186-196 and the Mylai Massacre, pp. 309-316; his discussion of Churchill's decision, pp. 251- 263 and Truman's decision, pp. 263-268 as well as his discussion of the Israeli Pre-Emptive Strike, pp. 80-86 and of "Guerrilla War" at page 176, "Terrorism" at page 197 and "Reprisals" at page 207.

You should feel free, too, to go outside of Walzer to other texts, if you so choose, to get a diffeent "take," a different "read," on these issues but from someone else's perspective and you should feel free to bring in other related cases, such as Israel's launching of a pre-emptive strike on Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981.

You should feel free, too, to make use of the materials Online, such as the Web materials on the Massacre at Mylai and Truman's Decision to Drop Bombs on Hiroshiman and Nagasaki.

HUMAN RIGHTS PAGES






February 14, 1998

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