Here is the full text of the speech in which President Obama outlines his plan “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.”
“First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. ….
Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. ….
“Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. ….
“Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization.”
The best brief summary of “just war” criteria, as conceived by St. Augustine of Hippo and developed by the Roman Catholic Church stipulates that for a war to be just, it must
*be waged as a matter of last resort
*be waged by a “legitimate authority”
*be waged to address a wrong
*be waged with a reasonable chance of success
*The violence used must be proportionate to the harm suffered
*Non-combatants must not be targeted .
Does the military action the United States is about to undertake qualify as “just” under this criteria? Is the criteria still useful?