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No healing no apologies no memorials nothing can possibly compensate for the damage done and the pain inflictedThe only thing we can possibly do twenty years too late is to try and tell the truth --Historian Eric Bergerud UC Berkeley One of the age old questions facing mankind is when is war just Or is their any such thing as a just war There are a few fundamental principles surrounding the concept of just war They are a just war must be a last resort This means that all other peaceful options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified A war is only just if waged by a legitimate authority A just war must be fought only as self-defense against armed attack or to redress a wrong There must be a reasonable chance of success This means deaths and injury that result from a hopeless cause cannot be morally justified The consequences of the war must be better than the situation that would exist had the war not taken place The violence and destruction must be proportional to the injuries suffered And last civilians must not be targets of the fighting and great care must be taken to avoid civilian casualties These are the bases on which war can be justified But these principles only raise many issues Many questions arise Those who argue for just war believe that the goal of a just war must be to bring about peace a peace that it preferable to whatever situation would have existed in the absence of the war These are the points of view that I will explore through the two wars I am doing Vietnam is still with us It has created doubts about American judgment about American credibility about American power--not only at home but throughout the world It has poisoned our domestic debate So we paid an exorbitant price for
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