By Michael Robillard
‘For God and County’
‘For our nation and its way of life’
‘For the man who was fighting to the left and to the right of me’
These have been the justifications given by political leaders and soldiers alike, for time immemorial, as to why wars must be fought or why they themselves chose to fight or stay. And despite our assessment of the overall soundness or appropriateness of such justifications, the brute fact remains that these reasons mobilise nations and keep people at war. Noticeably absent from this list are such justifications as, ‘for reasons of proportionality’, ‘for reasons of legitimate authority’, and ‘for ad bellum and in bello principles’.