Article Analysis III

Tiffany Barksdale
December 7, 2010
Contradicting Elements of War
The author of “Just War and the Problem of Evil” is trying to prove that instead of
legitimating some wars as just, it is better to acknowledge that both the situation of war and
moral judgments about war are ambiguous. He raises the questions: What are alternative
narratives of war? And what are alternative narratives to war? Throughout Schott’s essay he
discusses the contradicting elements of war. In the essay Schott says, “My task here is to ask,
What are the implications of the ethical concepts of evil and witnessing for the political
discourse that addresses the justification of collective political violence? Throughout his essay he
gives both, good and bad, sides of the possible meanings and reasons for war.
In the essay the author uses primary and secondary sources to prove his thesis. A few of
the sources were “Remnants of Auschwitz” by Giorgio Agamben, “At the Mind’s Limit” by Jean
Améry, and “On Violence” by Hannah Arendt. The main source for his essay was “Remnants of
Auschwitz”. This book looks closely at the literature of the survivors of Auschwitz, probing the
philosophical and ethical questions raised by their testimony. It gave the author a pretty good
idea about what happened at Auschwitz and what the survivors went through. He was very
meticulous in his research and really took the time out to learn his subject and analyze it.
The author concluded that some wars are necessary and justifiable like World War II, but
that it doesn’t make the war morally legitimate. He stated that, “We should not lose sight of the
overarching need to prevent the infliction of collective political violence both in its physical and
its existential forms. It is this task to which we are best geared if we focus on the rights of
immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. And it is this task that will contribute to the possibility
of a just peace. ” He realizes that war can be permissible, but we should try and prevent the
harsh, cruel, heart wrenching wars. Although justifiable it is unethical and it’s just not worth all
the lives that could be spared.