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John D. Carlson talks about just war in today’s On the Square ; a just war, he argues, is not separate from the idea of punishment:

The United States and many other nations have forgotten if not deliberately abandoned the idea of using military force to punish—just as Americans and many Westerners have grown uncomfortable with the concept of punishment altogether. We do well to remember, though, that Aquinas’ articulation of just war rests on the notion of punishment: for a war to be just, “a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on some account.” The primary reason for using force is because someone has wrought some wrong to deserve it.

Read the rest here . The alternate argument in this case would seem to come from R.R. Reno’s September column, “Syria: Should We Intervene?”

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