War has impacts like psychological trauma, migration, loss of life and property, development of enmity and grudges and erosion of ethics in international relations.
Ethical issues that are crucial to be considered while launching the war and its continuation:
- Intention of war: intention must always be to establish peace. Buddha has said that, “intention of an action is more important than the action itself”.
- Procedures followed during the war:
- Response and retaliation must be proportionate.
- Prisoners of war must be treated ethically.
- Ethical decision making: leaders must take decisions with Emotional Intelligence at crucial stages of war. There must be intellectual humility to pull out of war. Leaders must act with wisdom – which as per Aristotle is a mean value between foolhardiness and cowardice.
- Peace and stability must prevail in the long term: so use of chemical and nuclear weapons which have long lasting impact on humans and the environment must be avoided.
Friedrich Nietzsche has glorified the war and takes it as an agent of change and progress. However, it is also true that as long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence. True progress comes through peace and forgiveness. Gandhi ji has said, “There is no hope for the aching world except through the narrow and straight path of non-violence.”