Offensive Warfare: Is It Ever Necessary?

1619 words - 7 pages

Mo Tzu was a well-known Chinese writer, philosopher, military strategist, and the founder of Mohism, a school of thought that preached “universal love, or the love of all human beings” (Austin 253). In Against Offensive Warfare, one of three works written by Tzu in opposition to the civil wars taking place in China, he criticized man’s ability to praise offensive warfare and commend it as righteous, while condemning lesser acts of civil crime and violence and denouncing them as unrighteous. He argued that all acts of offensive warfare and aggression against a fellow human being should be considered unrighteous and that no distinction should be made between the two. As a military strategist, Mo Tzu was no stranger to the atrocities of military conflict and adhered to the belief that war should be avoided unless fought in self-defense. Mo Tzu believed that war was sinful and the immeasurable sacrifice both of lives and resources were a waste that would eventually destroy the world (Osborne). War is a horrible and perilous affair that shatters the lives of millions and rips apart the threads that knit our society together. It separates families and divides countries and leaves only death, disease, and destruction in its wake. While war is always terrible and should be avoided at all costs, sometimes war is necessary to restore order and freedom in a lost and broken world.
Mo Tzu lived and taught during the tumultuous Period of Warring States (475-221 BCE) in ancient China. He believed people should only do that which benefits themselves or others and that the civil wars that were taking place were a waste of both time and resources. At the time, Mo Tzu’s teachings were very controversial and differed from the popular beliefs of the Confucians (Austin 253). Compare Mohism & Confusions ( )
Mo Tzu believed that since theft, trespassing, and murder were immoral and caused injury to others, how much more should acts of aggression in war be considered unjust? In Against Offensive Warfare, Mo Tzu focused solely on why offensive warfare was wrong, but he failed to address the times when it could be right.
Mo Tzu’s beliefs are understandable considering the affects that war can have on both soldiers and civilians. All soldiers who enlist in the military face the risk of injury or death. Often they die fighting for their country or may be captured by the enemy and detained as prisoners of war. Many times a captured soldier will be subjected to abuse, starvation, and other harsh treatment, while some may even be executed as war criminals. Soldiers that do survive war and are able to return home to their families are often left scarred and maimed by their injuries sustained in battle.
While many of the soldiers’ afflictions are physical, the realities of psychological wounds are often overlooked. The horrific tasks that soldiers are commanded to perform and the people they witness being slaughtered can leave them emotionally and mentally...

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