A just war:Saint Augustine saw war as a means to deal with sin. War was a judicial action in which the people fighting were, in one way or another, righting a wrong. As Augustine put it originally, "justa bella ulciscuntur injurias" ("Just wars avenge injuries.") also means that those who who wage war play the role of the scourge of God and that this action, inspired by love, is beneficial even for him against whom it is directed. His attitude was that you have to show your love any way you can and war was simply a large scale application of the death penalty to people who had earned it.
Is there ever a time for war? The Augustine-based "just war theory" continues to guide Western civilisation. The author is Robert L. Holmes, who was professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester and author of On War and Morality ( Princeton, 1989).
Understanding War: Saint Augustine and Konrad Lorenz. An article by a psychologist in Scotland, with the thesis that "Augustine weds the Christian religion to a militarism that to this day is a hallmark of the societies that profess it."
To quote the article: "Augustine therefore certainly regards war as inevitable - a stern necessity - within human society; the most that one can do accordingly is to ensure that the prevailing cause is a just one and that the conflict is waged in as humane a manner as possible, without undue brutality or excess."
"For it is the injustice of the opposing side that lays on the wise man the duty of waging wars; and this injustice is assuredly to be deplored by a human being, since it is the injustice of human beings, even though no necessity for war should arise from it." (City of God, XIX: 9, p.862.)
The western world has comfortably traded on this Augustinian principle for 1500 years. We are forever reluctantly obliged to wage war because of the injustice of the other side: indeed, it is our duty to do so. War is nasty and brutal (largely because of the atrocities committed by the other side) but we are bound to engage in it and, after all, 'If God is for us, who can be against us?' http://www.gkbenterprises.fsnet.co.uk/papers/augustin.htm
For more on this subject in another part of Augnet, click here.