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21). Elshtain rejects the notion at the outset that America can go to war without moral justification. She cites with disapproval the thinking of the classical Athenians who claimed that power realities were the only basis for international relations. According to Pangle & Ahrensdorf (1999), internal debates among the Athenian generals concerning whether Athens should destroy the smaller and much weaker city-state of Melos led them to the conclusion that "the real world is indifferent to justice" (p. 14). Pangle & Ahrensdorf said that the Athenians believed that men were guided by self-interest and in any war they initiated "no self-interested behavior can be justly blamed or condemned" (p. 16). In the pursuit of its national strategic interests, Athens executed the Melian adult male population and enslaved its women and children. On the other hand, its principal adversary, Sparta justified its war against Athens as a war of liberation, a struggle to free Sparta's weak allies from Athenian aggression.

Elshtain identifies herself with the Christian concept of just war as originally articulated by St. Augustine (354-450 A.D.). She says "the just war traditionally requires that the philosopher, the moralist, the politician and the ordinary citizen consider a number of complex criteria when thinking about war" (p. 56). War can only be waged by legitimate authority; it must be initiated in response to specific unjust acts; it must be begun with good intentions; and can only


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CONCEPT OF JUST WAR. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 01:56, October 26, 2014, from
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