President Obama, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech at Oslo, spoke at length about “a just peace” and, of course, “a just war.” He uses the word “just” only as an adjective, meaning “honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions…consistent with moral right; righteous…valid within the law; legitimate…based on fact or sound reason; well-founded.” But, the word “just” is not just an adjective; it is also an adverb, meaning, among other things, “merely, only.”
At the end of the day, how many among us think about the war in Afghanistan as “a just war,” or that it’s “just war,” no different than some of the video games that our children play? As for peace itself, why must it ever be justified? Do we need to continue to sell the idea of “a just peace” to the families and relatives of all those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Is it possible that “a just war” would, in the end, bring “merely” and “only” peace?