3rd Place: Victoria Williamson, Columba College

The statement that “all wars are deeply atrocious and cannot be called just” is one that
does not fit in with the concepts of reality, but is a fatuous acknowledgement of war
by viewing only one side of the story. Whilst war is not desired, sometimes it is
unavoidable and in these times retaliation must be performed in order to settle
disputes when there is no other reasonable line of negotiation. War has never been
bad, and it has never been good. It has just been an outcome of persecution and
retaliation. This essay will argue that war is rationable, how killing is in most cases
necessary, and describe what war has achieved.

War has never been good and it has never been bad. It has been necessary at times and
although saddening when there is loss of human life, it has seen to the end of many a
disagreeable political party. The concept or underlying body of war is when two or
more parties are at a conflict with each other. Although the products of war are not
desirable outcomes, the concept of war itself has no unjustness. It is truly valid; trying
to sort out problems through conflict when there is no other reasonable line of
negotiation. When two parties or more are fighting against each other, the factors
resulting in that could be very well-founded reasons. For example, on the 17
th of July 1863, 14,000 Imperial and colonial troops attacked approximately 4000 Maori tribal warriors, resulting in the Waikato War. This was caused by the European leader at
that time, Sir George Grey, when he attempted to enforce a rule (that all Maori must
pledge an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria or be forced out of Waikato) that the
Maori disagreed with. This was extremely unfair act by the Europeans, but as Mr
Archibald Baxter, a strong anti-war activist, said that ‘all war is unjust’, should the
Maori have not fought back against this unjust rule to avoid the atrocity of war itself?
This is not correct. The Maori fought back because the rule forced upon them was
against their culture and their own freedom. They fought well and upheld their rights
and despite losing, they uttered a powerful blow to the Europeans. In this example,
war was created by persecution and retaliation, and the Maori did no wrong by
retaliating against the restriction threatening them. This shows that war is not good or
bad, but is simply an act of persecution and retaliation.

One of the elements that Pacifists dislike regarding war is the killing. It would be a lie
to say that killing is not usually an outcome of war. However, if there was an
alternative, war would not be conducted, and the killing would not occur. In contrast,
if the situation was as dire that war must be carried out, then human sacrifice is
necessary to ensure safety and stability in that province. War is the last resort for
Governments, the option that many do not like, but are forced to choose because of
the graveness of their situation. It is important to stress that war would not be
conducted if there was a reasonable alternative. Many people simply believe that
Governments have a blatant disregard for their citizens lives and simply desire money
and power. This is a far cry from the truth in democratically elected Governments, as
the sole undertaking of a Government is to keep their citizens happy and safe, and
money or power is miniscule when compared. When war occurs, and therefore
killing, it is normally a result of retaliation if a Government’s citizens are at risk or
when they can not stand back and watch atrocities happen. A recent example and
ongoing problem is ISIS. Tony Abott, the Prime Minister of Australia recently stated:
“You can’t negotiate with an entity like this; you can only fight it.” This perfectly
shows a valid reason for war. When there is no hope for negotiating, you must fight.
This might end in the lives of many taken away, but it is necessary.

Another fervent view of Pacifists is that war has never benefited anyone; that war is
unnecessary and does not achieve anything. However, we can look at what war has
achieved; the end of the Nazis, the end of slavery in America, the end of many wars in
the Middle East. If we carried on with the Pacifist view, that wars are ‘bad’ and are
not needed, then would these injustices be around today? The answer is evidently yes.
Many people complain about the horror of war however they give no alternative.
There will never be a worldwide debate to settle indifferences and however much
Governments try to negotiate, there will not always be an agreeable solution to these
indifferences. When war does arise out of these situations, Governments need their
citizens to act in order to attain a state of stableness once again. Archibald Baxter
refused to enlist in the army during WWI and his son refused to enlist in WWII
because they didn’t believe that war was right. If everybody in France, New Zealand,
Australia, and England did this during WWII, how would the Nazis have been
defeated and how would that stableness and safety be established? It is obvious that
the Nazis would carry on their hostile crusade and there would be no stability in the
countries opposed to them because of the increasing tension around the safety within
them. These reasons show that war has achieved plenty, and continues to do so.

This essay has argued the validness of war and how it is not, as Mr Archibald Baxter
stated, ‘deeply atrocious and unjust’. Although this essay has been consistently
critical of Sir Archibald Baxters statement, one must value other peoples judgements,
as they have a right to speak freely, and it is acknowledged that in the time that Sir
Archibald Baxter made this statement, the world was a dark and grave place.