JUST WAR THEORY AND THE CHALLENGES IMPOSED BY TRANSNATIONAL TERRORIST NETWORKS
Johnson, Barry Lynn
Terrorism and terrorists' tactics pose a tremendous threat to security on a global scale. This impacts the security of both developed and developing countries. A particular aspect of terrorist activities that increases the capabilities, and thus the threat, of terrorist organizations is the formation of transnational terrorist networks. These networks provide increased operability, mobility, and technology flow. This presents a particular challenge regarding the moral standards for the use of military force and standard measures to counter security threats. Just war theory is the framework that guides the ethical use of military force. The theory is broken down into three categories: jus ad bellum presents ethical guidelines for undertaking military action, jus in bello defines ethical standards for actions during armed conflict, and jus post bellum outlines responsibilities following the conflict. Current strategies, embraced by many global players, call for multilateral efforts with benefits spread across the globe. These strategies are based on building partner capacity and preventing escalation to kinetic military action. Additionally, these strategies are likely to prevent conflicts and reduce the ability of terrorist groups to operate effectively. Reducing conflicts shifts the strain on the ethical framework from evaluating military action to the ethical evaluation of who should help whom and when. Although the operation and organization of the networks challenge aspects of just war theory, it is indeed still viable. It is still relevant. More than ever, strong ethical values are needed to preserve the current world order and prevent the deterioration of humanity. Indeed, society must constantly remind itself that the values of preserving human life and dignity must be the overarching constants that guide all endeavors.