The Concept of Just War and Outlines of the Just War Theory in International Relations

Yves here. Below is a useful primer on the evolution of thinking around what constitutes a just war and an outline of what are now considered to be the key parameters. You’ll note that a just war can take place only between states, leaving wars of liberation and revolutions as presumed unjust.

Dr. Sotirovic ends with the thought that a war of attrition wind up being unjust via how it is conducted. I’m not sure that is a given; reader ideas welcomed.

It might help to factor in a discussion of the evolution of war strategy from the Big Serge post, The End of Cabinet War. Dr. Sotirovic voices the view that World War I and II shattered the doctrine of the Just War. But Big Serge suggests that happened before, in the Franco-Prussian War, although only a comparatively few recognized that at the time. From his post:

By all rights, [Field Marshal Helmuth von] Moltke’s masterpiece at Sedan should have ended the war. The French had lost both of their trained field armies and their head of state, and ought to have given in to Prussia’s demand (namely, the annexation of the Alsace-Lorraine region)….

Instead of bringing France to its knees, the Prussians found a rapidly mobilizing nation which was determined to fight to the death. The mobilization prowess of the emergency French government was astonishing: by February, 1871, they had raised and armed more than 900,000 men.

Fortunately for the Prussians, this never became a genuine military emergency. The newly raised French units suffered from poor equipment and poor training (particularly because most of France’s trained officers had been captured in the opening campaign). The new mass French armies had poor combat effectiveness, and Moltke managed to coordinate the capture of Paris alongside a campaign which saw Prussian forces marching all over France to run down and destroy the elements of the new French Army.

Crisis averted, war won. All was cozy in Berlin, it would seem?

Far from it. While many were content to shake hands and congratulate each other on a job well done, others saw something horrifying in the second half of the war, and the French mobilization program. Surprisingly, Moltke himself was among this party.

Moltke viewed the ideal form of war as something which the Germans call a Kabinettskriege. Literally a Cabinet War, this referred to the limited wars which dominated affairs for much of the 16th through 19th centuries. The particular form of these wars was a conflict between the professional militaries of states and their aristocratic leadership – no mass levies, no horrible scorched earth, no nationalism or mass patriotism. For Moltke, his earlier war against Austria was an ideal example of a Cabinet War: the Prussian and Austrian professional armies fought a battle, the Prussians won, and the Austrians agreed to Prussia’s demands. There was no declaration of a blood feud or a guerilla war, but instead a vaguely chivalrous acknowledgment of defeat and limited concessions.

What happened in France, in contrast, was a war which began as a Kabinettskriege and devolved into a Volkskriege – a people’s war, and thus had brought into question the entire concept of the limited Cabinet War altogether. As Moltke put it:

The days are gone by when, for dynastic ends, small armies of professional soldiers went to war to conquer a city, or a province, and then sought winter quarters or made peace. The wars of the present day call whole nations to arms…

Big Serge’s entire post is worth reading, since he also connects the lessons of the Franco-Prussian War to the Ukraine conflict. He also has a longer post on The Moltke Mirage. And remember Big Serge is a very big admirer of Moltke.

Thank Dr. Sotirovic for sending us this informative piece.

By Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic, Ex-University Professor; Research Fellow at Centre for Geostrategic Studies, Belgrade, Serbia

As a matter of historical fact, since human beings have been living in settled communities (villages, towns, cities), they have sought to protect themselves against different types of military threats to their lives and livelihood but on other hand as well as to occupy the land of others and to rule over the others. Many archaeological excavations confirm that security was a main consideration in the design and construction of human settlements. There are records of endless numbers of different palisades, moats, walls, turrets, and other defense constructions around the world for the purpose of communal or state security in the case of war against outsiders (for instance, the Hadrian Wall in the UK).

The purposes of war have been different ranging from the purpose of pillage, slave capture, and occupation of certain territories, to access to resources, revenge, abduction of women (for example, the Trojan War), strategic routes, honor or prestige, etc. However, in many historical cases, those settlements and polities that lost wars faced draconian consequences (for instance, the destiny of the city of ancient Punic Carthage in North Africa). Wars ended typically with the extermination of the surviving male citizens, pillage, and the capture of youth and women as slaves. Villages, towns, and cities were destroyed in many cases to the ground.

The Second World War completed the demolition of measures designed to provide security for both the territorial integrity of states and civilians during military operations. The two atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945 by the US authorities are far better known, but, however, the numbers of killed people were not significantly higher than those who lost their lives from conventional fire bombs (for instance, the 1945 Dresden Massacre). Nevertheless, while some German Nazi and Japanese leaders were captured, tried, convicted, and hanged for war crimes and crimes against humanity, victorious British, American, and Soviet architects of atrocity escaped similar fates. In WWII, there were around 74 million casualties but 60 million of them have been civilians, i.e., non-combat forces.

After 1945, national security became the most prominent value in international relations (IR) sought by governments. Contemporary Great Powers are spending vastly more resources on defense against real or anticipated enemies than they do on education, housing, and other domestic priorities. However, at the same time, they try to justify the military spending and wars fought by them within the concept of a Just War.

One of the most disputed topics with regard to the concept of war is the idea of a Just War – a war held to be founded on the principles of justice in principle caused and conducted in the name of humanity like, for instance, self-defense or protection of minority groups, etc.

That the Just War was a phenomenon is an inherent aspect of politics and foreign affairs is recognized even by Antique authors like classical Greek writers, as represented mostly by Thucydides and his famous History of the Peloponnesian War. In the Antique time, the early Christians have been pacifists and, in fact, practiced abstention from the policy in general. At that time, the authorities of the almighty Roman Empire, once converted to Christianity in the 4th century A.D., in fact, have been forced to reconcile the pacifist philosophy of Jesus Christ with the demands of everyday real politics, war, and power on the ground from Britain to Egypt. A Christian philosopher and theologian St. Augustine (354−430) argued in De Civitate Dei that day-to-day acceptance of political realities was inevitable for all Christians living in the fallen world of the Roman Empire. This topic was further developed by another Christian (Roman Catholic) philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225−1274), who made a distinction between Just and Unjust War by using two groups of criteria: 1) Jus ad bellum – the justice of the cause; and 2) Jus in bello – the justice of the conduct. By definition, Jus ad bellum is a just resource to war. It has to be based on certain principles that restrict the legitimate use of force. Jus in bello is the just conduct of war. It has to be founded on certain principles that stipulate how war should be fought.

These two elements of Just War theory – just cause and just conduct – continued later up today to dominate the debate over the concept of war. In the 20th century, just cause became narrowed to the issue of self-defense against aggression and helping the victims of aggression. Basically, the theoretical doctrine of just cause is concentrated on discrimination between combatants (soldiers) and non-combatants (civilians) and proportionality between the injustice suffered and the level of retaliation. However, the Total war, as both world wars have been, has strained, in effect, to the breaking point of the doctrine of Just War.

During the time of the Cold War, nuclear deterrence added an additional dimension to the debate for the reason that two opposite groups of thinkers became formed:

  1. The biggest number of political scientists and military experts on the concept of Just War have condemned nuclear war as Unjust War on several grounds: discrimination, proportionality, and no prospect of a successful outcome.
  2. However, some Christian thinkers considered the factor of deterrence: the threat to use nuclear weapons is morally acceptable. Some Roman Catholic clergy like the US Bishops have distinguished between 1) the mere possession of nuclear weapons, constituting a so-called existential deterrent (being acceptable); and 2) the real intention to use those weapons (being not acceptable).

In principle, the Just War theory is founded on the general idea that war can be justified and has to be understood and/or judged within the framework of fixed ethical criteria. In other words, a Just War is a war in which both final purpose and conduct meet certain ethical standards, and, therefore, can be (allegedly) treated as morally justified. Concerning such a definition of Just War, it is, basically, fluctuating between two theoretical extremes:

1) Realism, which is understanding war through the prism of realpolitik – the pursuit of power or self-interest.

2) Pacifism, which denies the existence of any war and violence which can be morally justified.

The Just War theory is, in fact, much more a topic of ethical and/or philosophical reflection and studies, rather than fixed political doctrine. Historically, the philosophical origins of the Just War theory go back to the Roman philosopher Cicero. However, it was first systematically developed by philosophers and theologians St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Francisco de Vitoria (1492−1546), and Hugo Grotius (1583−1645).

In the Just War theory, concerning the idea of Jus ad bellum, there are six basic principles to be respected regarding just resources for war:

  1. Last resort. It means that all sides have to try and exhaust all non-violent options (like diplomacy) before one of them decides to go to war in order that the use of force is going to be justified. This principle is, basically, the principle of necessity.
  2. Just cause. According to this principle, the purpose of war has to be to redress a wrong that has been suffered. Therefore, this principle is usually associated with the principle of self-defense as a response to a military attack (aggression). It is historically understood as the classic justification for war.
  3. Legitimate authority. This principle is understood that lawful war can be conducted only by the legally constituted government (state’s authority) of a sovereign state, rather than a private individual or group (like a political movement). It means that the war in principle can be conducted only between sovereign states while all other „wars“ are going, in fact, to the category of military conflicts.
  4. Right intention. It requires that any war has to be conducted on the foundations of aims that are morally acceptable rather than revenge or the desire to inflict harm. Nevertheless, those morally acceptable aims of the war may or may not be the same as the just cause.
  5. Reasonable prospect of success. Accordingly, war has not to be conducted if the cause is, basically, hopeless, in which life is expended for no purpose or real benefit (for instance, the Phyric victory).
  6. Proportionality. This last principle of Jus ad bellum requires that warfare should result in more good than evil. In other words, any response to aggression should be measured and proportionate. For example, a wholesale invasion is not a justifiable response to a border incursion. From that viewpoint, for instance, the 2001 Afghanistan War was an unjustifiable response to the 9/11 attack. Nevertheless, the principle of proportionality is understood by many experts as macro-proportionality for the sake of distinguishing it from the Jus in bello

In the case of warfare, however, there are three principles to be respected concerning Jus in bello or just conduct in war:

  1. Discrimination. Accordingly, the force has to be directed only at military targets, on the very grounds that civilians (non-combatants) are innocent. The injury or death inflicted on the civilian population is, however, and therefore, acceptable only if they are the accidental and unavoidable victims of deliberate attacks on legitimate targets. This phenomenon in war is usually nowadays called collateral damage – unintended or incidental injury or damage caused during a military operation. In practice, nevertheless, the term is used as a cynical euphemism in order to justify war crimes (for instance, ethnic cleansing can be a euphemism for genocide).
  2. This principle in overlapping with Jus ad bellum holds that the force used must not be greater than that needed to achieve acceptable military aims, and must not be greater than the provoking cause.
  3. Humanity. It requires that any force or torture must not be directed ever against captured enemy personnel (prisoners of war), wounded, or being under control. This principle is a part of formalizing the so-called Laws of War. One of the pioneers of international law who drew up conditions for a Just War that remained influential until today was Francis Suarez (1548−1617), a Jesuit theologian and philosopher of law, and in particular international law, called the last of the great scholastics.

The opposite concept to the principles of Just War is the concept of hegemony. Hegemony is an opaque power relation relying more on leadership through consensus than coercion through force or its treat so domination is by the permeation of ideas. For instance, concepts of hegemony have been used to explain how, when the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class, other classes will willingly accept their inferior position as rights and power. Nevertheless, hegemonic is the adjective attached to the institution that possesses hegemony. It means that wars launched by such institutions (in fact, state authority) can be only hegemonic but not “just“.

Concerning IR, hegemon is a term used when the concept of hegemony is applied to the competition between nation-states: a hegemon is a hegemonic state. For example, during Cold War 1.0 (1949−1989), there were two competing hegemonic powers in international relations – the USA and the USSR. It was a period conventionally defined as running from the creation of NATO to the fall of the Berlin Wall, during which the globe was structured around a binary political geography that opposed US imperialism (a superior-inferior relationship in which one state controls the people and territory of another area) to Soviet communism. Although never reached an all-out military confrontation, this period did witness intense military, economic, political, and ideological rivalry between the superpowers and their allies. That was the time of limited war – a conflict fought for limited goals by limited means. In other words, a war fought for less than total destruction of the enemy and less than unconditional surrender. Even though the two superpowers possessed nuclear weapons, they did not use them in conflicts, and conflicts were kept isolated to specific locations (local wars).

However, the USA is understood after the Cold War 1.0 as the hyperpower hegemon in international relations and world politics (the competition for, and exercise of, power and authority in the international system) and, therefore, all wars fought by Washington after 1989 are considered to be “unjust“ or hegemonic wars (wars fought for the hegemonic position in International Relations by only hyperpower).

It can be anticipated that a war of attrition is as well as a kind of “unjust“ war regarding its technical nature. To remind ourselves, a war of attrition is a strategy that aims to defeat the opposition by wearing it out. Attrition can be costly in terms of men and materials. WWI is a classic example of a war of attrition but today the competition between NATO and Russia over Ukraine is, in fact, a war of attrition too.

                                                                                          © Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2024


Personal disclaimer: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution

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  1. zach

    “… a just war can take place only between states, leaving wars of liberation and revolutions as presumed unjust.”

    I would agree, since a war of liberation or revolution would assume a hegemon, and all hegemonic wars are defined unjust, according to the good Doctor. There’s also the issue of Legitimate Authority, although as someone who sees the world in gray, this reads like a lawyer’s trick.

    I wonder if Dr. Sotirovic would classify all the “limited wars” of the Cold War as unjust wars. And while we’re on the subject, was the Cold War a just or unjust war?

      1. MFB

        The Cold War wasn’t a war, although it was spun as such to justify the enormous expenditures involv

        Wars of liberation and revolution aren’t unjust, it’s just that the concept doesn’t apply. However, they often turn into wars between nation-states, as with the wars in southern Africa which started out as guerrilla wars of liberation and ended up with South Africa occupying Angola and helping the US sponsor terrorism all over the subcontinent.

        I’d say, however, that if you are a nation-state sponsoring guerrillas/terrorists, then the question of justice does come up — how are they fighting the war, what are your actual goals with respect to the nation-state against which you direct them, and so on. In that case, most of the US wars of the Cold War era look pretty unjust to me. As for the wars since, almost all of them have been fought with ghastly methods and with disproportionate violence in pursuit of very dubious ends.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Um, our intervention in Vietnam was billed as preventing the spread of the Communist China bloc (even though my understanding is Russia actually provided more arms). So how was that not an actual war that resulted from the Cold War? That civil war would have ended way sooner ex our considerable expenditure of lives and treasure.

          Here is Wikipedia’s list of Cold War conflicts: I don’t have the time and in some cases the knowledge to identify which were proxy wars, as in teed off by a Great Power, as opposed to a Great Power opportunistically piling on. Perhaps a helpful reader will identify some examples.

      2. zach

        No indeed, i didn’t intend to shoot anyone – that would be entirely and inexcusably unjust. A very interesting and worthwhile contribution.

        Interesting that only one other commenter (thus far) has taken up the issue of unjust attritional war in Russia v. Ukraine. Dr. Sotirovic does discuss the tensions inherent to this debate

        In principle, the Just War theory is founded on the general idea that war can be justified and has to be understood and/or judged within the framework of fixed ethical criteria.


        The Just War theory is, in fact, much more a topic of ethical and/or philosophical reflection and studies, rather than fixed political doctrine.

        Ain’t nobody got time for highfalutin philosopher talk in government – don’t you know there’s a war going on? The Russian government made their case at the outset of hostilities (hit 4 or maybe 5 of the 6 jus ad bellum Dr. S lists), but it’s hard to justify continuing a conflict when the goals/criteria for victory become so nebulous as they have now in Ukraine. I believe those are called “forever wars.”

        Also, between Russia and Ukraine, there is a special military operation. No war has been declared. More lawyers tricks!

  2. marcel

    I don’t think there is something like a “just war”. The author gives some nice assumptions about rules ‘ad bellum’ or ‘in bello’, but in reality, war results in wanton destruction, killing of innocent people and more bitterness.
    People are no angels, and there will probably alsways be war and violence. But let’s not call it “just”. Any war is cruel.

    1. Polar Socialist

      You are pretty much describing how Orthodox Church approaches the issue: there’s no just war, it’s a contradiction in terms. Killing a human being is always the most heinous sin and shall be repented a before communion with God can be reinstated.

      Using that as a lede, I do believe the concept of “just war” is very Western form of navel gazing. You take the extremely militaristic Merovingians and marry them to the energetic Norsemen; what you have is the most bloody-minded brutes know to mankind, the Norman knights. Men who saw violence as a solution to any problem and who killed, raped, looted and conquered on every corner of Europe and then some.

      And yet they had to somehow balance their way of life with the core message of the church. The result: chansons de geste and the concepts of chivalry and a just war – blatant self-promotion and -delusion at the same time.

      1. Carolinian

        is very Western form of navel gazing

        I agree. Just war/unjust war is just the PR to get young soldiers to go die for the ambitions of the old. If we want peace then we need a theory that says war itself, “just” or “unjust,” is bad.

        So if you really want to pull back for the long shot then warmaking is simply a form of behavior that our species like many others perform to establish dominance. Putting some high moral gloss on it all discounts the degree to which emotion–bloodlust, fear, anger–comes to rule the roost once war begins. The moral theorists are trying to rationalize something that is irrational except it is rational if seen as inbuilt behavior–not even a plan but simply the way we are wired.

        If some of us see merit in Putin it’s that he, coming from a country that suffered so much in WW2, seems to understand the fundamental irrationality of war and prefers “jaw jaw” to “war war.” In other words he is smart. This is the opposite of people like the Neocons who only think they are smart or are feathering their own nests in the belief that it won’t come back on them in the end. A true sense of ethics says actions have consequences. Tell the truth for the practical reason that lies eventually are found out. Trust is practical and necessary. “Moral” on the other hand is always in the eye of the beholder.

      2. alfred venison

        yet, if I recall correctly, the Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated Tolstoy for opposing his sovereign on conscription. -a.v.

  3. Derf

    Noam Chomsky gave a lecture at West Point in 2006 in which he claimed that there is no such thing as a just war. Several cadets tried their best to present him with examples that would prove him wrong, but he did a remarkable job of countering all of their arguments. The video is available here:

    1. Winston S

      Thanks for the link! I thought I’d seen what Youtube had to offer on Chomsky. The NC commentariat wins again.

      Speaking of Chomsky, has anyone seen anything about him being ill or something? Although he’s old, it seems conspicuous that he hasn’t said anything (to my knowledge) about the events following october 7.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Going to have to say that trying to come up with a definition of a Just War is futile as those in power will twist the meaning of it to disguise aggressive wars. Samantha Power cut her teeth on developing the concepts of “responsibility to protect” in her first book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (2002) which evolved to “humanitarian intervention”. You can draw a direct line from a Just War to R2P and which ends up in places like Libya and the “humanitarian” intervention there which succeeded in bringing back slave markets as one consequence. You go with Just Wars and in the end it helps justify atrocities. That is why I think that the Powell Doctrine is a more workable solution though they haven’t done it for 30 years now. Here are the basic principals-

    1- Is a vital national security interest threatened?
    2- Do we have a clear attainable objective?
    3- Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
    4- Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
    5- Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
    6- Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
    7- Is the action supported by the American people?
    8- Do we have genuine broad international support?

    Certainly old Joe is never going to listen to malarkey like this.

      1. Kouros

        Actually no. As an example, in the Romanian principalities Wallachia and Moldova in the Middle Ages (1400 late 1500), The People’s army was the ultimate tool to repel the much superiour and professional Ottoman forces.

        They were never incorporated administratively into the empire. They had Christian rulers, even of import, and no mosques, not like in Sofia, Belgrade, or Budapest… And of course lots of tribute.

  5. St Jacques

    I always thought the French Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars with their mass levies was the real beginning of the end of those limited or “cabinet” wars in Europe. But there you go, they still had a bit of life left in them. A minor point. Most informative article.

  6. Es s Ce tera

    It had crossed my mind that Putin is devoutly Orthodox and the Russian conduct of the war is eminently explainable from the point of view of much of the above.

    And yes, thank you Dr Satirovic for the above overview, saves me having to dig out Augustine and Aquinas.

    Derf mentions Chomsky countering students at West Point. What are students at West Point being taught, I wonder, and what is official government policy.

  7. Isl

    That the Ukraine-russia war of attrition is unjust, seems a throw away argument perhaps for the censors, as unlike the other conflicts, the argument is not developed at all.

    The current Ukrainian Russian conflict is low by US / NATO standards in civilian deaths, particularly from collapsed infrastructure. This, plus r2p for donbass, makes an argument it is just. So why no counterargument?

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps the counter argument is that it isn’t about “just” but about necessary or unnecessary–in other words the “realist” position. Plus, given that the Ukes had been shelling the Donbass for years they and NATO arguably started it in lieu of the negotiated Minsk solution.

      Certainly Putin has made an R2P argument but that’s responsibility to protect Russia based on a claimed realistic assessment of NATO intentions. One could reply that this realism is also a matter of judgment –just like morality–but at least fighting on your own border with a hostile power is a lot more like realism than invading Iraq from North America.

      Being for peace isn’t the same as surrender. Rather it’s a call for the planet as a whole to get a grip. If this goal was easy it would have already happened.

  8. ciroc

    As I understand it, the modern view of war is this. There is no such thing as a “just war,” and we noble pacifists do not want war at any time. But war is inevitable when a barbaric and belligerent enemy wants a fight.

  9. Aurelien

    In my experience, international relations theorists are the equivalent of people who write blogs about football teams, but don’t play themselves. Nonetheless, they always know who should be selected for the next game. I’m not sure that IR, as such, has anything useful to say here.

    Simply, if you are a pacifist, you believe that all wars, and all forms of violence, are unjust and unacceptable. But few of us are as thorough-going as that. So the question is how you decide whether a war is just? Well in fact it isn’t really a question, because every war is “just” in the eyes of those who prosecute it. No country has ever taken part in a war whilst accepting that its cause is unjust, and none ever will, I suspect. In any event, the criteria developed for a just war are necessarily entirely subjective, and could never be proved or disproved. But in the days when war was considered a legitimate form of power politics, there were attempts in different societies to draw up rules for when it was allowed (ius ad bellum) and how it should be conducted (ius in bello). It seems that the Islamic tradition reached similar conclusions to the West. In both cases, the important point is the starting assumption is that in principle war could be fought for a just cause and could be fought in a just fashion. (The article mixes these two arguments up.)

    I’m not sure what “hegemony” has to do with it, although it’s a favourite meme of some IR experts. I presume the last four paragraphs are mostly about ius ad bellum and the argument seems to be that just by being a hegemony (for which there is no objective test) a state loses any power to engage in a just war, including in self-defence. The logic would be that when Nigeria, the regional hegemon, intervened at the head of an ECOWAS force in the 1990s to try to stop the Liberian-backed rebels in Sierra Leone, that was an unjust war because of Nigeria’s status. But had Nigeria not taken part the war would have been a just one, and even if it did take part, the war was unjust for Nigeria but just for everyone else. Or something.

    In the last paragraph he seems to swerve into talking about ius in bello again, although it is, of course, trivially true that the justice of the war and the rightness of behaviour are two quite different things, and wrong behaviour does not invalidate just cause for a war. This paragraph is simply confused: the Russian strategy of attrition is not necessarily more destructive and costly than a war of manoeuvre: indeed, probably less so. Even if it were, that wouldn’t affect the argument of whether the war was “just” or not.

    1. Carolinian

      Or, as they say in the French movie Rules of the Game, “everyone has their reasons.”

      FDR thought the UN would ride herd on war but that didn’t last long. I’ve argued above that this is all a lot more about psychology than “the law.”

  10. Amfortas the Hippie

    here in the hermit socialist republic(ie: my part of the place, for when i eventually secede from us/texas)…its simple:
    i’m nice to my neighbors…including giving them eggs and veggies at random…and being available if they need help finding a lost cow, or whatever.
    i keep an eye on their places for outsider shenanigans…and they do the same for me.
    but when we were being invaded by one of those neighbors…that prowler ive spoken of(8 years…crazy vietnam vet/tunnel rat, sneaking around, doing weird things)…out came the guns, and i engaged in regular patrols and set up what countermeasures i could(see: anarchist cookbook)…but i never crossed the fenceline(i would have been well within my rights to shoot him dead on my side of the fence)
    thats what “defense” means…not going 3 neighbors over and setting up a machine gun nest because i had a dream that they were gonna come get me one day.

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