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Accompanying this recognition is the suspicion that these developments have finally rendered the just war tradition obsolete, irrelevant, impossible.
Put more starkly, are we not now in a perpetual (color-coded) "supreme emergency," to use Michael Walzer's well-known concept, (6) one that does not permit us the luxury of the moral purity or "clean hands" that the just war tradition, in more amenable times, afforded?
The challenges presented to the just war tradition by the current situation are real.
Although the challenges are real, the shadow of suspicion cast over the just war tradition by the current situation is itself not a novel development.
So, if neither the question put to the tradition, nor the circumstances that currently prompt such a question, are new, then why the generalized sense that the just war tradition is perilously close to being eclipsed?
The source of the tradition's difficulties is found in two very different accounts of the end of the just war tradition.
The prevailing answer is that the just war tradition first and foremost serves the state.
By educating Catholics about the Church's position on war--popularly known as the just war doctrine--and publicizing contemporary peacemaking documents, Merton hoped American Catholics might develop political attitudes better informed by the teachings of the Church and the example of Christ.
CPFers lambasted the American military for its use of napalm, saturation bombing and deforestation--tactics they believed violated just war prohibitions against indiscriminate killing, total war, and excessive violence.
50) Hoping to appeal to a broad range of Catholics, the CPF constructed criticism that highlighted how the conduct of the war not only violated their own pacifist values, but failed to meet just war standards--the basic, and more accepted Church teaching on war.
62) As an organization the CPF worked diligently to publicize the Church's just war doctrine, printing and distributing pamphlets on just war and the right to conscientiously object to unjust wars.
Scholars generally credit Saint Augustine with developing the just war doctrine.