The just war tradition made an unexpected eruption into an otherwise secular world under the presidency of George W. Bush and the prime ministership of Tony Blair. Both men believed they were doing God's work in their various wars. The eruption was unexpected because just war theory is principally an aspect of moral theology, i.e. it is theologians who used to speculate on whether wars were just while modern international law has resolutely refused, for many centuries, to pronounce on ius ad bellum. The only partial exception to this resolute refusal is the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, and some of the other regime trials held around that time, which criminalised aggressive war. The irony is that the recent renewal of just war theory has been used to justify precisely that.
This part of the site will aim to set the record straight on just war theory, one of whose traditional elements (according to St Thomas Aquinas) is that a war is only just if waged with a right intention. Ulterior motives are obviously not permitted and therefore it is doubtful whether the claims made for contemporary just war can in fact stand up to scrutiny in the light of the heritage they claim.