the moral equality of combatants
Certain theorists (e.g. Michael Walzer, Dan Zupan) argue for a principle often called the Moral Equality of Combatants (hereafter, MEC). The principle says all combatants, whether fighting on the just side (if indeed there is one) or the unjust side, share the same moral status with regards to jus ad bellum--the resort to war. One counterintuitive result of adopting this principle is that a combatant cannot be held blameworthy for conducting acts that essentially amount to murder since warring in the name of an unjust cause doesn't give one a justification or excuse for taking human lives.
I have a crude argument against MEC and i'm wondering what people think of it. It goes as follows:
Argument against MEC
- Combatants have a moral obligation to not go to war for an unjust cause.
- If (1), then combatants who go to war for an unjust cause are morally blameworthy.
- From (1) and (2) it follows that combatants who go to war for an unjust cause are morally blameworthy.
- Combatants who go to war for a just cause are not morally blameworthy.
- Therefore, MEC is false.