After-effects and Remainders of War— Identifying War as an “Evil Institution”




Trevino, Rheanna S.

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Office of the Vice President for Research


“After-effects and Remainders of War— Identifying War as an ‘Evil Institution’” is an application of Claudia Card's theory of evil in which evils are evaluated not by one’s actions, but in regard to the sufferings of the victims. Referencing Claudia Card's Atrocity Paradigm, this work examines war through harmful after-effects to argue war is an “evil institution” by Card's definition. It is often clear that acts during war can be considered unjust and perhaps evil, however, the focus of this work is not the actions of war, but rather the suffering which can occur following war. Archival records of Civil Rights activist Albert Peña (from UTSA's Special Collections) and Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera support the thesis that war and, as an example, conquest are evil and leave many people with emotional, psychological, and political struggles which can last for decades and even centuries. In this paper, the conquest of the Americas, namely the Spanish Conquest and the Mexican American War, are examined as examples to address the many possible forms of suffering as a result of war; and those who suffer from these specific wars are descendants of Maya, Aztec, and Native American Indians, to include Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Chicanos. However, these forms of suffering can affect anyone who has suffered from a division or loss of identity due to war. To encompass war, various forms are addressed, including ideological war, revolution, and intervention, aiming to show thats each of these can "foreseeably lead to or facilitate intolerably harmful injustice in normal operation”— Card's definition of an “evil institution.” In examining the evils of war and conquest, this work uses applied ethics to view Card's ethical theory in important ways, bordering the limits of Just War Theory and reexamining the permissibility of war by recognizing those who suffer.