Teacher-Written Lesson

Teaching with Current Events: Syrian Airstrikes and Just War Doctrine

  • Written by Sophia Institute for Teachers

Lesson Overview

For the past seven years, the country of Syria has been divided by a bloody civil war between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to remove him from power. Earlier this month, a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held city of Douma left over 40 Syrians dead, and many others injured. The U.S. and its allies are outraged by what they claim was a brutal attack by the Syrian government on its own citizens. Despite denials by Syrian allies in Russia and Iran that Syria was behind the chemical attacks, President Trump, working with the UK and France, ordered an airstrike against three Syrian chemical weapons facilities. President Trump has warned that the U.S. and its allies will “sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops” using chemical weapons. Should the U.S. have intervened militarily in this situation? Should they continue to do so if the situation in Syria does not improve? Does this intervention meet the criteria for a just war?

In this lesson your students will:
▸ Learn the four criteria of just war doctrine as laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
▸ Use these criteria to analyze the current situation in Syria and, more broadly, examine how citizens should approach the truth and justice of news and situations across the globe.

Recommended For

Grade Level: High School, Middle School

Subject: Civics, Government, and Economics, Civics, American Citizenship, Civic Virtue, Participating in Civic Life, Government, Justice, Current Events, Religion, Moral Theology, Social Justice

Learner: Traditional Classroom, Homeschooled Students, CCD/Parish-Based Education

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