Is it better overall to have a country in which most people are firmly convinced that engaging in warfare is never morally permissible, or to have a country in which people believe that engaging in warfare can sometimes be moral? The second alternative has considerable initial plausibility to my mind and certainly seems to be the more popular one by a wide margin, but I've found that the people whom I otherwise respect most for their intellectual abilities tend to believe the former. So I wonder.

There surely are intelligent and morally thoughtful individuals who are pacifists and believe that going to war is always morally unjustified, However, I think that this view is ultimately morally unacceptable. I believe that there can be circumstances where going to war would be morally justified, for example, cases of collective self-defense. If one political community is unjustly attacked by another, people can be morally justified in defending themselves against attack by going to war against their attacker. This needn't mean that going to war whenever one is attacked would be morally justified. There may be cases where the moral costs of self-defense are too high and, thus, would not be justified. But this doesn't count against there being at least some cases of going to war in self-defense being morally justified.