Casus Belli

By Deane Barker

Definition: act of war; cause for war

This is from the literal Latin. It’s related to the “just war doctrine,” meaning it refers to an act in which war is a (subjectively) justified response.

Why I Looked It Up

I have the photo of a book page in my notes, but I don’t remember where it’s from. It discusses the run-up to the Iraq War:

The president…directly [invoked] the fourteen-year-old Kurdish tragedy at Halabja as a casus belli…

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