Personally, my predisposition is that we have a reached a juncture in history when no war can be justified. I am not truly a passivist. More accurately, I like the notion of non-violent active resistance as practiced by Ghandi and Martin Luther King JR. The point is that we can't just do nothing (real passivism), but what we do must be non-violent and just! I think this is the example given us by Christ. In the tradition, many early Christians refused to become soldiers, and later, Saint Francis would go to the middle-east to try to talk with the Sultan, rather than fighting in the crusades.
Yet, the Church does have this tradition of just war theory. My question today is whether Bush's stance on pre-emptive strikes against Iraq met the criteria for just war. The U.S. bishops and several other churches say no.
As I understand the doctrine outlined in paragraph 2309 of The Catechism of the catholic Church, here are the criteria:
1) Just cause: War must be waged as a defense against an unjust aggression. Can pre-emptive wars ever be just? Cardinal Ratzinger stated that pre-emptive war is not found in the CCC. Pre-emption, if it is ever considered just, must be against an immanent threat in the process of being launched. How strong must Bush's evidence be that Saddam was an immanent a threat? I don't think his case was strong at all. Where are the WMD’s we were supposed to find?
2) Just intent: With Vice President Cheney’s old company making a fortune cleaning up the oil refineries in Iraq, I wonder how people can still say the war had nothing to do with oil? Rumsfeld and other Presidential advisors had been pushing for this war since at least 1997. What are their alterior motives?
3) Declared by those in authority to wage war: This typically rules out vigilante groups of private citizens declaring a war. In today's world, can a just war be waged without support of the international community? In Iraq, was it right for the United States to enforce U.N. resolutions without the backing of the U.N. itself?
4) Reasonable chance of success: Obviously, no suicide missions....but in the context of Iraq, are their clear plans for rebuilding the nation? Is the Middle-East really safe if we don’t? Are we safe from terrorism with Iraq and Afghanistan in dissaray, and the Palestinian question still unresolved?
5) Proportionality: Three words: “Shock and awe”. This principle means we use just means: The ends do not justify the means. Use of chemical or biological weapons is an example of unjust means. The United States is actually the largest owner of weapons of mass destruction that may violate this rule.
6) Last Resort: For all its failings, the weapons inspections were doing the job of containing Iraq. War must be waged only after all other means have been tried to maintain peace. Was Bush permitting this by trying to circumvent U.N. weapons inspections and other means of diplomacy?
7) No deliberate targeting of non-combatants: Even with our technology, hundreds, if not thousands of civilians died. Does any modern warfare really meet this criteria?
I personally think Bush did not meet the criteria for just war, even if I were pre-disposed to believe there is such thing as a just war.
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy to see the world with one less dictator, and I am happy to see the jubilation of the Iraqi people. Furthermore, who is not glad to see our troops are coming home safe with minimum casualties.
Just as God turned the greatest evil in the world, the crucifixion of Christ, into the most glorious event in human history, it seems that an unjust war has brought about some good ends. Nevertheless, the ends never justify the means, and we must be more creative in working for peace.
I simply pray and hope that the same energy and creativity that went into developing smart bombs and nuclear weapons will now be channeled into making peace. There were alternatives to war with Iraq that we never even tried. Let’s pray that in the future, we will try harder to deal with evil by doing good.
Pray for peace at Prayers for Peace
Peace and Blessings!
Readers may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
posted by Jcecil3 1:53 PM