Wednesday, October 6

WMD or not WMD?

WorldNetDaily: Is this one of Saddam's mobile bio-weapons labs? (hat tip, Powerline).

Just found, "mobile bio-weapons labs?" Well, it's not in the MSM cannon of what exists in Iraq, so unless more evidence is found, we all both know this story will die a lonely death.

The left has insisted on WMD because it fits with the only (?) justification they buy for going to war in the first place. Now what I haven't seen from the left is much of a discussion of what constitutes just war. I personally like this one:

I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress
of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a
private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime.
And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it
is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province
subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in
defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish
evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rom. 13:4): "He beareth not the
sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that
doth evil"; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in
defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who
are in authority (Ps. 81:4): "Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand
of the sinner"; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): "The
natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare
and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority."
Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should
be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine
says (QQ. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): "A just war is wont to be described as one
that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make
amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized
Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so
that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine
says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine's
works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): "True religion looks upon as peaceful
those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with
the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good." For
it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just
cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine
says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): "The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for
vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power,
and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.

From Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas (pp 2086).

This criteria it is clearly matched by the Iraq and Afghan conflicts:

1. War was declared by George Bush supported legally by Congress and the Constitution.
2. Just cause is required. For the Afghan "affair" see 9/11. For Saddam and Iraq a sufficient criteria (which alas doesn't include WMD) is that he violated (numerous times) his cease fire agreement from the previous war. Justification for the previous Gulf War is left as an exorcise for the reader.
3. Do the belligerents have rightful intentions. I would argue from continual diligent avoidance of collateral damage at considerable risk to their own life and limb that they do.

That of course, begs the question..... Why do many insist on WMD? Some do I fear because they are betting that they don't exist. Then by hammering this non-existence as a failure, they satisfy their animus against the current president. The other reason is that they feel possession of WMD was the primary reason for going in when we did. However, the WH's claim concerning WMD was a little more (shall we dare to say) nuanced than that. The WH claimed Saddam was trying to develop WMD and that we must act prior to Saddam acquiring them. Thus actual WMD don't have to be found, just records that he was interested or had programs to develop them. Certainly we all can admit existence of a mobile lab shows this criteria is met.