Friday, January 28

Commenting on Just War

Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost has pointed out several other blogs are discussing Just War. I just completed a series of essays on this topic and was engaged in a Just War discussion in an e-mail exchange. Many of the detractors of the Iraq War, who feel that this war was not Just confuse issues regarding the prudence of going to war with the justification or the ethics of whether the War can be considered moral or just. Joe pointed out a series of posts at Mirror of Justice considering these questions.

One of the readers conclusion from that site was that if you believe a classical theory of Just War, then the Iraqi engagement was justified. If you believe a post-Enlightenment theory which has a stronger presumption that War is the evil to be avoided at almost any cost, then almost no wars are considered Just. It seems to me that if you use stringent criteria which mark the Iraqi War as unjust, then almost all wars in the past are also unjust. When I engaged in my exercise on Just War, I felt it necessary to re-examine past wars in the light of my results. If for example, I had determined that almost all past wars were not Just, then I think I would have to re-examine my criteria in light of my belief that many past Wars were in fact Just.

As to arguments that in light of what we learned after the invasion about WMD, et al, are arguments invalidating the Justification for going to war, this is specious. One cannot be held accountable with regards to Justification for actions in light of knowledge gained after the fact. If one believes that intentional deception was used to frame the cause for War, then that contention should be backed up with fact. I think arguing that 80+ Senators and the Administration all colluded to lie to the American people is not a contention that can be sustained without divorcing oneself from the reality of today's ideologically divided political climate.