Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Just War: Free Republic's Resident Religion Forum Evaluates a Potential "Iraq War"
a long time ago | Aquinas

Posted on 09/30/2002 6:23:21 AM PDT by xzins

What follows are the basic tenets of "just war theory." Feel free to comment on any or all of the tenets in light of the United States opposition to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. After your evaluation of each tenet, please answer the question, "Is a war against Iraq justified at this time?"

The Basic Tenets of Just War

1. Last Resort. A just war can only be waged as a last resort

2. Legitimate Authority. A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority

3. Redress of Wrong. A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered

4. Reasonable Chance of Success. A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success

5. Re-Establish Peace. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace

6. Proportionality of Force. States may not use more force than is necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered

7. Collateral Damage. The weapons must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants


TOPICS: Current Events; Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: justwar; philosophy; religion; war

1 posted on 09/30/2002 6:23:22 AM PDT by xzins
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: All
1. Last Resort. A just war can only be waged as a last resort
....a. 16 UN resolutions regarding inspections have been ignored.
....b. Iraq violated provisions of treaty following Gulf War in terms of permitting unhindered inspections.
....c. Current negotiations are under way to get Iraq to comply.

2. Legitimate Authority. A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority
....a. The US Government is a legitimate authority
....b. The British Government is a legitimate authority
....c. The UN is not a government, and is not a legitimate authority.

3. Redress of Wrong. A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered
....a. 9/11 attacks by terrorists against US.
....b. Iraq harboring (aiding/abetting) Al Quaeda
....c. Circumstantial evidence indicating Iraqi complicity
....d. Iraq currently possessing and active pursuing weapons of mass destruction (wmd) that can be used as clandestine "weapons of mass terror" (wmt).
....e. Legitimate threat does constitute a wrong that need's redressing.

4. Reasonable Chance of Success. A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success
....a. The US can easily succeed against the Iraqi socialist state.
....b. US military power is the greatest in the world.

5. Re-Establish Peace. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace
....a. The US has no goal of permanent seizure of territory.
....b. Upon regime change the US will withdraw in order to permit Iraq's re-entry into the community of peaceful nations.

6. Proportionality of Force. States may not use more force than is necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered
....a. Regime change could require a range of military force up to and including high intensity conflict.
....b. The US has no intention of using Weapons of Mass Destruction (wmd) EXCEPT as a response to Iraq's using WMD.
....c. The objective of regime change is specific and attainable in a variety of force configurations.

7. Collateral Damage. The weapons must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants
....a. US laser guided and satellite guided weapons systems can focus on specific targets with a high degree of reliability. Collateral damage will be minimal.
....b. Even if Iraq hides military objectives in civilian areas, the specific target ability of the US will enable limited civilian collateral damage WITHIN the target area and extremely limited civilian collateral damage OUTSIDE the target area.
....c. The US has targeted civilians for food drops, medical assistance, health maintenance, and restoration of civil order. This is the opposite of collateral damage.

At this point in time, the US must follow through on opportunities to avoid war so that it is evident that sufficient efforts have been made to prevent this war.

Other than that, all other requirements for a just war are reasonably answered.

2 posted on 09/30/2002 7:06:54 AM PDT by xzins
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xzins
bombs away.
3 posted on 09/30/2002 7:10:44 AM PDT by drstevej
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: xzins
Whose dumd Basic Tenets are these???

Last Resort...

We must allow another state to murder, main, attack, overrun, rape, pillage, etc, before we arrive at this "last" resort. We must resort to submission to a foriegn power before arriving at a "last" resort of war.

Proportionality...

This is truly stupid. A just war requires that we give our emenies "a fighting chance." Overwhelming superiority saves lives on both sides. A quicker surrender by the offending power saves many lives.

Collateral Damage...

Are soldiers humans? Should we have invaded Japan, costing and estimated 2 million Japanese and American lives (mostly soldiers) instead of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki (costing 200,000-300,000 civilians?)

Are these Tenets for real????

4 posted on 09/30/2002 9:40:49 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Onelifetogive; xzins
Onelifetogive wrote "Whose dumd Basic Tenets are these???

I assume you have fingers like mine :) and mean "dumb". These originated with Thomas Aquinas (c.1224–March 7, 1274). Aquinas was a Catholic philosopher and theologian, who wrote Summa Theologica. In this work Aquinas used Aristotelian logic to reconcile faith with reason, "proving" the existence of God as the logical uncaused cause. Therefore, many authors correctly fault Aquinas for introducing autonomous Magisterial Reason into Christian Thought. In Pange, Lingua, a hymn for Vespers on the Feast of Corpus Christi, Thomas Aquinas wrote:

Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
Of His Flesh the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King.

This gives us some view of Aquinas' view of God and Christ.

5 posted on 09/30/2002 7:30:48 PM PDT by RochesterFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: xzins
I agree that the war on Iraq passes all of the qualifications on being Just except for these reasons, 1 the administration is not taking all the strides to prevent war which means it is not yet a last resort 2 there really isn't any proof that Iraq harboured Al Quida, and we can't just go based on unforgivibly vague statements and circumstantial evidence the administration feeds us. There is a reason we haven't seen proof of these weapons, even in Blair's dosier, and the reason is right now there is no evidence, the administration is saying it would effect our national security to release this information, but don't buy that for a minute. JFK once said "We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
Right now the Bush administration is either afraid of us or lying to us, you decide. I will add one more point, those of you who think sharp wars are better ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Civilian casualties can never be justified for the sake of winning a war, even what happened in Japan. The estimates of 2 million lives that would have been lost is baseless speculation. The reason it is believed today is because we felt we had to justify the unjustifiable. The concept of life, dignity and justness are just some things that distinguish us from lower life forms. Iraqi civilians are as entitled to living in peace as Americans are. Here's some food for thought from JFK again "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
6 posted on 10/03/2002 4:14:51 PM PDT by Simmsmail03
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fortheDeclaration; winstonchurchill; ShadowAce; P-Marlowe; Revelation 911; The Grammarian; ...
This was posted back in September, last year. What would you add to it, say about it as we prepare to go to war?

I heard on FoxNews last night an interview with a priest at the Vatican. His comment was correct I think: He said that even though the Just War theory exists, and the church promotes it, the DECISION to war belongs to Governments....biblically.
7 posted on 03/16/2003 5:33:35 AM PST by xzins (Babylon, you have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: xzins; Claud; dadwags; SoothingDave; al_c; Notwithstanding; Salvation; JHavard; Havoc; ...
On my way to church ..our adult Sunday School is doing the second of two classes on "just wars" today for teens and adults..so I will have time to consider this ..comment later

BTTT

8 posted on 03/16/2003 6:03:44 AM PST by RnMomof7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: xzins; RnMomof7
...DECISION to war belongs to Governments...

Uh,.....and,...NOT to 'Imams'...?

9 posted on 03/16/2003 6:21:55 AM PST by maestro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: maestro
NOT unless they install him as head of a government.
10 posted on 03/16/2003 9:35:54 AM PST by xzins (Babylon, you have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: xzins
the DECISION to war belongs to Governments....biblically.

In our discussion today it was stated it belongs to the higest body..whne talking of Somelia..It was the UN that called that action and it was the highest body.

11 posted on 03/16/2003 9:57:10 AM PST by RnMomof7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Onelifetogive
Are these Tenets for real????

They are. But the dumbassed projections you made on those tenets are strictly a figment of your own imagination.
12 posted on 03/16/2003 9:58:37 AM PST by Conservative til I die
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: RnMomof7
Thanks for the ping. My pastor and others, whom I respect in my PCA congregation, believe that this would be a just war. I also trust our President.

RnMomof7, thanks for the work you do to keep us informed.
13 posted on 03/16/2003 11:27:03 AM PST by oldcodger (a sinner saved by the grace of god)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: RochesterFan
These originated with Thomas Aquinas (c.1224–March 7, 1274). Aquinas was a Catholic philosopher and theologian,

They most certainly did not. They originated with Augustine. Aquinas only expanded Augustine's thoughts on the just war.

14 posted on 03/16/2003 3:08:42 PM PST by jude24
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: RochesterFan
JMO but it seems like that if a Christian wrote this, then there should be something about being right with God first.
15 posted on 03/16/2003 4:08:08 PM PST by CindyDawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: jude24
They originated with Augustine.

Can you supply a reference? Hopefully available from CCEL...

16 posted on 03/16/2003 4:09:30 PM PST by RochesterFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: xzins
I'm just hoping the President waits a few days for the human shields to get there. :-)
17 posted on 03/16/2003 4:17:33 PM PST by Invincibly Ignorant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CindyDawg; jude24
JMO but it seems like that if a Christian wrote this, then there should be something about being right with God first.

Please do not confuse my attribution of the source as endorsement of the entire thread of argument. Also remember that often quotes here do not have their full context. Recall that most of the writings from this period are in Latin. Many English translations are in the public domain in the CCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library) at Wheaton College. Check out www.ccel.org. If you want to critique Aquinas' argument, read the entire section in Summa Theologica at CCEL. Note that jude24 correctly pointed out that Aquinas borrowed heavily from Augustine. The above reference has many quotes. I've asked jude24 to supply some sources to Augustine. A quick Google search did find this attribution to Augustine from Schaff's "History of the Christian Church."

St. Augustine, the noblest representative of the Latin church, in his profound work on the "City of God," excludes slavery from the original idea of man and the final condition of society, and views it as an evil consequent upon sin, yet under divine direction and control. For God, he says, created man reasonable and lord only over the unreasonable, not over man. The burden of servitude was justly laid upon the sinner. Therefore the term servant is not found in the Scriptures till Noah used it as a curse upon his offending son. Thus it was guilt and not nature that deserved that name. The Latin word servus is supposed to be derived from servare [servire rather], or the preservation of the prisoners of war from death, which itself implies the desert of sin. For even in a just war there is sin on one side, and every victory humbles the conquered by divine judgment, either reforming their sins or punishing them. Daniel saw in the sins of the people the real cause of their captivity. Sin, therefore, is the mother of servitude and first cause of man’s subjection to man; yet this does not come to pass except by the judgment of God, with whom there is no injustice, and who knows how to adjust the various punishments to the merits of the offenders .... The apostle exhorts the servants to obey their masters and to serve them ex animo, with good will; to the end that, if they cannot be made free from their masters, they may make their servitude a freedom to themselves by serving them not in deceitful fear, but in faithful love, until iniquity be overpassed, and all man’s principality and power be annulled, and God be all in all.[emphasis mine] from here

Again, note that I am neither endorsing nor refuting this argument. I am just pointing you to some sources so that you can evaluate it for yourself. From your comments, I'm assuming that you are a believer in Jesus Christ. On the basis of that assumption, I encourage you (and all of us here on FR) to critically examine the argument in the spirit of Acts 17:11

18 posted on 03/16/2003 4:36:17 PM PST by RochesterFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: RnMomof7; All; Rachumlakenschlaff; Alamo-Girl; betty boop; cornelis; KC Burke
As to "higest body," I believe that at the Tower of Babel, the Lord effectively established nations and concomitantly, national sovereignty in this world. (Long ago, and this has tended to be the case ever since, though empires have attempted to overrule it.) There is a reason that God addresses the world as "the nations." Further, in His national example of Israel, that nation was sharply admonished not to relinquish it's sovereignty and responsibilites to another earthly body.

Further, America's founding instituted the People of the United States of America, directly endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, as our nation's highest body (it's only sovereignty). By our Constitution, we People empower certain establishments of our government and limit those powers.

In accord with these principles, and among other ramifications, I do not recognize the United Nations as a governing body (though it may be a forum for international treaties). I humbly suggest that none of us should make that mistake for a moment.
____________________________________
Also, other elements of this Aquinas model appear unnecessarily restrictive or incomplete to me, on the face of it. Maybe I'll be able to read/reflect/treat that with a bit of detail later. (I'd like to.)

[Humbly suggest pinging the pingable, here.]
19 posted on 03/16/2003 4:39:42 PM PST by unspun (The most terrorized place in America is a mother's womb.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: RochesterFan
Took a little looking, but sure:

Augustine, Contra Faustum Manichaeum XXII.73-79

20 posted on 03/16/2003 4:58:13 PM PST by jude24
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: jude24
(My Western Church Hist. notes, where we discussed this, has this excepted quote, for those who don't want to read through several stuffy paragraphs. This was what I had to google for.)
"What is the charge brought against war? Is it that some men, who will in any case die sooner or later, are killed so as to establish order for people who will live in peace?... The real evils in war are the love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust for power, and such like; and it is generally to punish these things... that in obedience to God or some lawful authority, good men undertake wars... and right conduct requires them to act."

21 posted on 03/16/2003 5:05:43 PM PST by jude24
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: All
I suggest looking to all the kinds of instruction that history affords, in order to determine the principles that are universal, or the information that in some other way is applicable to current events.

I humble suggest not using any documented thought or act from history as a chair to sit on.

In other words, everyone is responsible to think for himself (in fact, there is no other option).
22 posted on 03/16/2003 5:19:48 PM PST by unspun (The most terrorized place in America is a mother's womb.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: unspun
An item that might be useful comes from President Lincoln:
Meditation on the Divine Will

Washington, D.C.

September, 1862

This fragment was found and preserved by John Hay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, who said it was "not written to be seen of men." Some of the thoughts expressed here, written after discouraging days of personal sorrow and military defeats, also appear in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address of 1865.

The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party; and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect his purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true; that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power on the minds of the now contestants, he could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun, he could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.

23 posted on 03/16/2003 6:30:02 PM PST by KC Burke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: xzins
"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. . . ."
--Faramir, Captain of Gondor, The Lord of the Rings

what did you expect? ;-)

24 posted on 03/16/2003 6:34:07 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (Liberate Iraq. Fumigate France.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: unspun
Thank you so much for the heads up and your insight!
25 posted on 03/16/2003 8:28:16 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: KC Burke
Thank you for sharing this. What a blessing to have a President with such perspective in that tragic time.

...believe we have another special blessing, serving us today.
26 posted on 03/16/2003 9:17:06 PM PST by unspun (The most terrorized place in America is a mother's womb.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: RnMomof7
George Will points out in one of his current articles (perhaps his latest article) that the heads of the UN, as opposed to our national leadership, has never had one officer receive one vote from anyone in the world. Libya chairs the peace commission and Iraq the commission on disarmament.....2 nations I never would have voted for. But that's the point....they are not a duly elected/instituted government.
27 posted on 03/16/2003 9:21:27 PM PST by xzins (Babylon, you have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Corin Stormhands
Thanks. Faramir was my favorite character in Tolkien. After all the ambivalence in the other characters, what a joy to come across him. He reminds me of the apostle John. (Too bad what the film did.)
28 posted on 03/16/2003 9:21:44 PM PST by unspun (The most terrorized place in America is a mother's womb.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: xzins; RnMomof7; All
Prayer request from President Bush:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/866381/posts
Perhaps you've seen it already.
29 posted on 03/16/2003 9:45:01 PM PST by unspun (The most terrorized place in America is a mother's womb.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: unspun
Thank you. I have seen it and appreciate the bump anyway.
30 posted on 03/16/2003 9:49:10 PM PST by xzins (Babylon, you have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: xzins; RnMomof7; Corin Stormhands
Our top of the hour radio news reported a survey that was taken which showed that support for the war increased as faithful church attendance increased.

IOW, those who faithfully attended services were more likely to support the war on Iraq, than those who did not attend services faithfully.
31 posted on 03/17/2003 5:07:08 AM PST by ksen (HHD)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: ksen
I read that report somewhere on FR this morning.

Even among mainline churches, whose leadership is liberal, a majority of their membership supported the liberation of Iraq.
32 posted on 03/17/2003 5:20:25 AM PST by xzins (Babylon, you have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: RnMomof7
I have never had a problem with the basic tenets of a just war. In fact, I would agree with them completely. However, almost everyone supporting this "just" war on Iraq tends to ignore two very important facts: 1) Congress has not issued a constitutionally mandated declaration of war and 2) Iraq has not attacked the United States.

The resolution passed by Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq was not the equivalent of a declaration of war. It simply authorized the president to work with the U.N. to enforce Security Council resolutions. It makes no mention of the existence of a state of war between the U.S. and Iraq. To send in American troops to enforce U.N. policy is unconstitutional, and our efforts will only serve to legitimize the U.N.

33 posted on 03/17/2003 7:08:46 AM PST by sheltonmac
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: xzins
Just War is definately what is being applied by Bush when looking at this war with Iraq.

The moral question raised is without a doubt needed. It is good to note that most of the just war doctrine from Agustine is incorporated into the US Military training and planning.

The reason we are going to war is to remove the threat of Saddam. The only reason we (not the UN) stopped the original Gulf War was because of Saddam's surrender and pledge to disarm. Then the UN stepped in to manage this agreement. As many have aptly pointed out the UN is not a sovereign power, has no army, has no borders to protect and so it seems impossible for them to be considered a 'legitimate authority' according to just war. We are now continuing what Saddam stopped before. The war did not end. This is a 'just cause'.

The US helped found the UN,is the main supplier of funding for the UN, and is the military might of the UN. The US, like a good board member of any corporation tried to get them to fulfill their mission. The special interests of France and Germany have stood in the way.

This does not change the morality of this war, nor has the just war doctrine ever spoken of the UN or something like it as a legitimate authority.

Check out http://www.CatholicJustWar.org for more information. It has statements from Archbishop O'Brien showing how a pre-emptive strike can be morally justified and a lot more.
34 posted on 03/19/2003 1:08:41 PM PST by Mike Hernon (Just War)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson