I have opposed this Iraq War since it was first suggested. My original reasons were Christian. Long ago Augustine proposed the Just War Theory. It basically says that for a war to be just it has to meet the following criteria:
- have a just cause;
- be declared by a proper authority;
- possess a right intention;
- be the last resort;
- have a reasonable chance of success; and
- the ends be in proportion to the means used.
Before I explain why the current Iraq War does not meet these criteria, let me add one caveat to Just War Theory: war is always evil. Sometimes, alas, it is the least evil choice in this messed up, sinful world.
Having said that, the Iraq War fails to meet the first, third, fourth and fifth and sixth criteria listed above.
A just war has to have a just cause. This basically means that one’s country has been attacked or another country has been attack and one’s country comes to the defense of the other country. President Bush and his aides promoted the Iraq War by calling for a preventative war. A preventative war cannot be just because one’s country is not under attack. Even the threat of potential weapons of mass destruction fails under this theory, not because no such weapons were found but rather because the U.N. inspectors were doing an adequate job, not of finding weapons of mass destruction but rather of preventing Saddam Hussein from using them, if they existed, the presence of the inspectors did not allow for sufficient space to make and deploy the weapons.
Further, the argument that Saddam Hussein supported Al Qaeda is laughable. Radical Islamicists hated Saddam Hussein as much as they hate us.
A just war has to be declared by a proper authority. This basically means that a legitimate government has to declare the war. I let this one go because the president did go to congress and get its permission. Still, a little more attention to the truth would make this criteria more justifiable.
A just war has to possess a right intention. Hmmm . . . What were our intentions again? The stated intention was to remove the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But evidence has come out that the administration knew that weapons of mass destruction, at least nuclear weapons, were not in
Now if one makes the argument that the people of
A just war has to be the last resort. In 2003 were there other actions the
Oh, and I have to say here, because I have to say it somewhere: the sanctions and the oil for food policies weren’t working. They weren’t working partially because some UN officials and others got very rich selling oil on the side for Saddam Hussein and also because Saddam Hussein didn’t care if the middle class of
Whew! Having got that out of my system:
A just war has to have a reasonable chance of success. Well, we did succeed, didn’t we? Saddam Hussein is dead and the Baath party is destroyed. So why are civilians and soldiers dying every day in
The ultimate result seems to be, no matter how many troops we pour into
By the measurement of number of deaths the Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein! At least under his rule only the army or the secret police might come and kidnap you in the middle of the night. Now kidnapping is a growth industry in
Please notice I’m not arguing that Saddam Hussein provided good or just rule in
In just war the end has to be proportional to the means. Curiously this can be argued two different ways. On the one hand, the amount of bombs we dropped on populated areas in
On the other hand, there is the Powell Doctrine. Colin Powell, after his frustrating experience in
Of course, no one was listening to me in 2003. For that matter few, if any, will listen to me now. But it isn’t fair to just critique the past and then leave. So I have a proposed solution. It ain’t pretty, but it’s mine.
- Apologize. I know politicians don’t like to admit they were wrong but what the heck? They were wrong! So President Bush should say he was wrong when he decided to go to war with
. He should say, at the very least, that he did not consider the full consequences of his actions and that things certainly didn’t turn out the way he expected them to turn out. Iraq
- I know we don’t have a lot of credibility with the Sunnis or the Shiites, but we should ask their leaders to sit down with us, or some other party that both sides trust and see if there isn’t a way to stop the fighting between the two groups. Better include those tribal chiefs in the conversation too and provide all sides protection from both their enemies and their friends if they will accept such protection from us or some other group.
- We should offer the Kurds all the support they need. After all, the north of
is the one place in the country where American troops are welcomed. After their persecution they deserve a place of their own. But we shouldn’t get involved in their arguments with the Sunnis about who owns which city or who owns the oil. We should encourage them to negotiate with the Sunnis about these issues. Alas, negotiation does not seem to be the preferred method of resolving disputes in Iraq today, but we should at least try. Oh, and we shouldn’t guard the borders of Kurdish territory. They should take on that task. Iraq
- The unfortunate fact of the matter is that neither the Sunnis nor the Shiites want us in their country. Both sides have people who shoot at our troops and set off bombs as they go by. Polls say that most of the Sunnis and Shiites don’t want us in
. Let’s take them at their word. Give them the chance to sit down together and try and work things out and tell them they have six months to do so. They can choose peace or a long, messy, horrible civil war. After all, they can continue to fight that civil war slowly as long as we are there and then heat it up when we leave. They could fight now or later. Or they might just take a look at the situation and back off and try to find a way to get along together. Then again, they might not. Either way it would be their choice. Iraq
- If the various groups find a way to peace we should pay to fix their country’s infrastructure. I don’t like more taxes anymore than anyone else, but we made the mess and we ought to clean it up.
Anyway, that’s what this simple-minded pastor thinks.