Friday, January 12, 2007

Jim Wallis on the Iraq War

An unjust war

I believe this is one of the best pieces on the war that I have read, so I wanted to share a bit of it with you:

By the classic criteria of a "just war," Iraq was not, and is not, one. Not even close. And at the time of the run-up to the war, a majority of church bodies and their leaders around the world said just that. Pope John Paul II was quite agitated about Iraq, and had he been a younger man, might have actually intervened to prevent the unjust war. Even most evangelical Christians around the globe were against the American war in Iraq, and continue to be – a fact that the U.S. media also missed. There were others, like the American Southern Baptists, who supported their president's war, but on an international scale they were clearly the exceptions.

There is absolutely no way that the American invasion of Iraq could be considered a "last resort" – one of the just war criteria. The inspections officers were working to find and contain any weapons of mass destruction Iraq might have had, and the Bush administration both misrepresented and manipulated the alleged threat from the weapons of mass destruction. The administration lied to start a war. Over time, the brutal Saddam Hussein could have been isolated, undermined, and overthrown (a very worthy goal) from pressures internal and external, and serious proposals were on the table to do just that when Bush went to war. Instead we bombed the children of Baghdad and then allowed the country to slide into bloody chaos. There was never adequate "authority" to wage this war (another criterion) – the United Nations, NATO, and the vast majority of the world's people and nations were against it. Only Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair thought this was a good idea, and their political legacies will be forever shaped by the worst foreign policy decision either country has made in decades. Iraq also failed the tests of "proportionality" and "discrimination" with all the societal damage it was likely to cause (and has): the horrible number of innocents that have been lost through the tactics of "shock and awe," the resulting insurgency against American occupation, and now the civil war that has turned into ethnic cleansing. There was never an "imminent threat" from Saddam, there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11 (as we were told), and Bush's war in Iraq was not a central front in the international campaign against terrorism, but rather has turned out to be a serious distraction from it (though the war itself has now transformed Iraq into a haven and school for terrorism).

The war in Iraq was unjust; to continue it now is criminal. There is no winning in Iraq. This was a war that should have never been fought – or won. It can't be won, and the truth is that there are no good solutions now – that's how unjust wars often turn out. The president says that "failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States." But we have already failed in Iraq and it has already become a disaster for Americans, Iraqis, the Middle East, and even for the larger campaign against terrorism. The mistaken war in Iraq can only be mercifully ended, in ways that cause the least damage to everyone involved . . ."Jim Wallis: A Criminal Escalation of An Jim Wallis: A Criminal Escalation of An Unjust WarJim Wallis: A Criminal Escalation of An Unjust War
Jim Wallis: A Criminal Escalation of An Unjust War


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