IS A WAR WITH IRAQ A JUST WAR?
By Chuck Baldwin
Posted: February 10, 2003 - 2:30 pm pst
As I predicted when George W. Bush was elected President of the United States, America is going to war against Iraq. That we are going to war with Iraq is not the question. The question is, "Is war with Iraq a just war?"
For the better part of 2000 years, Western Civilization has generally agreed that Saint Augustine's definition of a just war forms the clearest and most laudable benchmark for waging war. Notable personalities of history such as St. Thomas Aquinas and Daniel Webster have likewise assessed the just war theory in terms favorable to those of Augustine's.
In a nutshell, Augustine said that for a war to be just "it must be fought for the right reasons, and it must be waged under rightful authority." He also said that "war is waged in order to attain peace."
According to Augustine, immoral reasons for war include "the desire for harming, the cruelty of revenge, the restless and implacable mind, the savageness of revolting, the lust for dominating, and similar things."
As America prepares a preemptive attack against Iraq, it is critically important that the American people once again familiarize themselves with what constitutes a just war. After all, under our form of government, "we the people" must ultimately bear responsibility for those actions.
In contemplating the prospect of war against Iraq, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions. Has Iraq attacked us or taken peace from our land?
To be sure, Iraq is no friend to the United States, but neither are any of the Muslim countries. For that matter, neither is China a friend to the United States. Yet, not only do we not wage war against these countries, we lavish billions of dollars in trade and welfare upon them.
The reason given by our government for attacking Iraq is that they have amassed weapons of mass destruction, but so have a host of other unfriendly nations. Why do we not attack them?
Another question that begs an answer is, "If Iraq does have WMD's, from where did they get them?" According to Michael Dobbs, Iraq obtained their chemical and biological weapons from the United States. He wrote in the Washington Post:
"A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee turned up dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the mid-'80's under license from the Commerce Department, including various strains of anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program. The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare."
Therefore, the question of whether Iraq has WMD's seems moot. Of course they do; we supplied them with those weapons! Again, the greater question is, "Has Iraq attacked America? Have they taken peace from our land? Are we fighting a justified defensive war, or are we the aggressors?"
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, they claimed they had to launch a preemptive strike against the United States for something they perceived America was going to do. Was Japan justified? When Hitler invaded Poland and other European nations, he claimed the same thing. Was he justified?
The one issue that does seem clear is that America has no authority to wage war against any nation without a Declaration of War from Congress. Such a declaration has not been issued. The President has no authority to act unilaterally. We do not have an emperor living in the White House! Therefore, from a constitutional perspective, an undeclared war is illegal.
Certainly, the peace of the United States was assaulted on September 11, 2001. However, the aggressor in that attack was not Saddam Hussein but Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists mostly from Saudi Arabia. Yet, the U.S. continues to coddle the leaders of Saudi Arabia in the most compliant ways possible. Why?
Further assaults against our peace are coming from Mexico as hundreds of thousands of illegal Mexican aliens stream across our Southern border plundering our land and attacking our people. Yet, the response from our government against these attacks is mild, almost nonexistent. Why?
These unanswered questions lead to other questions. What is the real motive for attacking Iraq? Is it to dominate Iraq's oil fields? One thing is certain: gas and oil prices have risen dramatically since Bush and Cheney, both oilmen, have taken office. Is Bush Junior seeking revenge on behalf of Daddy Bush? Is he trying to use a war with Iraq to shift the attention of the American public away from a deteriorating economy? Is this "war against terrorism" being used to convince Americans to surrender their liberties and freedoms to an all-powerful federal government? Certainly, none of these motivations justify war in any shape, manner or form.
In personally contemplating our attack upon Iraq, my hawkish side says, "Go get 'em." As a Christian and lover of truth, however, it seems imperative that we would never allow our country to wage an unjust war to satisfy the commercial or political appetites of politicians, for in doing so we would find ourselves fighting against God.
When America fought its war for independence (a just war), Frances Scott Key wrote the song that became our National Anthem. It includes these words: "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just; And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust!'" Americans should never be satisfied with anything less!
© 2003 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved
Chuck Baldwin is Founder-Pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. In 1985 the church was recognized by President Ronald Reagan for its unusual growth and influence.
Dr. Baldwin is the host of a lively, hard-hitting syndicated radio talk show on the Genesis Communications Network called, "Chuck Baldwin Live" This is a daily, one hour long call-in show in which Dr. Baldwin addresses current event topics from a conservative Christian point of view. Pastor Baldwin writes weekly articles on the internet http://www.ChuckBaldwinLive.com and newspapers.