Re: Theological reflection on Just War

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 17:48:35 EDT

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    Thanks for this most interesting piece which eloquently defends just war against
    terrorism. I certainly agree that war can be waged justly, with the Gulf and
    Falklands wars as two relatively recent examples. Given current events, I feel
    that some discussion is necessary, although I do so with some trepidation, given
    the depth of feeling in the US towards the outrages of September 11 and the
    current anthrax insanity.

    Action against terrorists and terrorists organisations is certainly just.
    Whether bombing third countries who harbour or even give official shelter and
    support to such terrorism falls under the cloak of waging war justly is another
    matter. Groups that many would consider terrorist have sheltered and found
    support in the US, sometimes with official sanction. Does this give the
    countries who have suffered from the depredations of these organisations
    (Britain, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russia, Cambodia, to name some) the right to take
    military action against the US? The present US military based approach against
    terrorism seems very similar to that taken by Israel against the terrorism it has
    suffered in the last 20 years. It has seen the once famous Israeli military
    machine humiliated and tainted by atrocities and not solved the problem. Israel
    is a more dangerous place to live than it was 20 years ago.

    If there is any lesson that can be drawn from the past 50 years of terrorism and
    guerilla warfare is that containing with terrorism is a matter for police and
    intelligence forces, backed up by judicious use of the military, when required.
    Dealing with terrorism requires dealing with the underlying causes for it. The
    US should ask itself why is it hated to such an extent that people are prepared
    to sacrifice themselves to kill thousands of its citizens. The reasons have
    nothing to do with Brush's delusional nonsense about the US being hated for its
    freedoms, wealth and power. There are other free, wealthy, and powerful
    countries out there who do not suffer terrorist outrages to anything like the
    same degree. They have to do with a hypocritical and self-serving foreign policy
    and bully-boy military actions.


    Jon wrote:

    > Besides the ranting of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, I've seen very little
    > in the way of theological comments on the events following Sept. 11.
    > However, Lutheran theologian David Yeago has a nice thoughtful article in Pro
    > Ecclesia, the journal of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Thology
    > (CCET). It's entitled "Just War: Reflections from the Lutheran Tradition in
    > a Time of Crisis:, 2001, v.10, no. 4, and is currently online at
    > Although written from a Lutheran perspective, it should be of interest to a
    > broader theological audience as well.
    > And while you're visiting the CCET website, take note of the upcoming
    > conference. A while ago on this list (last summer?), there was discussion
    > regarding Mary. CCET is sponsoring a theological conference "Mary, Mother of
    > God -- On the unique relationship of Mary to Christ and the Church and her
    > place in the tradition of Christian worship, music, and the arts", to be held
    > June 9-11, 2002, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Previous
    > conferences by CCET have resulted in multi-authored books published by
    > Eerdmans, so I presume this one will also.
    > Karl
    > *******************************
    > Karl V. Evans

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