Re: [Fwd: Theological reflection on Just War]

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 06:13:18 EDT

  • Next message: James W Stark: "Re: Theological reflection on Just War"

    george murphy wrote:

    > This is just name-calling with no substance.

    Obviously I disagree. The US constant appeal to the international community on one hand
    and yet ignoring or flouting it on the other is hypocritical. So is its criticism of
    countries which violate international agreements and yet the US administration seems to
    think it can unilaterally break agreements. This is "might is right" logic, the
    justification of the bully at all scales. Seeing ourselves as other see us is rarely
    flattering, but often humbling and therefore helpful.

    > Of concern now isn't an abstract "people" but Islamic radicals who hate the
    > United States. & while there are certainly things about US foreign policy & military
    > action that can be criticized, the reasons for the hatred of Islamic radicals has
    > much more to do with the Islamic tradition than it does with those failures. In
    > particular:
    > a) The type of static & closed theocracy that those radicals want is
    > impossible in a world in which a free society like the US is the major power.

    Radicals and extremists don't grow in a vacuum. As I said before, the US needs to
    consider why it is so hated. Even if friendly countries there is widespread mistrust of
    motives and suspicion of methods. The US must think why this is so. Only by addressing
    these concerns will the climate of opinion change - and it will take decades.

    > b) The existence of a state of Israel - NB, not any details of Israeli
    > policy but the reality of any such state in what is supposed to be the territory of
    > Islam - is anathema to them. US defence of the right of Israel to exist is then a
    > primary reason for hatred.

    Again, the extreme one-sidedness of the US's support of Israel does not help the

    > The most recent military action of the US that might be characterized as
    > "bully-boy" is the attack on Serbia. The fact that this was in support of a largely
    > Muslim population should give some pause to anyone who claims that such actions
    > provide a reason for Islamic radicals to hate the US.

    Yes they were a great success weren't they? They destroyed only a small amount of
    military equipment, killed almost as many civilians as the Serbs, and the Serbs left
    Kosovo only because of the threat of ground forces, which were spear-headed by the
    Russians and British. The Kosvars (or at least the KLA) then showed their true colours
    doing to the Serbs as had been done to them, and then proceeded to destabilize
    Macedonia. However, I will concede that the whole disgraceful affair does show that the
    west will intervene on behalf of Muslims, as was the attempted intervention in Somalia.

    Don't forget attacks on baby milk factories and pharmaceutical plants, the immoral and
    poorly thought out sanctions on Iraq.

    Do not get me wrong. Past and present US failures do not justify such an atrocity as
    September 11. Justice requires that the perpetrators of such evil acts must be brought
    to account, or eliminated. However this does not give the US a carte blanche.

    Terrorism is an international problem. Many countries have fought terrorism, and the
    lessons are clear. It must be both contained by immediate action and the conditions that
    promote eliminate it. Those countries that have followed this approach - essentially
    seeing it as a social and police issue rather than a simple military one are those that
    have had a measure of success against terrorism. One would have hoped that the US would
    have seen from Russian and Israeli examples that the brute force approach fails.


    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy
    > "The Science-Theology Interface"

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