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Front Page » March 1, 2005 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: an understanding of war
Published 3,472 days ago

Letter to the Editor: an understanding of war


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By JAMES FRANKLIN RINEHART
Price

Editor:

Being more attuned to our Constitution and having a different understanding of morality would go a long way toward preventing unnecessary and dangerous wars. I'd like to make a few points about this different understanding.

First, the United States should never go to war without an express Declaration by Congress. If we had followed this crucial but long forgotten rule, the lives lost in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq might have been prevented. And instead of making us less secure, this process would make us more secure. Absent our foreign occupations and support for certain governments in the Middle East and central Asia during the past 50 years, the 9-11 attack would have been far less likely to happen.

Second, a defensive war is morally permissible and justified, even required. Just as a criminal who invades our house and threatens our family deserves to be shot on the spot, so too does a nation have the moral duty to defend against invasion or an imminent threat. For centuries the Christian definition of a just war has guided many nations in making this decision.

Third, the best test (a test the chicken hawks who promoted the war refused to take) for those who are so eager to send our troops to die in no-win wars is this:

Am I willing to go; am I willing to be shot; am I willing to die for this cause; am I willing to sacrifice my children and grandchildren for this effort? The bottom line: is the Iraq war worth the loss of more than 1,200 dead Americans and thousands of severe casualties, with no end in sight, likely lasting for years and motivating even more suicidal attacks on innocent Americans here at home?

Fourth, can we, as a moral people, continue to ignore the loss of innocent life on the other side? Can we as a nation accept the callousness of the war proponents regarding the estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths? Can we believe these deaths are a mere consequence of our worthy effort to impose our will on an alien culture? Is it really our duty to sacrifice so much to pursue a questionable policy of dictating to others what we think is best for them? Can these deaths be dismissed as nothing more than collateral damage, and even applauded as proof of the professed progress we are making in our effort to democratize the Middle East? By ignoring the human costs of the conflict we invite problems, and the consequence of our actions will come back to haunt us.

Fifth, arguing that the war in Iraq is necessary for our national security is pure fiction; that it has something to do with the 9-11 attack or WNDs is nonsense. Our meddling in the Middle East and the rest of the world actually increases the odds of us being attacked again by suicidal guerrillas here at home. Tragically, this is something the new-cons will never admit.

Sixth, what kind of satisfaction can we achieve from the civil war we have instigated? A significant portion of the killing in Iraq now occurs amongst Iraqis themselves, at our urging. The country is in chaos, despite the assurances of our leaders. Even under the thug, Saddam Hussein, Christians at least were protected by the government�whereas today their churches are bombed and many are struggling to escape the violence by fleeing to Syria. There is no evidence that our efforts in the Middle East have promoted life and peace. Tragically, no one expects the death and destruction in Iraq to end anytime soon.

To not be repulsed and outraged over our failed policy undermines our commitment to pro-life and moral values. Of course it's hard for many Americans to be outraged since so few know or even care about cities like Fallujah. The propaganda machine has achieved its goal of ignorance and denial for most of our citizens.

Main Street America will rise up in indignation only after conditions in the Persian Gulf deteriorate further, many more American lives are lost, and the cost becomes obvious and prohibitive. It's sad, but only then will we consider changing our policy. The losses likely to occur between now and then will be tragic indeed.


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March 1, 2005
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