December 13, 2007

Letter to the Paper LIX is hosting a war debate on the moral justness of the Iraq War. The first installment is the pro-war opening prompted me to write the following:

There is a real need for Catholics to agree on the facts of the Iraq war. When did it start, end, what are the stakes, these are all things that are in contention and create unnecessary acrimony. The stakes are often minimized and when it happens, of course the cost looks much more unreasonable.

We are currently running the very dangerous end game of a multi-century decline of the Islamic civilization (this decline predates US independence). Go read Bernard Lewis for the details. There is a real need that there is a way out for the muslims but a pernicious interlocking web of pathologies has prevented a fix for centuries and it's just getting worse.

At the same time we are on the verge of a revolution in military affairs where smaller and smaller groups can create larger and larger amounts of trouble, the ultimate expression being the "superempowered individual" a real life embodiment of every James Bond villian you've ever seen. Osama Bin Laden is just an early model. It goes downhill from him.

We are still at war with N. Korea. We were still at war with Iraq. These sorts of extended cease fires have happened all the time in the history of diplomatic affairs and the Vatican has certainly encountered them before. To deny these diplomatic facts is to ignore an important point of reality. You cannot ignore reality and hope to arrive at a proper moral judgment as to the justness of a war.

The overflights of Iraqi airspace were not police runs. The US military never conceived of them as police actions and its police arms (military police/shore patrol) did not manage them. Our establishment of independent Kurdistan cannot be viewed as a police action. Such an action follows no accepted police model. To call it policing is an abuse of language and has no place in the proper discussion of the justice of war.

It seems now (though history has not yet finalized its say) that Saddam's 2003 nuclear program was a chimera designed to counter a real nuclear weapons program in Iran. To kill someone who tries and succeeds to deceive you into thinking they are armed and an immediate mortal threat to your life is usually not considered immoral. The state equivalent seems to have happened here.

Our best understanding at this point is that this invasion stopped two illegal nuclear weapons programs, Iran's and Libya's. Creating a demonstration effect to improve safety throughout the region was always part of the point of the war. We succeeded at that and those good effects should be put in the balance as to whether or not the war did more good than bad.

I have a feeling I'm going to be writing more in the rest of the debate series.

Posted by TMLutas at December 13, 2007 04:05 PM