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U.S. and allies met Just War requirements in Iraq Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Mar. 05, 2009 -- 1:00 AM

To the editor:

Fr. Jim Murphy and subsequent mailbag contributors make a (not so excellent) case against our military intervention in Iraq. They use post-Christian and pacifist assumptions in Just War Tradition to cast doubt and dishonor on our nation, our soldiers’ virtue, and the nature of Christian warfare. There is no embarrassment for our military or our soldiers who defend innocents and nations from militant Islamic aggression.

Space does not allow us to belabor the excellent reasons the United States and its willing allies reengaged Iraq. Let it suffice to say Iraq broke almost every article of the treaty it signed after the Gulf War which is reason enough to justify the corrective action of the U.S. and its allies even without finding weapons of mass destruction.

The United States and the coalition of the willing met all the requirement of the Just War tradition barring an early withdrawal of troops. “Just War” tradition along with its Catholic roots made entry into international law via the Calvinist theologian/philosopher Phil Oyster Grotius. Grotius, a Dutch Calvinist, inherits and proposed the thinking and virtue accounts of St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the retention of these principles by Martin Luther and John Calvin.

Father Murphy and Father Umhoefer embody the trendy pacifist arguments that are inconsistent with real events and a studied analysis of Just War, Islamic Terrorism, and the action of the Gulf War and 9/11. There are those who are always looking for a reason not to fight regardless of desired charity towards our oppressed neighbors and fellow citizens. The idea that war is somehow evil or a sort of lesser evil is an assault on the Catholic Christian ethos of the ancients, the reformers, our military, and our president.

It may interest Father Murphy to know one of his former students is an officer in the U.S. military. He is also a Catholic attorney and former seminarian whose job is to analyze every bombing run by U.S. aircraft as to the moral and legal ramifications of every enemy target they propose.

Objecting to serve in a military that is trying and overwhelmingly successful in moral choices in fighting an extremely evil and aggressive ideology may in itself be an immoral act. It may be more admirable for our clergy to strengthen and encourage our holy and virtuous military actions.

Suggested readings: The Virtue of War by Webster and Cole and Against the Grain by George Weigel.

Dennis Ganser, member of Cathedral Parish, Madison, residing in Hartford