Is War With Iraq A Just War?
By Chuck Baldwin
February 11, 2003
As I predicted when George W. Bush was elected President of the
United States, America is going to war against Iraq. That we are
going to war with Iraq is not the question. The question is, "Is war
with Iraq a just war?"
For the better part of 2000 years, Western Civilization has
generally agreed that Saint Augustine's definition of a just war
forms the clearest and most laudable benchmark for waging war.
Notable personalities of history such as St. Thomas Aquinas and
Daniel Webster have likewise assessed the just war theory in terms
favorable to those of Augustine's.
In a nutshell, Augustine said that for a war to be just "it must be
fought for the right reasons, and it must be waged under rightful
authority." He also said that "war is waged in order to attain
According to Augustine, immoral reasons for war include "the
desire for harming, the cruelty of revenge, the restless and
implacable mind, the savageness of revolting, the lust for
dominating, and similar things."
As America prepares a preemptive attack against Iraq, it is
critically important that the American people once again
familiarize themselves with what constitutes a just war. After all,
under our form of government, "we the people" must ultimately
bear responsibility for those actions.
In contemplating the prospect of war against Iraq, we need to ask
ourselves some hard questions. Has Iraq attacked us or taken peace
from our land?
To be sure, Iraq is no friend to the United States, but neither are
any of the Muslim countries. For that matter, neither is China a
friend to the United States. Yet, not only do we not wage war
against these countries, we lavish billions of dollars in trade and
welfare upon them.
The reason given by our government for attacking Iraq is that they
have amassed weapons of mass destruction, but so have a host of
other unfriendly nations. Why do we not attack them?
Another question that begs an answer is, "If Iraq does have
WMD's, from where did they get them?" According to Michael
Dobbs, Iraq obtained their chemical and biological weapons from
the United States. He wrote in the Washington Post:
"A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee turned up
dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the mid-'80's
under license from the Commerce Department, including various
strains of anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key
component of the Iraqi biological warfare program. The
Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to
Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for
Therefore, the question of whether Iraq has WMD's seems moot.
Of course they do; we supplied them with those weapons! Again,
the greater question is, "Has Iraq attacked America? Have they
taken peace from our land? Are we fighting a justified defensive
war, or are we the aggressors?"
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, they claimed they had to
launch a preemptive strike against the United States for something
they perceived America was going to do. Was Japan justified?
When Hitler invaded Poland and other European nations, he
claimed the same thing. Was he justified?
The one issue that does seem clear is that America has no authority
to wage war against any nation without a Declaration of War from
Congress. Such a declaration has not been issued. The President
has no authority to act unilaterally. We do not have an emperor
living in the White House! Therefore, from a constitutional
perspective, an undeclared war is illegal.
Certainly, the peace of the United States was assaulted on
September 11, 2001. However, the aggressor in that attack was not
Saddam Hussein but Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists mostly
from Saudi Arabia. Yet, the U.S. continues to coddle the leaders of
Saudi Arabia in the most compliant ways possible. Why?
Further assaults against our peace are coming from Mexico as
hundreds of thousands of illegal Mexican aliens stream across our
Southern border plundering our land and attacking our people. Yet,
the response from our government against these attacks is mild,
almost nonexistent. Why?
These unanswered questions lead to other questions. What is the
real motive for attacking Iraq? Is it to dominate Iraq's oil fields?
One thing is certain: gas and oil prices have risen dramatically
since Bush and Cheney, both oilmen, have taken office. Is Bush
Junior seeking revenge on behalf of Daddy Bush? Is he trying to
use a war with Iraq to shift the attention of the American public
away from a deteriorating economy? Is this "war against
terrorism" being used to convince Americans to surrender their
liberties and freedoms to an all-powerful federal government?
Certainly, none of these motivations justify war in any shape,
manner or form.
In personally contemplating our attack upon Iraq, my hawkish side
says, "Go get 'em." As a Christian and lover of truth, however, it
seems imperative that we would never allow our country to wage
an unjust war to satisfy the commercial or political appetites of
politicians, for in doing so we would find ourselves fighting
When America fought its war for independence (a just war),
Frances Scott Key wrote the song that became our National
Anthem. It includes these words: "Then conquer we must, when
our cause it is just; And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust!'"
Americans should never be satisfied with anything less!
© Chuck Baldwin
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