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'Just War' for dummies

Without let, the United States continues to bully its way to war, bribing one opponent (Turkey) with American taxpayers’ funds and thus attempting to suppress and subvert a democratic vote passed in a democratic congress; threatening another (Russia) with the loss of oil ‘rights’ in a conquered Iraq; and generally dictating the terms of debate, including attempts to frame any opposition in the Security Council to an invasion of a prostrate Iraq as a moral failure.

Amidst this chilling swagger, one thing has become clear: The Russians get it. The Germans get it. The French get it, and many British and European people get it. Even Hollywood, in its invincible ignorance, has been able to grasp why the war Washington and London want to wage is unjust.

What does this say about most of the nation’s pundits, who’ve not stopped licking their chops for war? What does it say about those who support conquering and occupying a sovereign member of the international community?

They’ve lost their moral and intellectual moorings. They’re even dumber, and certainly far more politically corrupted and co-opted, than the likes of the bug-eyed bovine Susan Sarandon.

Iraq has not attacked in 12 years and is not poised to attack the U.S. or its neighbors. To attack Iraq is to launch a purely offensive, non-defensive war. This flouts the Christian duty to do no harm to one’s neighbors. It flouts the Jewish teachings, which instruct Jews to robustly and actively seek justice. It flouts “Just War Theory,” developed by great Christian minds like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. It flouts the libertarian axiom, which prohibits aggression against non-aggressors.

And it flouts what the Founding Fathers provided.

A limited, constitutional republican government, by definition, doesn’t, cannot, and must never pursue what Bush is after, and what paleoconservative Gladden J. Pappin calls “a sort of 21st-century Manifest Destiny.” The fact that it does, can, and is intent on spreading global democracy by death and destruction indicates how limitless, unconstitutional and dictatorial American government is.

I’m no pacifist. I supported going after al-Qaida in Afghanistan. That was a legitimate act of retaliation and defense, accommodated within St. Augustine’s teachings, whereby a just war is one “that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects.”

Al-Qaida was responsible for the murder of 3,000 Americans. The Taliban openly gave succor to al-Qaida and its masterminding leadership. Mr. Bush had asked the hosting Taliban to surrender bin Laden and his gang. The Taliban refused, insisting on defending their murderous guests.

The impending attack on Iraq also flunks the criterion for a preemptive war, facilitated in St. Augustine’s idea of the “just cause,” whereby it’s permissible to attack someone who would otherwise shortly and imminently attack you.

The Israeli Six-Day War is a good example of a preventive war for survival. (Although, to be accurate, Jordan initiated the first strike.) Before Israel proceeded to deal them a debilitating blow, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon had divided their labor in stepping up raids into Israel’s territory, shelling her farms and villages, amassing troops on her borders, signing a pact, kicking U.N. monitors out of the Sinai and blockading Israel’s main shipping route to Asia.

Notwithstanding Colin Powell’s multimedia presentation of circumstantial and speculative bunkum, there is no evidence that Iraq is positioned to pounce as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt were – nor that Iraq, right now, poses a “real and imminent” danger to the U.S. or her neighbors. The Bush administration continues, however, to mount a blitz of Goebbels-worthy misinformation in order to discredit the thorough job the inspectors are doing.

Other than mobile food-testing laboratories, Hans Blix’s cautious report details no evidence of “mobile production units” for weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s improving, but still less than optimal, cooperation is never a legitimate cause for war.

In the 2,000 kilometers he crisscrossed in three weeks of searching for nuclear-development activities, in the 75 facilities examined, in 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites, including 21 newly discovered sites, Blix’s colleague, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, met with an “overall deterioration” and disrepair in Iraqi infrastructure. No trace of firing up production, North Korea or Iran-style.

The account makes polite mention of an investigation into reports (spread by the U.S.) regarding Iraq’s uranium transactions. They were “not authentic,” which is a refined way of informing reasonable minds what the American power-worshipping chattering classes (and networks) criminally conceal: They were forgeries, folks!

As a counterweight to “Just War Theory,” which places excess faith in the motives of public authorities, Americans have the Founding Fathers. In his National Press Conference, however, Bush showed he hasn’t a clue what is constitutional and what’s not.

After claiming his job is to protect America, and that this was the essence of his crusade, Bush immediately contradicted himself: “There’s a lot more at stake than just American security … freedom is at stake,” he said, going on to indicate his plan to “deal with” totalitarianism wherever it presents itself.

James Madison predicted this craven and wicked propensity: “The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it,” he wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1798.

Duly, the founders vested war powers not with the executive but with Congress! The framers entrusted the declaration of war to the legislature so as to avoid what we currently see playing out.

What the founders could not have foretold, given their own scruples, is the cowardly abnegation by this legislature. This Congress, like many before it, simply surrendered authority, sans debate, to the president, thus forsaking the people.