J is for JUST WAR

I read an article yesterday that prompted me to blog about it…and how coincidental  and appropriate that the  subject is   — the LETTER J in the A-Z Challenge !
But don’t worry, I’ll try to wrap it up in a little poem, and leave the details to the original sources via links to the sites.   Please NOTE: These references are suggested reading only–there won’t be a quiz.

is an old concept
an archaic idea
which would justify
ignoring good or evil
in decisions made
in considering bomb use.

Killing innocents
is allowed if their rulers
are evil people–
as determined by “The Good.”
Hope they can stay safe…
Sad if they die in cross-fire.

The way of peace and
talks of negotiation,
sharing the bounty
in brotherhood, and kindness
is often too slow…
eats into profit margin

Every so often
a new conference is called
to discuss possible
methods to curb the killing.
A Utopian answer
may be found this time around.

Put the Good People
in charge…bad ones in prison.
Just War is inherently
UN-JUST — as they decided
following The Cross.
A lesson ignored again?

© Sometimes, 2016

JUST A couple of paragraphs of editorial comment here, as I don’t want to impose upon the author’s excellent article.  In this article the author does not capitalize the words “just war” as I would have because the term is a term describing a concept (or theory) of JUST WAR, which is discussed often and in great length in the field of Latin American History, which is my thing.  Basic to the concept is the underlying facts of the “colonization” of the New World, in which serious soldiers with guns and swords…and huge dogs…brought the Goodness of Civilization to the native peoples. The atrocities of the conquistadores are well documented, although not widely included in basic education about the Conquest of the Americas.

In a nutshell–the conversion was based largely on the premise of “if we can’t protect them from the Devil we’ll just kill them….”  which is basically the concept of Just War.

The reason I am fascinated by the Just War concept, and the current interest of the subject, is my own deep interest in the concept of Liberation Theology…which, despite the implied images of priests-with-machine-guns in the Central and South American revolutions of the 1980s-2000 … actually promoted a movement quite different.  I spent more than a decade researching and investigating Liberation Theology, and I am happy to have a platform for presenting my interrupted doctoral dissertation –unfinished because I ran out of time.

Thanks for reading along…




Modern wars

“For centuries, the Catholic church made the just war theory its standard teaching on war. In recent decades, however, church leadership has realized that the just war theory is truncated and minimalist. It does not go far enough. Its focus is war, not peace. Even what it sets out to do — discriminate justified from unjustified wars — has been rendered null and void by the massive, indiscriminate violence of modern wars.

Key criteria of the theory, namely, proportionality and protection of noncombatants, are never met by modern wars. Civilian deaths in World War I were 10 percent of the deaths. In modern wars, such as the internal conflict in Syria or the U.S. invasion of Iraq, civilian deaths now range from 80 percent to 90 percent of all war casualties. By the very criteria of the just war theory, in our era there is no such thing as a justified war.”

“The Catholic church’s ongoing move away from the just war theory as “settled teaching” to a more expansive call to proactive peacemaking has been made clear in a global conference scheduled for April 11-13 in Rome.

“Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International, the conference, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence,” is gathering educators and activists from all over the world, particularly from the global South. The precise purpose of the conference is to more fully develop a vision of nonviolence and just peace for the Catholic church.

“Five reasons underlie this pivot to a positive vision of peace and a point of view that goes well beyond the just war theory:   Modern wars have made the just war theory obsolete;  The rise of a Christology “from below”; A clearer understanding of how the New Testament relates to contemporary problems;  A renewed appreciation of the way the early church practiced Jesus’ teachings on peace;The compelling, thrilling saga of nonviolent action over the 60 years since Gandhi.”

“[Terrence J. Rynne teaches peace studies at Marquette University. He and his wife, Sally, are founders of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking. He is the author of Gandhi and Jesus: The Saving Power of Nonviolence and Jesus Christ, Peacemaker: A New Theology of Peace.]
This story appeared in the April 8-21, 2016 print issue under the headline: A vision of peace .”

The excerpts are directly from the National Catholic Register online site. http://ncronline.org/news/global/why-catholic-church-moving-away-just-war-theory

[EXCERPT]    A Christology from below opens for Christian disciples the full meaning of peacemaking and our call to be peacemakers. It is a positive vision of peace, not just the absence of war. It is a call to do as Jesus did — work to relieve peoples’ suffering, change the economic and political structures that bring so much pain, and remove underlying causes of violence and war. And, most importantly, introduce the power of nonviolent action to the world.

Church leadership has benefited from this Christology that focuses squarely on the arc of Jesus’ life and his historical struggles. It prompts them to turn to the New Testament when they are thinking about issues of war and peace.

The just war theory, on the other hand, ignores the New Testament. It is an ethical discipline that came to us from the “pagan” Cicero by way of St. Augustine. It approaches the problem of war and violence using natural law thinking and does not measure up to the call to positive peacemaking that we find in the New Testament.”

[Here are two further references, the  second is similar to the one I have excerpted above; and the Oregon State site involves a Philosophy post on St. Augustine, who wrote extensively about the concept of Just War.]


15 thoughts on “J is for JUST WAR

  1. A tricky concept…indeed! One needs to remember that both, pro- and an-tagonist can claim to be waging a ‘Just War’. Convenient little ruse…. 😉 Hugs!


      1. yes, but there is always another point of view…even if its wrong. hey, I’m on the left side and you are on the right side–if you count the ocean between. You will no doubt see that concept quite differently… haha

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      1. thought he was doing a good thing saving the natives from the devil…who am I to say any different? The Inquisition actually prosecuted more priests and other holy guys than anything else I read some place…variou infractions lol

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      2. fortunately it is thanks to him that his recreation of those texts and interviews provided a lot of the extant information. I should read the book again, it’s been awhile. DeLanda is sort of obscure I think, or maybe just in English materials. I read spanish, but slowly and with a couple dictionaries at my elbow. 🙂

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