God knows I’m not a Christian (God knows this better than most – or he would were he not dead) But, at the eleventh hour before this latest war, I am forced to admit that there is a lot of merit in St. Augustine’s definition of a just war.
His formulation lays out seven principles under which war might be justified:
A – to resist aggression or to defend its victims
B – it should be waged to secure just goals
C – it should be a last resort
D – it should be waged by a legitimate legal authority
E – it should be limited in scope
F – its human cost should be proportionate to the good it is intended to achieve
G – it should exclude civilians and noncombatants
And, needless to say, you cannot ‘just’ pick one or two of these, they all have to be met.
While I don’t agree with Saint Augustine on many topics, I find a lot of sense in these precepts. It is ceratainly interesting to see how the war for oil measures up:
A – nope – Saddam is not a threat to anyone but Iraqi’s, they are not being involved in any of the planning for this action.
B – debatable – the overthrow of Saddam would be welcome but intervening to bring about regime change is against the principles of the United Nations
C – nope – Saddam’s supposed aggression has been contained for a decade albeit at a huge cost to Iraqi people. The French & German proposals for a more forceful inspection process have not been considered
D – so far this has been the case – although I would like to know by what authority Britain and US have been bombarding ‘targets’ in the no-fly zones for the last eleven years.
E1 – that depends on what exactly the ‘scope’ of the war is. To me it seems very unclear. Is it to remove Saddam? (which would be illegal under UN flag) does it stop when some other moustache graces Baghdad? Will Iraqi’s be forced into elections at gunpoint? Does it stop when every ‘rusty bullet’ is accounted for? Why cannot Iraq have a conventional army?
E2 -Given the rumoured Pentagon plans of raining cruise missles on (civillian) electricity plants, water plants, bridges & hospitals in major cities to ‘totally demoralise the army’ it seems unlikely to be limited.
F,G – see E2 – And I would ask if the sanctions are just by these measures?