I like to think that whenever I explain a topic I always try to rationalize the meaning to the best of my ability. Rationalization is a tool I use to help myself and others understand the meaning of something without having to believe it off of the basis of faith. However, that doesn’t work in every case, considering faith is one of the virtues that is the back bone of Christianity. The reason why I bring up rationalization in this particular instance is because, I like to explain things without having to go to the Bible for help.
I do not know if you have noticed in my other blog posts but I would like to explain to you the method I use to write. Yeah, okay in school we learn how to use particular formats when we write papers, but when I blog I just speak what I am thinking. I shall dub this idea free writing, it is exactly like free thinking except you write your thoughts down. In this particular instance, and in the instances of my other writings I am not talking about random facts but instead a centralized idea. I like to explain the reasons that brought me to the topic I picked. That is why we find out at the end of the second paragraph what the central idea is…..these five dots represent a drum beat, because that is right folks I have finally decided to tell you the idea…..the just war theory.
The just war theory or what the Church refers to as the just war doctrine originated in its original form by St. Augustine (AD 354-430.) Of course in order for Augustine to properly form his theory he used many passages from both the Old and New Testaments to conceive this idea. Although this blog is about his theory, I want to look at it from a different perspective. I want to look at it from the perspective of common sense. Part of what brings about my common sense, is the concept of natural law. Besides natural law explaining our moral codes, it also explains how we think.
When we were younger whether our parents were devout Catholics, or raving atheists they formed us to believe in a code of ethics and moral responsibility. Do not steal, not because the Church teaches us this but because deep down inside we know it to be wrong. It is interesting how God works, instilling in everyone a core belief system which in hopes will turn into something such as faith. Everything I have written thus far no matter how abstract it might seem is said for a reason. Before telling you the three conditions of the just war doctrine I had to set you up for success and explain to you the reasons why I believe in what I write about.
Lasting, grave, and certain damage are the three very important prerequisites that are needed in order for a war to be considered just. First I will briefly explain the three conditions, than I will explain why I believe them even before reading the biblical proof of the theory.
The following three definitions were copied from (http://www.catholic.com/library/Just_War_Doctrine_1.asp)
“The first condition indicates that there must be an aggressor who is harming the nation or the community of nations. One cannot go to war simply to expand one’s sphere of influence, conquer new territory, subjugate peoples, or obtain wealth. One only can go to war to counter aggression.”
“The second condition establishes war as a last resort. If there are other practical and effective means of stopping the aggressor, they must be used.”
“The third condition is that the war must have serious prospects of success.”
In order for the just war theory to be followed to the letter, all three of these conditions must be present, and non can be used exclusively. In order to reference a current topic that falls under the categories of the just war doctrine, we should take a look at the War on Terrorism. This is not a name I believe fits but I say it because it is what people recognize.
First off I would like to say that I do not believe that it can be considered a war. Although I do not consider it to be a war it is a conflict in which two or more parties are involved, so because that is the case we can still use these conditions to tell if it is morally acceptable. The first two are too easy. The Taliban harmed us on September 11th, and harmed the people in the country of Afghanistan by creating a regime that was corrupt to the core. Therefore, the United States and her Allies are in this conflict to counter the aggression brought on by the Taliban and its associates. The conflict that is Operation Enduring Freedom was a last resort for the mere reason that you cannot negotiate with terrorists.
That brings us to the third and final point which is that the war must have serious prospects of success. This is where I have to disagree that the conflict is a war. The enemy is not a nation-state it is a group of warped unholy people with a perverse view of Islam. I believe that Operation Enduring Freedom is a long peace keeping mission. I know that this belief is a bit of a stretch to most of you, but I must persist. In the world war’s there were common enemies that were easily marked by uniforms, state lines, governments, etc. In regards to the Taliban they are not centralized in a particular country, they are a fanatic religious organization who wants nothing less than total annihilation of any and everyone who does not believe what they do. The United States purpose in Afghanistan is to legitimize the current Afghan government and keep peace in the country by wiping the Taliban off the map.
“Phew!” This brings me to a quick and concise conclusion. The simple fact is that this topic can be debated for hours and can go into much more detail. I wanted to give you the gist of it. I am convinced that the just war theory can be understood without delving into the biblical recesses of its meaning. With a simple belief in the idea of natural law one can understand the meaning behind the just war doctrine. Due to the fact that all men sin, war is inevitable, so in order to come to terms with a peaceful resolution one must believe that it is possible to have a morally acceptable conflict.
I do not have a particular length that I like to keep my blogs but in order to keep the reader interested I cannot possibly explore all angles of the topic without writing a book. Therefore I brought up the most important points that I wanted to relay to you all, and with that I say adieu.
Belief comes in many forms, but when we can rationalize something it can be much easier to understand.