I am an American, a Republican, and big supporter of President George W. Bush. A friend from Ireland wrote me and told me of US military planes fueling at Shannon airport in Ireland and flying over Ireland. To me that must be an ominous sight! Having grown up with Vietnam and lost a neighbor at the time and just growing up in that culture of the era, I thought I was able to move beyond the scars of Vietnam after Sep 11 2001. Now that North Korea has stepped into the nuclear arena, to me this changes everything. All that is going on in our world tears me into many pieces and leads me to great confusion. At this point I cannot support the imminent attack on Iraq and view North Korea as a larger threat! Four members of my extended family are enlisted in the US military included in the four members is my young nephew, countless friends are in the reserves and many are already gone to the mid-east I am proud of these men and women, I don’t know if I could do what they gladly chose to do and they are so young. I feel by committing to Iraq, if a conflict arises in North Korea we have spread our military too thin? It is as almost all nations have weapons of “mass destruction” As a generation of “Baby Boomers” how did we let this all happen? We who were to rise above all? Oil embargo of the 70’s now we drive unnecessary huge tank SUV’s , why? Have we become complacent? I feel as if I am lost in an ocean being swept away by the current helpless. What can any of us do?
I am Catholic and in my struggle to figure this all out I looked up” Just War “ this is what I found;
IN THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war. [Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 81, 4] All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.
However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed." [Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 79, 4]
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.
Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.[Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 79, 5]
2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way.[Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 79, 3] 2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. "The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties." [Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 79, 4]
2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.
2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." [Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 80, 3]A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons - especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes.
2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; [Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio 53] it thwarts the development of peoples. Over- armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.
2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.
2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:
Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." [Cf. Vatican II, Guadium et spes 78, 6; cf. Is. 2:4]
The question is still there is war with Iraq just?
I refer to lyrics from songs of the Vietnam era that ring true today.
War -- Edwin Starr
Oh no-there's got to be a better way
Say it again
There's got to be a better way-yeah
What is it good for?
*War has caused unrest
Among the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die?
What is it good for?
Say it again
What is it good for?
'Cos it means destruction
Of innocent lives
War means tears
To thousands of mothers how
When their sons go off to fight
And lose their lives
It's an enemy of all mankind
No point of war
'Cos you're a man
Give it to me one time-now
Give it to me one time-now
War has shattered
Many young men's dreams
We've got no place for it today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord, there's just got to be a better way
It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
Friend only to the undertaker
War-Good God, now
Give it to me one time now
What is it good for”?
Golden ribbons – Jim Messina (Loggins and Messina- “On Stage”)
“ Listen to the people crying hoping for the day they will be free.
I don’t have to tell you we are dieing, just wake up, and take a look, and what do
You see? I see young men my own age in coffins, and mothers in tears for their sons,
And sweethearts and wives alone with their memories, and golden ribbon’s those fortunes of war.
And thousands and thousands will gather together seeking to find the man we all need and the son will
Bring us together. Hallelujah rid ourselves of the pain we all see.
We see young men our own age in coffins, mothers in tears for their sons.
Sweetheart’s and wives alone with their memories, and golden ribbon’s those fortunes of war.
What does it to avail a man to gain fortune and lose his son?
Find The Cost Of Freedom
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground, Mother Earth will swallow you, Lay your body down.
I truly am at such odds with all this in our world. I desire unity, respect, and love of one another from one side of the pond to the other. I feel we must all stick together. I feel as if we are walking in an almost zombie state, tiptoeing around our lives and to get on with life but yet bombarded by the press with constant threats! Are we tiptoeing hoping all will go away, are we hiding our heads in the sand? Our parents and great grand parents have already been in this place, this is our responsibility now, but what can we do? Maybe just hold onto one another, love each other, and be kind to one another and cherish one another. Jesus said I will come like a thief in the night so always be ready, maybe that is it, live each day with a tender and beautiful heart.