War: Can it be Justified?

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War: Can it be Justified?
Comments by Steve Shi - 31 Jan 2008

I agree with your analysis-I just thought your response to at least one of the people who wrote you was overbroad. Of course, even in the case where you consider the use of military force to have been unjust (and I would disagree with your assessment of Iraq based on recognized norms of international law—I happen to teach that subject at University of Georgia School of Law), since we as believers are called upon to be obedient to civil authorities (subject of course to matters of faith and conscience when we should be willing to accept the consequences if we feel compelled to disagree through civil protest and the like), our recourse is through the ballot box.

Additionally, notwithstanding our freedom of speech rights, we should be circumspect in expressing our concerns in such matters since we also have an obligation to not undermine the efforts (even if in our view misguided) of our government in times of actual conflict. This is especially true in the case of our combating the scourge of islamo-fascism that uses terrorism as its principal means of warfare. One of terrorism’s fundamental tenets is the manipulation of information and the extent to which we speak intemperately and publicly in expressing our concern and objection to our military efforts (as in many notorious instances where our own elected leaders have provided our enemies with ready-made propaganda that is used against our forces with effects no different than killing them with roadside bombs), is actually to provide aid, comfort and actual support to their strategic and tactical efforts.

Whether we like it or not, we are now engaged in a struggle with forces of darkness (in both worldly and spiritual terms) that will require the use of military force to prevail. Of course, such force should be judiciously used but since we typically do not have full information about such matters due to the inherent need for secrecy to maximize the effectiveness of such force and to protect those who we send in harm’s way, we must be very careful not to be used by groups who play on our fears and biases to assume the worst about our own government (and I am no blind follower of our government, having numerous strong disagreements with many of its policies, regardless of which party is to blame) to the point that the Biblical admonition to obey (and I would argue, respect) our civil government is violated. Indeed, our enemy is not stupid and has rightly recognized that the way to “defeat” the forces of good is to erode the will of the people to stand against evil. Of course, given our tradition of open discourse and fee speech, our enemies are afforded a substantial advantage that in turn makes the reciprocal responsibility we each have to use our freedoms responsibly so much more critical.

Go on to: Comments by Frank and Mary Hoffman - 31 Jan 2008
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