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Friday, December 16, 2005

A Question for Pacifists

For all of the antiwar people who claim it is based on sincerely held pacifism I have an important question.

Is there any war in US history that you support, consider just, or are simply gald of?

Please respond vigorously as this is an important question.

33 Comments:

  • I support all the wars the United States has faught in except the Vietnam war and the Iraq war.

    The reason, were not willing to go all the way and win by overwelming victory.

    By Blogger Ranando, at 12:07 PM  

  • First off, I'm not sure how helpful it is for me to guess what I believe other people in other times should have done, but in general, I oppose all the wars we've been involved in to varying degrees.

    I don't believe war is a satisfying or especially helpful solution to problems. I believe it tends to exacerbate problems rather than eradicate them.

    Having said that, I acknowledge that the pacifist position is a minority position and probably shouldn't make policy based upon that. This is why I'll often debate war on Just War Theory terms rather than pacific ones.

    So, while I could not see myself participating in any wars and would advocate for other solutions, I would not condemn too strongly those who respond to violence with violence. I'm talking about an assault on A by B in which A responds violently towards B.

    However, the more that A hurts the rest of the alphabet instead of or in addition to B, the more I'll oppose it.

    In the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, I do not fault those soldiers who chased after the Japanese planes in an effort to bring them down.

    But when we start firebombing or eradicate entire cities, then we have ceased protecting the innocent and have become the enemy, and I can not and will not support this.

    Out of time, that's my short and not necessarily thought-out responose.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 1:14 PM  

  • Dan, what can I say, typical pacifism, just the kind of stuff that contributed to WWII starting. However, everyone is against war.

    Personally, I find the Quakers to be the truly anti-war anti-violence people. People like Dan I personally find just anti-establishment and not mature in the politics of the real world, and the real world dangers.

    By Blogger Rick's Corner, at 2:02 PM  

  • The Revolutionary War and World War II. I do think that if the U.S. was the benevolent nation it insisted on being then it would have joined WWII sooner and not out of vengeance against Japan.

    But then again, I'm not a pacifist. A pacifist believes in total non-violent resistance. Think Ghandi. Not even Jesus was a pacifist (the temple, instructing the disciples to arm themselves for defense).

    I am...well I don't know what the Hell I am, but if we're going to make it war it should be noble and necessary.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 7:29 PM  

  • i truly would like somebody to explain to me how the war in Iraq was "illegal", and ALL our fault, when quite a few more countries than just the USA voted for it? and everyone knew that saddam would NEVER stop! does ANYONE think saddam, all terrorists, & al qaida would sit down & peacefully DISCUSS their actions with ANY western country?

    By Blogger Libby, at 11:52 PM  

  • A quick follow up to give a bit more of the picture. I'm a pacifist because I am a follower of Jesus. I try not to trivialize the oft-trivialized quote: What would Jesus do?

    It comes down to this for me: I don't think that Jesus would drop bombs on a city to destroy every man, woman and child there. I don't think Jesus would even open fire on a bunch of "enemy" soldiers. Therefore, I would do neither of these actions.

    That's my starting point.

    From there, I believe that Jesus' teachings were practical ones, not "just spiritual" ones. I honestly do not believe that violence is a responsible answer to problems.

    Would I stop a person from beating a child? Yes, I would and have. Would I open fire on that person to stop them, possibly endangering the child? No.

    Paul, following up on Jesus' teachings, tells us that to love those who hate us, to do good to those who'd harm us and in so doing, we heap coals of fire on their heads. Love IS stronger than hate. Light IS stronger than darkness. There is power in Jesus'/biblical teachings that we are afraid to touch.

    To paraphrase Chesterton, non-violence has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 8:00 AM  

  • As most people consider themselves to be supporters of Just War Theory (even though most don't know what its tenets are), I thought I'd offer up a brief listing of those, to help in the discussion.

    As I said, for myself, I'm not necessarily a JWT supporter, BUT I think it's at least a decent starting point.

    JWT has been defined differently, with 6-8 tenets typically. The description below is a fairly well-accepted synopsis, I believe:

    1. A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.

    2. A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.

    3. A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient--see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.

    4. A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.

    5. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.

    6. The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.

    7. The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 1:14 PM  

  • One brief note. While most if not all the wars since the beginning of the 20th Century have been questionable in regards to JWT for many reasons, the last tenet listed above (Discriminate between combatants and non-combatants) is particularly troubling for modern warfare.

    As Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) said about the Iraq Invasion:

    "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war.'"

    So, are you a Just War Theorist?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 1:18 PM  

  • Hey Dan, on number 5, maybe you should ask some jews about how much they would have preffered the peace if the war had not been fought, since as you claim all wars of the 20th century were questionable

    By Blogger Haximus, at 4:01 PM  

  • "While most if not all the wars since the beginning of the 20th Century have been questionable in regards to JWT for many reasons, the last tenet listed above (Discriminate between combatants and non-combatants) is particularly troubling for modern warfare."

    Perhaps you haven't noticed, but for the first time in history we are fighing a war where great pains are taken to minimize or eliminate clloateral deaths and injuries. Throughout all of istory collateral damage was expected, and even encouraged at times as a way of destroying the morale of the enemy. Try looking up the Army Code of Conduct for the Civil War and you will be amazed at how civilized war has become in comparison.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:34 PM  

  • I don't believe war is a satisfying or especially helpful solution to problems. I believe it tends to exacerbate problems rather than eradicate them.

    Then you are just believing a lie, but hey if that's the way you want to go...

    Just one question. By the end of WWII were there more Nazi's or less Nazi's?

    Excuse me if I sound rude but I think your logic is very flawed.

    By Blogger Cody O'Connor, at 11:58 AM  

  • I suppose I would be a supporter of the JWT.

    Could anyone tell me, however, how war is a be-all, end-all, all-encompassing solution to the world's ills?

    War has terrible repercussions. Part of any war should be dealing with those repercussions, taking into accout what could happen afterwards.

    I don't see that happening with this war, or with many wars in the past.

    I think that's the point Dan was trying to make.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 5:04 PM  

  • That's one point I'm making Brandon. The other is simply that I flat don't think Jesus would wage war as we're talking about it and therefore I won't.

    Abuse my logic and faith all you wish, there it is nonetheless.

    Here's a legitimate question for the war-supporters who are also Jesus followers:

    Do YOU think Jesus would drop bombs, lob grenades, blast enemies to bits?

    There you have my answer.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 5:13 AM  

  • DL said:
    "Perhaps you haven't noticed, but for the first time in history we are fighting a war where great pains are taken to minimize or eliminate clloateral deaths and injuries..."

    And yet there were tens of thousands of civilians killed as a result of our actions. This was the Pope's point exactly, with his quote about questioning whether or not we can possibly have a Just War anymore. And your point was?

    Or are you arguing my case for me?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 7:28 AM  

  • I'll repeat:

    Here's a legitimate question for the war-supporters who are also Jesus followers:

    Do YOU think Jesus would drop bombs, lob grenades, blast enemies to bits?

    There you have my answer.

    =====

    Anyone?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 10:10 AM  

  • Dan, maybe not, but there are many people in the Bible who killed or ordered killings (Jael, Deborah, David, Elijah, to name a few) and were justified in doing so.

    By Blogger Mary Ann, at 3:03 PM  

  • Dan,

    Would Jesus bomb or kill anyone? Well, asuming that the Trinity is one, and so Jesus is the Father who is the Holy Spirit, I would consider the following:

    1: God rained fire on the cities of Soddom and Gammorah, killing every living thing in those cities.

    2: God destroyed the Egyptian army by sweeping them away in the Red Sea.

    3: God ordered a war of genocide against the Caananites.

    4: God had the Hebrew nation scattered and enslaved by Babylon after a costly war in which many Jews were killed.

    5: The Law of Moses, which was given to him by God, ordered the death penalty for various crimes.

    6: Jesus will victoriously lead His army of angels into war with Satan and his Demons.

    So, would Jesus destroy His enemies? He has, and He will.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 7:24 PM  

  • Remember, DL, that whole blasphemy thing.

    Remember that God repeatedly throughout the Old Testament told Israel NOT to rely on their weapons of war, but to rely on God to deliver.

    Remember Jesus' words and tell me again that you think Jesus would shoot a gun towards a crowd of enemy soldiers, that Jesus would drop a bomb on Hiroshima.

    Remember:
    For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
    "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."
    When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.

    Remember, that we are to follow in HIS footsteps.

    Jesus drop a bomb on a city? You are shitting me, right?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 5:44 AM  

  • Dan,

    How is the genocide against the Caananites and the raining of fire (esentially bombing)of Soddom and Gammorah different from your examples? Hiroshima, at least, wasn't completely destroyed, while Soddom and Gamorrah are desolate places to this very day. And we are most certainly not slaughtering every living human in Iraq the way God ordered the Israelites to do to the Cannanites.

    Oh, and what blasphemy are you referring to? Are the events I cited not recorded in the Bible? Are you actually saying that factually citing the Bible itself is blasphemy?

    Oh yeah, and don't forget aboyt that whole bull whp incident in the temple with the money changers. How do you reconcile a 100% percent non-violent Jesus with THAT expression of holy rage?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:31 AM  

  • So would Jesus drop a bomb on a city?

    Yes or no?

    For me, I'm saying that, in the Old Testament in places where God seems to encourage people to bash children's heads against rocks, in THOSE kinds of circumstances, I'm saying, "This is not my God."

    There IS a tension between the OT God and Jesus. Whether you want to reconcile the Old Testament around Jesus' words or Jesus' words around the Old Testament, is up to you. I'll interpret the OT through Jesus' teachings and not vice versa.

    I'll choose Jesus whom we are instructed specifically to follow and let someone worry about those places where God seems to be all about killing babies.

    Now, if you want to take the Bible literally and believe that God sometimes kills children, then to that I would say, fine. You can believe that God goes around killing whole cities sometimes. BUT WE (Christians) are instructed specifically to follow' Jesus example.

    God did sometimes wage war in the OT and sometimes told the Israelis to kill, but he also told them to get rid of their chariots, big armies and weapons of war and rely upon God to deliver.

    So IF you want to be a biblical literalist and believe that God might sometimes call us to wage war, fine. But do it in a bibliically literal style.

    Get rid of your big weapons, Get rid of your standing army. Wait for God to call a leader and wait for that leader to call an army with swords and pistols and go wage a biblically literal war.

    Any takers amongst you big brave boys?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 8:41 AM  

  • DL said:
    "Oh yeah, and don't forget aboyt that whole bull whp incident in the temple..."

    Yeah, Jesus got really outraged at the rich taking advantage of the poor and he literally drove them out of the temple.

    Yet he managed to do so without taking one life, without wiping out one city.

    I have said that I'm okay with physical resistence. I've physically restrained an out-of-control person before, I've stepped between violent folk and their target before.

    But I killed no one in so doing and certainly injured no innocent bystanders in so doing.

    But, would Jesus drop a bomb on a city?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 8:44 AM  

  • On blasphemy, I accept this definition:
    From a religious point of view, it generally means the utmost disrespect or defiance toward God.

    I'm also partial to the notion of claiming that God is something God is not.

    To say that Jesus would bomb a city strikes me as blasphemous. But, of course, that's not my decision to make. Just a friendly warning.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 8:48 AM  

  • Dan,

    So you're saying that God raining fire and Brimstone down on Soddom and Gomorrah is not the same as bombing a city?

    What about all of those plagues He sent down on Egypt?

    As far the God of the Old Testament not YOUR God . . . That strikes me as being closer to blasphemy than saying that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and the same, and as such, equally responsible for what God did in the Old Testament. But I suppose that is where we differ as far as Christianity goes.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 2:10 PM  

  • Would Jesus or would Jesus not drop a bomb on Hiroshima?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 4:45 AM  

  • Did Jesus (God) or did Jesus not bomb Soddom and Gamorrah?

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

    "When you have seen Me you have seen the Father."

    I say Jesus (God) bombed Soddom and Gamorrah by raining fire and brimstone down upon it.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:07 AM  

  • Yeah...we seriously disagree on this point.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 6:18 AM  

  • But, would Jesus drop a bomb on Hiroshima?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 7:00 AM  

  • God has many devices He uses to chasten and punish people, cities,nations, and the whole world.

    Would He drop a bomb on Hirosima? If He were motivated to destroy that city for whatever reason He would choose ANYTHING He felt like to wipe it out. For example He could:

    1- Send a plague.
    2- Rain fire and Brimstone.
    3- Send Death itself.
    4- Use another country or people to destroy it the way He used the Babylonians to destroy Jeruselem.
    5- Send a flood. (Local, not worldwide as He has promised to never to so again.)
    6- Raise a volcano and have it erupt explosively.
    7- Cause a giant Earthquake.
    8- send a huge meteor to blast it into oblivion.

    And so-on and so-forth.

    Take note of #4. Would that country He sends to destroy Hiroshima use bombs? Almost assuredly. So by sending hostile invaders to destroy Hiroshima God is authorizing the use of their bombs to fulfill His purpose.

    Or He could just make a bomb out of nothing and drp it from Heaven, but He has no history of doing such a thing.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 9:11 AM  

  • So do you believe the OT is the better model on whether or not we do war and how we do it?

    If so, do you realize that throughout the OT, God chastises Israel for relying on a military solution? That God's repeated direction is
    1. NOT to have a standing military
    2. NOT rely upon the most powerful weaponry
    3. But instead, to rely on God to deliver?

    If you wish to have THAT sort of military, I'll buy in to it to a degree.

    If, instead, you prefer to rely upon the largest, most expansive, most expensive, most destructive power military ever, that's okay with me, too. JUST don't do so and say you're following a biblical or Godly model.

    "You come at me with sword and spear and armor, but I come at you armed only with the power of God!"

    David to Goliath

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 10:06 AM  

  • Actualy Dan, God chastised Israel every time they put their faith in something other than Him. His admonishments against a standing military were because it caused the people to become lax in their dependence on Him. The tithe is a symbol of reliance on Him. We are repeatedly told in both the Ot and the NT to rely on God for all of our needs and not to rely on our own works or the works of men.

    We are also warned against idolotry and warned that God is jealous of anything that seperates us from Him.

    Given this context I see and understand why God would admonish His special people the way you have described. He has always had a direct hand in the affairs of Israel and the Jews. They are meant to be His example o His grace, love, and power to the world. It is their birthright.

    For us Christians we are commanded to be salt and light, and to rely on Jesus for all of our daily needs. One of those needs is a strong military to maintain ourindependence and freedom in an increasingly hostile world. God has blessed our nation with the resources to maintain just such a military. Why on Earth would we throw such a blessing away? Look at how many times our strong military has been used justly and not only maintained our own freedom, but that of other nations as well while bringing freedom to nations that have never known it. In that way we use our bblessing to bless others. Is this not a good thing?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 11:02 AM  

  • You asked why pacifists which wars, if any, we supported. I answered. I gave you some ethical and many biblical reasons. You say you believe the US' biblical mission is:

    "One of those needs is a strong military to maintain ourindependence and freedom in an increasingly hostile world."

    And that our military is a "blessing to others..."

    All I can say is, "wow." We truly appear to follow a different Jesus.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 12:04 PM  

  • So you say it is NOT a blessing to bring freedom to the oppressed?

    You are saying it is NOT a blessing to have the ability to defend ourselves against all enemies?

    You don't think Jesus would approve? Perhaps you would prefer it if we left every deposed despot in place, including the ones who murdered Christians as a national policy? Is it not a blessing to these Christian bretheren to be able to worship our Lord now without fear of government reprisal?

    Of course, the only one who can ultimately give the definitive answer is Jesus Himself, but I fail to see how having differing opinions about the goodness of our military means we worship different Jesus'. You could make the same argument based onour difference of opinion on Welfare. Jesus taught charity, but also personal responsibility and an industrious work ethic. Welfare meets the charity part, but violates the personal responsibility and work ethic parts. Does your Jesus not care about personal reponsibility and hard work?

    This could go on forever. The simple fact of the matter is that we read the Bible differently. You reject the God of the Old Testament and replace Him with Jesus. I say they are one and the same and use the ENTIRE Bible as a guide, including using the Old Testament to add clarification to the New Testament since it IS a work based on the Old Testament as much as it is a work based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is my opinion that to reject the Old Testament or to try to explain it away in afvor of strictly New Testament teachings is a dangerous form of religious revisionism that can only lead to apostacy.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 2:27 PM  

  • Daniel,

    re: " So you say it is NOT a blessing to bring freedom to the oppressed?"

    You know that it's not good logic to set up a false interpretation of others' words.

    Bringing freedom is a blessing. Raining down death is a curse. There is a difference.

    re: the suggestion that I reject the God of the OT and that you "say they are one and the same and use the ENTIRE Bible as a guide, including using the Old Testament"

    YOU interpret Jesus thru the OT and I interpret the OT thru Jesus. That is a significant difference.

    More fully: I don't reject the God of the OT as there is only ONE God. I read the OT and the NT and accept Jesus as the final word on matters and interpret the whole Bible in context with Jesus as the final arbiter.

    When Jesus says, Love your enemies, do good to those who'd harm you" I take that as pretty clear cut. You interpret it keeping in mind that it appears that God in the OT seems more bloodthirsty and willing to kill so you decide that Jesus didn't mean LITERALLY to do good to those who'd harm us.

    So we can agree that we interpret the Bible differently, but it appears not much else.

    Peace.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 6:05 AM  

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