Friday, 15 May 2015

Knowing One's Limitations

A Mistake

It's encouraging to see some Republican candidates for US President articulating a much, much more responsible doctrine of war.  We have often noted in this blog that the United States has shed more blood in warfare than any other nation on the globe over the past fifty years.  Instead of talking softly and carrying a big stick, it has shouted loudly and used a stick to kill people all over the world. 

Christians often get confused over war.  Because we worship and serve the Prince of Peace, some Christians unfaithfully and ignorantly elide into pacifism.  They forget that the Prince ordained the magistrate to bear a sword to punish evil doers.  Moreover, because there are many evils in the world, and the US has the most powerful, global military force, other Christians think it right to use the nation's military might to solve problems and conflicts anywhere on the globe.  "Because we can, we should" is the argument.  This latter folly represents naivete and arrogance way beyond the norm. 

Remember when President Obama decided that the US had to "nation-build" in Afghanistan.
  The way to stop the Taliban, we were told, was to turn the nation into a Western secular democracy.  The US military would provide the cover and protection while a hive of nation builders would go to work.  Now it's all over rover and the US is withdrawing in failure--as every Christian with just a modicum of Bible knowledge would have predicted.  Today analysts have identified what the real problem in Afghanistan is.  It's not opium poppies.  Nor is it militant Islam.  It's corruption.  Good old fashioned theft and larceny.  The land of the bribe and the pay-off.  Afghani government and society is riddled with it.  That's a "nation building" problem that can only be addressed by humble submission to the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ at the individual and family and community level.

The Christian doctrine of war is that the war must be just.  A just war is a defensive war, where a nation deploys its military to defend its citizens from a clear and present danger.  Declarations of war should have a high threshold.

The Republican Party in the United States has often harboured those who idolatrously believe it is "my country, right or wrong" and that any excuse or opportunity to deploy US military and troops overseas should be taken.  Such positions are evil and wreak great devastation and suffering.  It's good, therefore, to see some Republican candidates taking a much, much more measured and reasoned approach.  Here is Senator Ted Cruz, for example:

Cruz: 'Of course' Iraq was a mistake

Ted Cruz is breaking from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) about whether or not he would have ordered the U.S. military into its eight-year war in Iraq.  “Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn’t go into Iraq,” the Texas Republican told The Hill on Tuesday.

“At the time, the intelligence reports indicated that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction that posed a significant national security threat to this country. That’s the reason there was such widespread bipartisan support for going into Iraq,” he added. “We now know in hindsight, those intelligence reports were false.”

“Without that predicate, it is difficult to imagine the decision would have been made to go into Iraq, and that predicate proved erroneous,” Cruz said.
Our view is that even were the intelligence reports accurate, it remained then, and now, a very long bow to draw to argue Saddam Hussein represented a clear and present danger to the citizens of the United States. 


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