America’s Obligation

Article by Martin L. Cook

Regardless of what one thought of the legal and moral justification of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, or of the prudence of that action, now that the U.S. is there it has moral and legal obligations to Iraq, to the region and to its citizens. Many of these obligations are clearly delineated in international law. …

Christian Conscience and Nuclear Escapism

Article by Robert Bachelder

There are two typical approaches to this conflict, one coming from business and one from the churches. Unfortunately, both reflect what John Gardner, the late novelist, called a kind of fundamentalism, with its “secure closing of doors and permission not to think.” The business approach has been articulated, for example, by Edson Spencer, Honeywell’s chief …

Do-gooder Dilemma

Article by Victoria J. Barnett

Book Review: The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response. By Peter Balakian. HarperCollins, 475 pp., $14.95 paperback. A Red for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis. By David Rieff. Simon & Schuster 400 pp., $15.00 paperback. During the 1890s, almost 200,000 Armenians were murdered on the orders of the sultan of Anatolia, in what …

Hooked on War

Article by G. Jeffrey MacDonald

Nothing compares to the rush. No other pursuit could be so exhilarating and meaningful, so loaded with the paradoxical sensation of being entirely alive yet also careening out of control on the edge of death. For those who taste its deliciously deadly nectar, there is usually no turning back. This gripping potion, according to author …

Indefensible War

Article by Miroslav Volf

The “grave and gathering danger” hanging over the world is not so much the danger that Saddam Hussein presents (as President Bush insists) but the danger of American preemptive war against Iraq. The Bush administration believes that such a war is necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power, thus preventing him from acquiring nuclear capabilities …

Is There a Right to Peace?

Article by James Avery Joyce

Human rights have recently been extended far beyond their earlier connotation as duties “owed” to individuals by a national government or, at least, by the community. Such rights are normally enforceable if and when they are violated by authority or by other individuals. In short, a human right is a legally enforceable claim. International lawyers, …

Just War Divide: One Tradition, Two Views

Article by Henry Gustafson

Speaking at the U.S. Military Academy in June, President Bush offered an expansive statement articulating a doctrine of preemptive action against rogue states and terrorist groups. Iraq was not mentioned, but subsequent statements suggest the West Point speech laid the foundation for war against that nation. If the president moves ahead with these plans, Christians …

Morality and War

Article by Martin L. Cook

Book Review: Morality and Contemporary Warfare By James Turner Johnson. Yale University Press, 256 pp. It is a truism that generals always prepare to fight the previous war. The memory of the past so shapes military thinking that the new challenges of future conflicts are frequently obscured. In a similar way, moral thinking about war …

Nonviolent Voices

Article by William Vance Trollinger, Jr.

It is not a propitious time to be a pacifist in the United States. Polls indicate that over 90 percent of Americans continue to support the military campaign in Afghanistan. Indications of such support are everywhere, as are the warnings — like the ubiquitous and vaguely threatening "Americans Unite" bumper stickers — that this time …

Not in Our Backyard

Article by Gordon Marino

Philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that it is always wrong to treat a person or a people purely as a means to an end. According to Kant, to say nothing of common moral sense, human beings are subjects and as such should never to be treated as mere instruments or objects. And yet it seems that …

Suicide Bombers: The ‘Just War’ Debate, Islamic Style

Article by John Kelsay

Tucked away in an account of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus Epiphanes is the story of a hero’s sacrifice. The Book of I Maccabees describes the prebattle scene, Jewish forces are encamped at Bethzechariah with the enemy directly opposite them, fully armed and ready to fight. As the Jewish soldiers watch, their counterparts prepare elephants …

Terrorism and Religions

Article by Henry S. Wilson

No peace without justice: no justice without truth (Noam Chomsky) Introduction: Predominantly the ideologically driven world of the 20th century, as it made its way on to the 21st century, seems to have given way to a more ‘religion accommodating’ world. In fact, the last decades of the 20th century already experienced a phenomenal revival …

The Dilemmas of Humanitarian Intervention

Article by Victoria J. Barnett

Book Review: Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention: A Fresh Legal Approach Based on Fundamental Ethical Principles In International Law and World Religions. By Brian D. Lepard. Pennsylvania State University Press, 496 pp.   A decade ago humanitarian intervention, defined by Brian Lepard as “the use of military force to protect the victims of human rights violations,” seemed …

The Nuclear Reality: Beyond Niebuhr and the Just War

Article by Donna Schaper

As a commissioner to the 1980 General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church, I was convinced that the church’s new peacemaking efforts needed “a good dose of Niebuhr.” I saw “The Call to Peacemaking” document as pacifistic and deficient in its failure to affirm the “just war.” In a brief speech to the Peacemaking Committee, …

The Uses of American Power: On a Mission

Article by Lloyd Steffen

Books Reviewed Imperial Designs: Neoconservatism and the New Pax Americana. By Gary Dorrien Routledge, .336 pp. Saving Christianity from Empire. By Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer Continuum, 192 pp. Anxious About Empire: Theological Essays on the New Global Realities. Edited by Wes Avram. Brazos Press, 224 pp. American Providence: A Nation with a Mission. By Stephen H. Webb. …

Toward a Kierkegaardian Understanding of Hitler, Stalin, and the Cold War

Article by Charles K. Bellinger

He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. John 1:11 Søren Kierkegaard is widely acknowledged today as one of the most insightful philosophical and religious thinkers of western history. Although he was ignored in the 19th century, he has become a widely read, if not widely understood, contributor to 20th …

Using Private Lynch

Article by Leon Howell

Jessica Lynch resists America’s desire to call her a war hero. "They used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff," Lynch told Diane Sawyer during a television interview on Veteran’s Day. "It’s Wrong" Lynch grew up in Palestine, West Virginia, a town of 330 people with only one place to shop: "The What-Not …

Wounds of War

Article by Gregory S. Clapper

You’re going to Germany? Sweet!” That was how news of my deployment was greeted by more than one member of my Air National Guard unit — the 181st Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard. In the military, the initial criteria for evaluating whether an assignment is a good one include its opportunities for …