Fr. James Schall, S.J., writes on National Review Online about the chorus from clerical leaders around the world, with a few exceptions, tut-tutting the American case against Iraq, and often contains a sometimes subtle, sometimes not, anti-Americanism.
In our darker moments, we can imagine a discouraged American president, surrounded by clerical doubters, finally caving in at a Prayer Breakfast. “All right, Reverend Fathers and dear Pastors, since you know more about defending the rights of peoples and our country than I do, since you have more information than I do about what is going on in Iraq and the world, since your methods are more effective, I hereby turn the safety of the nation over to your competent hands.” Of course, it would not take a moment’s reflection to realize that we could not be safe in the hands of the no-war-at-this-time party, however well intentioned it may be. Their advice is just that—advice, not policy, let alone a basis for action.
He goes on to state that Christian philosophy has long held that decisions regarding war are best made by chosen political leaders and that clergy are best at articulating principles regarding just war, but not necessarily about whether a particular war would be just. The reason is that they just don’t have the information available to them to be able to make that determination. Surprisingly, the US bishops’ conference did just that in their recent statement on possible war in Iraq, stating the principles, saying that the evidence available then was not convincing to them, but defering final judgment to competent political authorities.
The president has spelled out the number of times since 9/11 that further attacks have been prevented. We live in a period of illusion if we think that further attacks have not come forth because bin Laden, wherever he is, or his friends, have changed their minds or their methods. Targets in Europe and the United States have been selected. Our efforts to defend ourselves have worked. The conclusion is not that no danger is near, but that danger has been thwarted and must continue so to be.
Schall then adds a very good and succinct observation of the double standard being applied with regard to Iraq.
The “humanitarian” war advocates of recent years have often made every effort to suggest that it is our “obligation” to intervene in extreme cases, any place in the world. We have been blamed mostly for inaction. Now, these same voices demand inaction. Perhaps it is true, as Franklin Roosevelt said, that we all hate war. But the question remains: Is there something worse than war, something worse than not preventing what needs to be prevented? If it takes a war to prevent this something worse, and we do prevent it, it will always seem, to the anti-war faction, that no real problem existed, because they could not see the evidence for it.
The Pope himself said several years ago that the international community was obligated to disarm Serbia when it was threatening the annihilation of ethnic Albanians. Such an action would had to have involved the use of force—which it did. So why is it suddenly no longer just or moral to wage war, especially against Saddam Hussein, who makes Slobodan Milosevic look like the neighborhood bully? Slobbo certainly never had WMD at his disposal.