Whose Justice, Whose War?

When President Bush told The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward that he consulted a “Higher Father” before going to war in … Continued

When President Bush told The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward that he consulted a “Higher Father” before going to war in Iraq, he unintentionally offered what has always been one of the most common and revolting rationalizations involved in one war after another. “God wills it.” “A mighty fortress is our God.” How do you argue with that?

I do not believe that wars are ever “just.” On rare occasions, war is necessary. It was absolutely necessary that the Nazis be defeated. It was necessary that the Civil War be fought in order to bring an end to slavery in America (even though half of the nation, of course, was fighting to preserve slavery, as its God had so decreed).

If I had thought there was any possibility that invading Iraq could help end terrorist attacks, I probably would have supported the war. I say that with no pride and with the absolute conviction that most justifications for war, whether religious or secular, are ultimately self-serving.

Most wars are stupid wars, and stupidity is responsible for as much injustice and suffering as evil intent. Consider the Sunni and Shiite militias in Iraq, conducting another round in a dispute that originated over who has bragging rights as the true descendants of the prophet Muhammad. Stupid. Their stupidity piled atop our stupidity. Oh, the Higher Father is apparently hard at work, pouring devilishly stupid advice into the ears of so many of his devoted adherents around the world.

The war in Iraq is, in my view, both stupid and unnecessary, and we are now beginning to suffer the consequences. I suppose there would be a rough justice in that, except that the people of Iraq are the real inheritors of our wind.

To their credit, many religious leaders have opposed this war and done so on moral grounds. Others, however–especially the right-wing Christian fundamentalists who form the president’s political base–have strongly supported the war. The American public has finally turned against this war, as it did against the Vietnam war, not for any moral reasons but because we are losing.

We certainly should be having a moral conversation about this subject. Our indifference to the hundreds of thousands Iraqi lives lost since we launched a war on their soil speaks volumes about American values. So too does the behavior of the American upper middle class, unwilling to offer its own sons and daughters to the military, in letting the sons and daughters of urban and rural poverty bear the brunt of the sacrifices being made in this war. I wonder how politicians who wear their faith on their sleeves reconcile their religious values with the absolute insulation of their own families from the violence of war. I wonder if the pundits at right-wing think tanks, who provided the intellectual rationale for the war, are the least bit concerned about their role in launching a rich man’s war that is truly a poor man’s fight. Probably not. It’s the “market economy” at work, after all.

To anyone who really believes there is such a thing as a just war, I recommend a look at the Summa Theologicae by that patriarch of “just war” theory, Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas–who constituted his own right-wing think tank–sets forth a number of conditions for a just war. These include a righteous cause, righteous intent, means proportional to the end, sanction by legitimate governing authorities, etc., etc. The problem immediately becomes clear. Who defines righteousness? Who sets the standard of proportionality? In America, we have apparently decided that 3,000 American deaths is a disproportionate price to pay. Who decided that the loss of several hundred thousand Iraqi lives was proportional?

Finally, I do not believe that religion offers any special insights into the morality of war, that age-old evidence of human folly. Poor human judgment got us into this war, and wiser human judgment will have to prevail to get us out.

Susan Jacoby
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  • Jihadist

    Ms. Jacoby, good article against war, and in gist on your points raised:Shiites are for leadership of Islamic umma to be entrusted to the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad PBUHSunnis are for leadership by acclamation of the umma – a democratic selection based on consensus and for the best man.The Prophet Muhammmad himself never named any designated any sucessor, though the Shiites would insist he did and it was Ali. The Sunni/Shiite conflict is aggravated by the Iraqi occupation and in instances, provoked by specific decisions for particular reasons. You really do not want Muslims to go into a vent on the Iraq situation here.And who says Muslim love wars? Since the late Saddam invaded Iraq, and started a war with Iran, when was the last time a Muslim majority nation invaded another country? Muslims just what to get on with their petty mundane lives and to eke out a living. But quite difficult to do so when bombs are rained down from high up for peace, democracy and freedom. Of course, any self-respecting Muslim or non-Muslim would fight for his home and country against aggressors. Of course, I am not disgreeing with Ms. Jacoby. War is hell. I know that for certain.

  • Ashley

    Victoria,Ms. Jacoby stated that she does not believe wars are ever just. So, by extreme obviousness, she does not believe the Iraq war is just.She also clearly did not “reduce the entire thing to bush hearing god”. She explained, in detail, the extent to which the Iraq war is a grotesque moral failure of this supposedly “godly” nation.So what exactly is your complaint?Off topic, would you please consider using complete sentences with capitalization and punctuation in your posts? I know organizing and clarifying your thoughts requires some work, but why should I try to wade through your messages when you don’t put forth any effort in writing them?

  • Jon

    Religion is not to blame for all of the wars fought in human history…

  • Jon

    Hitler and Stalin shared atheism in common!!!

  • Mr Mark

    Ashley wrote to Victoria:”Off topic, would you please consider using complete sentences with capitalization and punctuation in your posts? I know organizing and clarifying your thoughts requires some work, but why should I try to wade through your messages when you don’t put forth any effort in writing them?”I couldn’t agree more. I typically skip over any post that renders itself unscannable by ignoring the basic rules of punctuation. And you’re right – why waste time deciphering such messages when the author won’t put in the most basic effort required in writing a post.Now, if we can just get On Faith to block the “1,000-word-long, sitting-on-a-hard drive canned responses” that certain bloggers feel compelled to post here on EVERY column/question asked!

  • Jon

    Whenever evil strikes justice must be evoked to protect the innocent!

  • Mr Mark

    Jon wrote:”Hitler and Stalin shared atheism in common!!!”More importantly, they both sported moustaches!My favorite quote from the “atheist” Hitler:”My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.”-Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

  • Zeckal

    Let’s not be taken in by the naivity that’s generated in here. We all know there were no WMDs, and Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The real reason is explained by John Fisk in here; The only moral action we can do is to bring Bush and Blair to justice.

  • Anonymous

    War is the desire of evil tyrants to impose there order on the meek for there own personal gain! It is up to good men to stand up against such oppressive forces.

  • Jon

    Hitler cynically played fast and loose with religion, to manipulate the German people. Whenever and wherever he deemed religionists a threat to his own self-idolatry he persecuted them and purged them. Apart from the Jewish genocide, he persecuted and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Christians, Protestant and Catholic, for their faith. Stalin’s atheism, moreover, was no mere private foible, either. It was a violent feature of his ideology. He oppressed, imprisoned, tortured and murdered the Orthodox faithful, destroying their icons and their churches, throughout the length and breadth of Russia. Mao Tse-tung, another enthusiastic atheist, followed suit, and his anti-religious policies continue to this day in China. Your failure to acknowledge, still less explore, the consequences of triumphalist atheistic science as ideology undermines your claim to seriousness. But then, you seem to have a poor grasp of totalitarianism and religious fundamentalism alike, and how they relate to an absence of respect and freedom. Article written to Richard Dawkins.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    World War II is proof that some wars are justified. The Iraq war, borderline justified, but as someone said Saddam was himself a weapon of mass destruction. We destroyed this WMD and it might be time to leave. Unfortunately the crazy guy in Iran will not make that an easy undertaking but our presence in the area keeps him somewhat under control.

  • jon

    If Jesus Christ was an enemy for peace and was the cause for all war in world then why would he teach through scripture – Love for Enemies 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[b] and pray for those who persecute you,

  • Jon

    Peace to all!Good day.

  • victoria

    its how i weed out those who value substance over style

  • Falk Steinle

    Jon wrote:Hitler and Stalin shared atheism in common!!!I grant you Stalin. Well – rather Marxism.But Hitler? You must be kidding. He was no christian, that`s true. But the underlaying mysticism, the aggrandizemente of germanic tribes and Hitlers constant reference to providence paint quite a different picture.

  • Donna Saggia

    It seems to me that if more people acknowledged that most wasr are stupid and immoral, there would be fewer people dedicating their lives to, and dying for, such stupid and immoral causes. Parents, teach your children to be loyal to principles, not boundary lines.

  • Bill

    Susan Jacoby writes: “So too does the behavior of the American upper middle class, unwilling to offer its own sons and daughters to the military, in letting the sons and daughters of urban and rural poverty bear the brunt of the sacrifices being made in this war.”I was under the impression that our military was volunteer. No one forces the ‘sons and daughters of poverty’ into the military. Yes, it is true that more lower income people join the military. What is so wrong with taking the opportunity to join the military and learn skills that can be applied to future jobs? It can also pay for college after getting out.I truly believe there are some Left-Wing people that are afraid of social and economic advancement of the poor in America. They are afraid of losing thier ‘entitlement class’ when, really, all people want to do is take opportunities presented to them and earn an honest living.

  • Robert B.

    Though I agree with Ms. Jacoby’s contention that the Iraq war is unjust, I have to dispute her dismissal of Aquinas as a mere “right-wing think tank”. When Aquinas was seeking the righteousness (or “rightness”) of a cause or an intent, he looked not only to Christian morality, but also to human reason. Aquinas would never have claimed that there were no just wars prior to the advent of Christ. To do so would be to deny the existence of a natural morality that was accessible through pure reason.

  • Falk Steinle

    To JonIt makes the differnce of a factual correct statement versus a factual incorrect statement.Besides, what`s your point? And up to yet I haven`t seen any comment, that indicates that war is entirely to blame on religion.

  • Anonymous

    Needless to say, Aquinas is well beyond Ms. Jacoby’s depth.

  • Fak Steinle

    To anony:Which you have gathered by divine providence, mayhap?

  • Robert B.

    I don’t know if Aquinas is beyond her depth. She generally seems to be a reasonably intelligent individual. I just lament that on this issue, she has allowed her atheism to cross the line into anti-theism.

  • Ashley

    In what way is Aquinas beyond anyone’s depth? Your statement might be more convincing if you actually provided any arguments supporting it. “Needless to say” doesn’t cut it once you walk out of the chapel door.

  • Robert B.

    To Mr. Mark –Since you are an expert on the Summa, what is your view on his defense of free will?

  • Ashley

    Robert B.,Is there any evidence of a natural morality accessible through pure reason? While it certainly seems that most humans possess similar moral instincts (as revealed, for instance, in Hauser’s moral dilemmas), they can only be considered rational in an evolutionary framework, using our understanding of humanity’s social nature as a starting point.

  • Anonymous

    To Falk: Your right religion alone cannot solve war! But the teachings of Christ can shed new light on peace if we were to abide to the teachings. You don’t have to be a christian to believe in peace and forgiveness either! just don’t forget where the moral message came from! Love for Enemies 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[b] and pray for those who persecute you,

  • Norrie Hoyt

    There are no just wars. All wars are like lightning strikes that randomly strike and kill. No justice there.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    There are no just wars. All wars are like lightning strikes that randomly strike and kill. No justice there.

  • Mr Mark

    Robert B. wrote:First – I didn’t claim to be an expert on Aquinas. Those are your words, not mine.Second – as to his defense of free will. I can’t recall his whole argument, but I would dismiss his idea that only animals act out of natural instinct and that man acts solely from a reasoned position. Such a position was taken in the intellectual void of Aquinas’ time, ie: before the law of natural selection was first posited and later proven beyond doubt. The existence of human “reason” of which Aquinas speaks is the product of millions of years of evolution, not the result of God being its first cause.Ergo, I’d say that I don’t think much of his defense of free will as it is based on a false premise.Did I misrepresent Aquinas? If so, my apologies.

  • Just the Facts

    It’s amusing how shameless atheists can be in twisting plain facts to conform to their prejudices.Ashley asserts the following about the President:[a] He has stated God wanted him to be President.I do not doubt that Ashley takes great comfort in these myths, because they affirm her own superiority to President Bush and “millions of Christian Americans”.BUT: If there is the slightest credible evidence that the President ever has claimed a divine mandate for his being elected over other candidates, or for any of his actions, please produce it.The President has been quoted as saying that God “wanted” him to PURSUE the presidency — in the same way that any believer would speak about discerning God’s will for one’s life. How does this differ, for example, from President Kennedy saying in his inaugural address that we all must do God’s will?Every president claims to pray. Is there any evidence whatsoever that President Bush prays more than average? And even if so, why is that sinister or even remarkable?As for the last curious point, it’s self-evident that if the President has some kind of shield to deflect criticism, it ain’t working.Which brings us back to Jacoby’s preposterous implication that President Bush claimed a divine mandate for intervening in Iraq. Again, produce the evidence that he ever uttered a single declarative sentence to that effect (and no, that’s clearly not what the Woodward quote says or implies) — or shut up about it already.Sure seems like atheists are no different from anybody when it comes to petty hatreds. Otherwise they wouldn’t need to distort the facts.

  • Frozen1

    The Book of Wisdom, Chapter 1:2, 1:3

  • Duncan

    Bush indeed has a higher power over him, but he did not consult that power: Tthe American people, who are the highest authority in a democratic system. Instead Bush ignored the wishes and interests of the people and justified the invasion with a tissue of lies so baseless and obscene that even Goebbels would have hesitated to utter them. Bush has shown absolute contempt for the American people, for the concept of democracy, and for international law. He and his government are criminals, pure and simple, and should be brought to justice.

  • Jeff Wismer

    Just the Facts said:Sure seems like atheists are no different from anybody when it comes to petty hatreds. Otherwise they wouldn’t need to distort the facts.Wow, you’re right about that…we are just like everyond else. Thank you for acknowledging that the atheists exist. As far as Bush is concerned how many times have we heard him say “I believe we’re winning the war” or “I believe this is a just war”. Sure he prays just like any other Christian, and he envoked God in his speeches just like any other Christian would. Problem is it’s not a secret that he buys into the brand of Christianity that James Dobson, Laura Ingarham, Bill O Reilly, Ted Haggard, Sean Hannity, and other Sychophants practice. Or do they not get invited to the White House and sit down with the president? Are you saying that the pictures don’t exist?

  • Norrie Hoyt

    *** IN THE COURT OF THE GRAND HIGH TURTLE *** ** ASHLEY & MR. MARK VS. VICTORIA **THE CHARGE: NO GRAMMAR, STYLE OR SUBSTANCE IN VICTORIA’S “WRITINGS”THE EVIDENCE: A few days ago Victoria addressed a long post to me, NH, which I replied to. If her post had been written in standard English, or even a very poor version thereof, it would have taken me four minutes to read, comprehend, and reply to her. As it was, it took twenty minutes to try to figure out what she had in mind, if she had anything in mind, and to compose a reply. I suggested to her at the time she might want to try writing complete sentences composed in accordance with grammatical rules. She did not return a satisfactory response.VICTORIA’S DEFENSE: “its how I weed out those who value substance over style”** JUDGMENT WAS GIVEN BY MR. JUSTICE TORTOISE **Tortoise, J.:JUDGMENT FOR ASHLEY AND MR. MARK. Victoria is sentenced to remedial thinking and writing, and shall write out 1,000 times:”IF THE WRITING IS HELTER-SKELTER, THERE IS NO THOUGHT OR SUBSTANCE IN THE LETTERS ON THE PAGE!”Language note: “Tortoise” is pronounced “TOR-TWAAS” (The Judge is from Marseille).

  • Robert B.

    To Mr. Mark:You spoke like an expert, so I addressed you like an expert. For myself, I know a considerable amount about Aquinas, but would not claim to be an authority by saying that his philosophy was vacuous.Also, your comment about Aquinas’s era as being a time of intellectual stagnation is not supported by history. The scientific revolution did not begin during the Enlightenment, as so many history books would have us think, but in the 12th and 13th centuries with the works of the scholastic theologians. Check out the book *Aristotle’s Children* for an excellent treatment of the subject.Lastly, if the existence of God is a false premise, then should not that falsity be rationally provable? At best, it is possible to prove that God *might* not exist, an idea that Aquinas had to admit had merit.To Ashley:You raise an excellent point regarding evolution and morality. Still, the idea that man makes his own morals is far to Nietzschean for me to accept. Without some kind of absolute standard of right and wrong, humanity is lost.

  • saul lichtine

    I am truly impressed with your argument and reasoning that religion has been used all through history to justify war whether as a crusade or a as a just need. I remember Cardinal Spellman blesssing American soldiers as soldiers of Christ going off to kill and be killed in Vietnam. Religion has always been used as the crutch which has crippled humanity particularly in its use to slaughter innocents in the name of G-D. Shame on all of those who still use religion to kill, maim and aslaughter and kill in the name of the of their G-d.

  • cjumper

    An historical point: The civil war was not fought because of slavery, although that’s the explanation our revisionist elementary school history books always present. That’s not to say the less lofty reasons the war was started in any way reduce the tremendous moral or historical significance of ending slavery. But Ms. Jacoby’s premise is overwhelmingly correct: God is always on the side you’re fighting for. And God doesn’t mind if you suspend basic religious principles for the duration of the fight.

  • Mr Mark

    Robert B wrote:”Also, your comment about Aquinas’s era as being a time of intellectual stagnation is not supported by history. The scientific revolution did not begin during the Enlightenment, as so many history books would have us think, but in the 12th and 13th centuries with the works of the scholastic theologians.”I didn’t call it intellectual stagnation. I called it an intellectual void, that void being specific to, “ie: before the law of natural selection was first posited and later proven beyond doubt.” I thought that specificity was clear enough.Rober B also wrote:”Lastly, if the existence of God is a false premise, then should not that falsity be rationally provable? At best, it is possible to prove that God *might* not exist, an idea that Aquinas had to admit had merit.”Your point is taken, though I would say that it’s not a matter of proving the falsity to be “rationally” provable. I would demand a higher standard than that, ie: the scientific method. While you are correct that one cannot totally disprove the existence of gods, I would say that even at this point in our evolutionary history, we are about 99% sure that gods don’t exist (that is, if we can at least agree on a definition for the word “god”). I could take the usual atheistic position that it’s not up to me to disprove the extraordinary claim for gods, but, rather, for the theist to prove the claim. I won’t do that because your questions are good questions that deserve answers, and you present yourself in a respectful and thoughtful manner.As far as my original post carrying the smugness of self-proclaimed authority: sorry about that. I tried to make a short-and-sweet response to another post, and it obviously came off as being a little cavalier. Thanks for allowing me to expand on my original post by asking a follow-up few questions.

  • Robert B.

    To Mr. Mark –Thank you for your response. I apologize for not getting the distinction between stagnation and void that you mentioned. As a medievalist, I tend to get a little incensed at any suggestion of the era being a time when nothing of intellectual merit occurred (the whole “Dark Ages” thing).As for proving that God exists, I will not attempt to do so. I am fully aware that my faith is entirely irrational. That is, of course, why it is faith. One of my pet peeves is that some atheists act as if faith is not compatible with rational thought, which is a laughable contention.

  • jerry blair

    Ms. Jacoby states some wars are necessary, then cites war against the Nazis as an example. By her reasoning, the decision for war against Saddam’s Baathist government was necessary because the Baathist Party is a direct extension of the Nazi Party. Saddam was no more Muslim than Hitler was Christian. Both were motivated by a perverted interpretation of “natural selection”. The violence we see today is not religiously motivated. It is Baathists (Nazis) attmpting to regain power and their former victoms excating their measure of revenge.

  • Ba’al

    I agree completely with this panelist.

  • Ashley C.

    BGONE~ I realize that absolute monarchs derive their right to rule from God, and was making the point (trying to, anyway) that if we allow Pres. Bush to get by with reasoning that goes along the lines of “A higher power told me to….so it’s okay” than we are getting a type of government that the Founding Fathers came here to get away from.You’ve heard the cliche before, but it’s apt in this case: “We get what we ask for….”

  • Anonymous

    Without drifting too far from the morality question… Several comments claim that the President liberated Iraq without consulting the people, or over the people’s wishes, or that he acted like a “monarch.” In truth, [a] the international community debated Iraq for 12 years; [b] regime change became official U.S. policy in 1998, with three national elections in intervening years; [c] intervention itself was debated for a full year, during which there was a national election; [d] military intervention was authorized by a large bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress; and in any event [e] we have a representative form of government in which the people elect officeholders to do their jobs, not take opinion polls. Whatever moral questions there may be, authority is not one of them.

  • Hewitt Rose

    Ms. Jacoby:How do you reconcile the statements that war is never “just,” and the statement that sometimes “war is necessary”? If WWII or the Civil War were necessary, then they were just. Also, you more or less argue that “just” is impossible to define, but in so doing, you abandon the possibility of condemning a war as unjust. So, for example, if the U.S. embarked on an entirely successful war to acquire Mexican oil wells, would you say, “the war worked, so I have nothing to say”?

  • Anonymous

    Ashley C., please cite your evidence that President Bush ever said, “A higher power told me to….so it’s okay.” If you cannot produce such evidence I respectfully ask that you repudiate this false claim.

  • Duncan

    “Several comments claim that the President liberated Iraq without consulting the people,” Yes, Iraq is “liberated” the same way way the Nazis “liberated” Poland. The social and economic conditions in Iraq have gotten dramatically worse, since the “liberation” and most Iraqi’s would like to be “unliberated” in the worst way. Bush has done the unthinkable, he has made Saddam look like the better alternative…But be this as it may, how does lying about WMD’s or drawing a false connection between Saddam and Bin Ladin/9-11 constitute a consultation with the people? How does month after month of lies and fabrications by the President and his fellow conspirators constitute any kind of consultative process between the President, the Congress, the people and International community? The President’s authority does not flow from God, but from the people and it is the people, not God, that the President must consult and it is to the people that he is ultimately answerable. However, since you mentioned monarchy, it is clear that the President has acted like a monarch and the entire structure of the presidency must be questioned and perhaps replaced by a parliamentary system where the nation’s leaders can be called to account in the legislature and where the cabinet is directly answerable to the people.

  • Historian

    CJUMPER: Thank you for your comment re: the cause of the Civil War. Most American, military, Civil War, and antebellum historians can address a multitude of reasons why the war was NOT to free slaves. (This without diminishing the result of the war.)There are a lot of things that could have been done differently prior to, and now, during the Iraq war. Probably the biggest mistake in diplomacy was not giving Saddam a means to “save face” in view of the Muslim world. We were set on a course toward conflict when U.N. inspectors had no means of conducting inspections of Iraq’s weapons programs as a condition of the first Iraq conflict in 1991 (See the U.N 2002 press release: As for which “side” God is on concerning war, I think that’s why He distanced Himself from humanity at the Fall. Reading all of this is like watching a football game in which both sides score and point to the same sky. God is in the details that don’t get reported to us on a nightly basis…the people across the globe trying to bring the conflict to an end, but also trying to comfort Muslims, Christians, and atheists caught up in the malestrom.

  • adam

    It is true that some wars are necessary and some are not. But necessity and justice are entirely different categories, and necessity, narrowly conceived, is not always the only factor states should consider when contemplating the use of military force. Some “unnecessary” wars are just. US action in the Balkans was not necessary to US nat’l security. But it was just to intervene for humanitarian purposes. Likewise, if the US and other countries had intervened in the Rwandan genocide while it was ongoing, such action would have been just, but not necessary. In fact, the Genocide Convention requires its signatories to “prevent and punish” genocide. Many commentators, including former UN Sec-Gen Boutros Boutros-Ghali, interpret this clause as obligating states-parties to the Convention to act with military force against a regime that is committing genocide (hence the rhetorical care most world leaders took to avoid labelling the Rwandan massacres a “genocide”). So if Ms. Jacoby would ask “whose justice?,” I would answer that there is a developing body of international law that reflects common standards of when a war is just.While almost all of the Administration’s claims and shifting rationales for invading Iraq have been illusory, there is no doubt that Sadaam was a vicious dictator who generally oppressed the citizens of his country and arguably committed genocidal acts against the Kurds. The question, then, is whether US intevention in removing Sadaam could be justified on human rights or humanitarian grounds. As Secretary Albright suggests, the answer is probably no. But here’s another question: because the Genocide Convention requires States-Parties to prevent and punish genocide , does the threat of ethnic cleansing or genocide in Iraq obligate US troops to remain there? Does it obligate other States-Parties to join us? I would be interested to know Secretary Albright’s position.

  • Anonymous

    Duncan, since I gather you were away from the planet in 2004, be advised that the President stood before the people for re-election per the Constitution you disdain. (In the interest of staying on topic, I’ll resist the temptation to reply to the rest of your peculiar views about the demise of dear Saddam of blessed memory.)You solemnly inform us that “The President’s authority does not flow from God.” Golly, has somebody suggested that it does? If you have a rational, factual basis for that insinuation — one that you can substantiate with credible evidence, apart from your own prejudices — please share. Thank you.

  • Jane Auburn

    The civil war was not fought “to bring an end to slavery.” While the issue of slavery did form the moral underpinning of the war, the war was also about the constitutional argument over whether or not a state had a right to leave the Union, and–of primary concern to most southern soldiers–the continuation of antebellum southern culture.

  • Anonymous

    “You solemnly inform us that “The President’s authority does not flow from God.” Golly, has somebody suggested that it does? If you have a rational, factual basis for that insinuation””When President Bush told The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward that he consulted a “Higher Father” before going to war in Iraq,…”Perhaps (since you are so enamoured of Bush’s democracy that you fear to even reveal your first name) anonymous, you think that Dubya’s “higher father” is a reference to George senior? Wait, “higher father” would mean higher than father, so it must mean “grandfather” but grandpa Bush, is no longer with us, so I take it mean that Dubya either talked to his spiritual ancestors or Dubya was making a reference to consulting with God. Unless of course Dubya talked to his father while his father was in an airplane, for example, hence the reference to “higher father”.

  • Anonymous

    The cause for the war is really quite simple… Saddam was of value to the US, and we supported him (financially and militarily), in keeping Iranian ambitions in check. Saddam decided that he no longer wanted to be the US’s lap dog; so, he invaded Kuwait, and threatened US oil interests. We slapped him down hoping that he would get the message, and get back with our program. He didn’t. He denied the UN weapons inspectors access to his country because he had something to hide, not only from the US, but from the rest of the world. He was also exterminating Kurds, because they were not part of his “pure” Arab race. Having learned our lesson from sitting on the sideline too long in WWII (and having seen all of the damage that our waiting did to Europe), the decision was made to take Saddam out sooner rather than wait for him to destabilize the whole region with another war (and further threaten US oil interests). Surely, there is a Pentagon analysis somewhere indicating that fewer lives would be lost by invading Iraq rather than waiting to fight Saddam after he invaded another one of his neighbors. We can never know for sure whether that was the right decision. Regardless of his source, it certainly must have been an excruciatingly difficult decision for George Bush (or any person for that matter) to make. All of the discussion now is just Monday morning quarterbacking.

  • Duncan

    “He denied the UN weapons inspectors access to his country because he had something to hide, not only from the US, but from the rest of the world.” Except of course, this is not true, UN Weapons Inspectors had full access to every site in Iraq, and they published a full report indicating that there were no WMDs in Iraq, nor did Iraq have any plans or ability to make any. “He was also exterminating Kurds, because they were not part of his “pure” Arab race.” Just like the Turks exterminated the Kurds because they weren’t Turkish enough, ditto for the Iranians, because they weren’t Persian enough, etc, etc. Saddam killed the Kurds because they tried to create a seperate Kurdish state, which is the same reason that the Turks and the Iranians killed them. BTW, the Kurdish “extermination” was carried out with USA (Reagan and Bush Sr) supplied poison gas. How soon we forget…hopefully Raygun and Bush sr also consulted with their “higher father” so they won’t go to hell for committing such terrible sins.”the decision was made to take Saddam out sooner rather than wait for him to destabilize the whole region with another war (and further threaten US oil interests).” Yeah, the USA sure dodged a bullet on that one. The region has never been more stable, nor the oil supply more secure than today. Why Iraq is pumping out more oil than ever, and the Iraqi pipelines are completely safe – NOT! It would even be better if Dubya and Co. would actually take some practical steps to reduce the USA’s dependance on foriegn oil, but I guess we don’t have to worry because Uncle Chavez will be happy to supply it…of course Iran is an even better alternative…they think the world of Dubya, after all.”We can never know for sure whether that was the right decision” Really? In a democracy, the people have a right to know. But, as I recall the generals seemed to think it was not such a good idea, even then.

  • Ba’al

    Duncan, I was just about to write some of what you posted, but yours is better than mine would have been.

  • Anonymous

    Other Anon, not sure why you wasted the effort to repeat yet again the canard (lie would be a better word) that Jacoby already had trotted out a couple of times, viz., the notion that the Woodward quote somehow reflects some kind of claim of divine mandate.What the President actually said is that he prayed and reflected over a momentous decision. Duh! For any leader NOT to do so in those circumstances would be a grave dereliction of duty! To assert that the President ever has claimed authority from God is nothing but a preposterous and deliberately provocative lie — recycled by lazy polemicists.

  • Duncan

    “God is in the details that don’t get reported to us on a nightly basis…the people across the globe trying to bring the conflict to an end, but also trying to comfort Muslims, Christians, and atheists caught up in the malestrom.”God is the search for truth. How can any person of faith lie, and not just one lie, out of weakness or human vanity, but month after month of the most poisonous and vile lies, designed to distort a whole nation and indeed, the planet’s ability to see and understand the truth? How could any God of truth and justice hear such lies and not turn away from the person telling them? Did Christ lie? Yet, a man who professes to act in Christ’s name and even claims to be born again in Christ, lied to the whole world about Iraq, lied to the mothers of fathers of American soldiers, who have died in battle, lied to Iraqis who had prayed for deliverance and justice, lied about Rendition, lied about torture. Bush’s lies are corrupting the nation and eating away at the fabric of society and they are slowly poisoning the thinking of American soldiers, who are not only turning away from the truth but are committing terrible crimes as they try to wage a war that was based upon a series of monstrous lies. Think of the corruption that is occurring in the US military when these crimes are covered up, then exposed, then denied. Look at how America not only as a nation, but as an idea, is being destroyed. If you want a morale compass, it is to be found in seeking the truth.

  • Anonymous

    Duncan, it may be that some of your concerns are well-founded. However, when you couch them in such lurid rhetoric, and make such preposterous claims, you produce the opposite effect from the one you intend (assuming that you’re trying to persuade anybody). I’m sure your post is hearfelt. But to be perfectly honest it’s so overwrought it borders on the comic.

  • Duncan

    “But to be perfectly honest it’s so overwrought it borders on the comic.”Really, why? Bush didn’t lie and a “big lie” at that, to push the USA into war? He isn’t corrupting the military? He hasn’t engaged in a systematic campaign of rendition and torture? America’s standing isn’t lower in the world now than ever before? He doesn’t claim to be a Born Again Christian? Does GW Bush seek the truth by example or by word? Can you be a person of faith if you do not seek, or speak the truth? Can you answer yes to any of these questions?

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    As with our own gruesome Civil War where the soldier and civilian loss of life and limb far out numbered the situation in Iraq, we should have left the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites fight it out amongst themselves and protected the borders from outside influence as best we could. It would have been a significant blood bath way beyond the current situation but at least none of our military personnel would have been put in harms way.

  • Anonymous

    > Bush lied [in order] to push the USA into war? Nope, he did not “lie”.The remaining questions have to do with how well the President lives out his professed faith. That’s not for me to judge, or cast the first stone.

  • Anonymous

    When someone has to lie in order to make an argument, the argument is weak.Ms. Jacoby is lying (or ignorant, to give her the benefit of the doubt) when she asserts that President Bush’s comment to Woodward is equivalent to the “God wills it” of the Crusades.The meaning of the President’s comment is plain to any reasonable and reasonably fair person: He reflected deeply on whether or not he was doing the right thing. You can disagree on the morality of the course he took, but to assert that he ever claimed a divine mandate is nothing but an absurd and deliberately provocative lie.

  • Ashley

    Susan Jacoby really nails it when she says, “I do not believe that wars are ever “just.” On rare occasions, war is necessary.”.Justice only exists and only has meaning within the framework of human civilization. In particular, it only has meaning within a civil society ruled by laws. War is the ultimate breakdown of civilization, its polar opposite.Unfortunately, President Bush and millions of Christian Americans believe that justice is handed down by their gods. They use this belief as a holy shield to block criticism of (as well as self-reconcile) policies that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths.Perhaps one day fundamentalists and possibly even Bush will realize that the excuse that a “Higher Father” authorized war is the EXACT same excuse that the 9/11 terrorists used to justify their vicious murders.

  • Anonymous

    Why does Ashley repeat the LIE that President Bush claimed a divine mandate? And what do “fundamentalists” have to do with it?

  • Ashley

    Anonymous, what is your evidence that the President simply meant he was “reflecting deeply”? This is a man who has stated he believes that his god wanted him to be President, and who claims to talk to this god regularly. He’s not exactly a nuanced thinker who would invoke his gods as a metaphor for deep reflection. Ms. Jacoby’s interpretation seems much more likely.

  • BGone

    You had to go and say it, “Higher Father.” Those so “spaced out” in the zero gravities stand on their heads and think hell is UP.I’d bet a nickle Dubya now knows that “IT” Devil and not God, the “Higher Father” authority from whom he got his licnese for operation “just cause.”Now how about the other 299,999,999 Americans? Do they know yet Moses made a deal with Devil and not God? Have you done your part to inform them? It can be fun if it’s an evangelical and a lot more fun if it’s an evangelical minister, one of hell’s gold miners.That web address is

  • Mr Mark

    An excellent column.Would that our politicians and leaders thought so clearly!

  • Ashley C.

    Anonymous ~ It’s beside the point whether Bush truly believed God was speaking to him, or was simply using the those words as a way of saying that he meditated deeply on the matter and came to the conclusion to go to war himself. A(Although, I admit, I agree with Susan’s interpretation)The government we have works best when there isn’t a “decider” in power who makes up his mind, and regardless of any peer review or scientific reasoning, decides to start a war that effects the entire nation he leads. Sorry, but that isn’t so far from an action a King (absolute monarch) would take.Whether Bush thinks God is talking to him, or just believes that he has the ultimate power to make these decisions after “thinking deeply” as Anonymous puts it, we’re in trouble as a Democracy.

  • Gerry

    Mr. Anonymous,why so worked up? Bush himself was talking of the higher father to receive advice. Where is Susan’s lie? She is totally correct in her remark. I think it is the embarassment of people like you to have to admit to this outrageous nonsense of your bigot born-again president who is completely unapproachable by anything resembling reason, as is shown again these days.Gerry

  • BGone

    Ashley C, absolute monarchs get their authority to rule absolutely from God. I don’t beleive there has ever been one that didn’t. Hitler’s theoism is so strange most don’t recognize it as such but it’s there none the less.There’s a deep, ingrained psychology that has to be overcome before one can kill or order the taking of life. Thus hell. Those who take the lives of others or order that done have a fear their victims will be waiting in the next world to avenge themselves. Killers dilude themselves into thinking God wills their action. With God the victims are intercepted in route to the next world and cast into an eternal prison best known as hell. The killers are welcomed into God’s heaven.The average person has no feel for that because we don’t intend to kill. Soldiers in combat must overcome it to survive. Thus the expression, “there are no atheists on the battle field.”Knowing that allows us to think along with Mr Bush as he made the decision to go to war knowing that some if not many would die as a result and hold him personally liable. Did you notice that the Godless communists never launched the missiles?The connection of God and war has been noticed by great thinkers down through the ages. The ancient Egyptians documented what I said above and even drew pictures of hell in the form of a monster beast, Eater they named her, that ate their enemies completely out of existence.Of course that’s an easy dillusion to see and understand. They did just that and later invented the hell we know today, a prison of a sorts that now includes the greatest terror known to man, the fires of hell. Does the word “terror” ring any bells?

  • victoria

    it is simply amazing to me that ms. jacoby is so unaware of politics that she somehow turned this into a tirade against fundamentalists-im not a fundamentalist- have no sympathy for fundamentalism-but its a little deeper than that ms jacobyyou got somewhat sidetracked with your own agendasomehow- simplistically- she has reduced the entire thing to bush hearing god

  • VICTORIA

    All of the good points notwithstanding- George Bush took an oath to uphold the laws of the land when he went into office- and broke those laws with his illegal execution of this war- by not calling it a war if you recall.RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE WAR POWERS ACTSEC. 2. (b)CONSULTATIONSEC. 3.1) CONGRESS WAS NOT CONSULTEDPEACE

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    From the 9/11 Commission Report:The air strikes marked the climax of an intense 48-hour period in which Berger notified congressional leaders, the principals called their foreign counterparts, and President Clinton flew back from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to address the nation from the Oval Office. The President spoke to the congressional leadership from Air Force One, and he called British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from the White House.47 House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott initially supported the President. The next month, Gingrich’s office dismissed the cruise missile attacks as “pinpricks.”48 At the time, President Clinton was embroiled in the Lewinsky scandal, which continued to consume public attention for the rest of that year and the first months of 1999. As it happened, a popular 1997 movie, Wag the Dog, features a president who fakes a war to distract public attention from a domestic scandal. Some Republicans in Congress raised questions about the timing of the strikes. Berger was particularly rankled by an editorial in the Economist that said that only the future would tell whether the U.S. missile strikes had “created 10,000 new fanatics where there would have been none.”49 IMHO, with the scandal, Bin and his boys took a back seat on the priority list of Clinton’s list of things to do. Without the scandal, the “Wag the Dog” analogy would not have been an issue and the needed additional military steps to eliminate Bin and his elements would have been carried out.

  • Anonymous

    Ashley C,How would you feel if the President came right out and said something along these lines:”Human rights don’t come from the state, but from the hand of God. America has always been committed to human rights, and we will not permit their undoing anywhere in the world. To assure the survival and the success of liberty, we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, and oppose any foe. We ask God’s blessing and His help, but we know that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”Is this a statement of policy, or a moral imperative?If you would oppose such a declaration, would you have been equally opposed when President Kennedy uttered those words in his inaugural address?Do you decide the truth of things based on facts and evidence? If so, why are you so committed to an outlandish claim that is derived from an unobvious, unlikely and unproven interpretation of a single sentence?

  • jr

    (atheist)To anonymous:Those quotes are taken from interviews and speeches in which Bush was specifically addressing the invasion of Iraq. Woodward was asking Bush if he had consulted his father (meaning Senior Bush) on his decision to go to war (a reasonable question given that both president Bushes had begun wars with Iraq). Bush said no, he consulted with a higher father (and thereby implied that god told him “your war is okay”). In the second speech Bush was explaining his reasons to Americans for the Iraq invasion, (he was not demonstrating his knowledge of the Declaration of Independence). In these cases (and many others I did not quote) Bush made it quite clear that he felt that god endorsed the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, that god guided him in his decisions to invade, and that god was on the side of the americans. I doubt that Bush himself would object to anyone saying that Bush feels supported by god in his decisions to go to war. I am surprised that you debate this. jr

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    We are in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and every airport and dock in the USA and beyond for one simple reason, Bill Clinton chose to chase women and not terrorists.

  • Anonymous

    JR,Are you still the skeptic who demands rigorous, unambiguous, irrefutable empirical proof before accepting a proposition?Or, on the other hand, do you stand by an outlandish claim based on improbable and unprovable speculation?The fact that you prefer your own interpretation of the Woodward quote doesn’t make it so. Precisely what is the actual evidence to support that interpretation? By way of analogy: If I tell you that in considering marriage I “consulted” fifty friends, and tell you no more, how can you possibly know what percentage endorsed my ultimate decision? It could range from 100% down to zero.And if we’re going to engage in speculation about a conversation between the President and God, it is vastly more likely that the President pleaded for forgiveness than for an endorsement. Of course, I have no more evidence than you do, and vice versa.JR, you’re seriously shaking my “faith” in atheists. I knew I could rely on you guys for rigorous empirical analysis untainted by human emotion or prejudice. Don’t let me down!

  • Mr Mark

    Concerned The Christian Now Liberated sez:Now, there’s an unoriginal rewrite of history. If you Xians weren’t so hung up on sex, you might see things more clearly.Lets see: the WTC was bombed in 1993, barely a month after Clinton first took office. What happened to the terrorists who did that? Geez – they were all captured and prosecuted, and they’re now all sitting in jail.In 1996, Clinton urged Congress to pass new anti-terror legislation that would provide for chemical markers in explosives and to expand wiretaps. Clinton invited Republican leaders to meet with Leon Panetta to contribute “the very best ideas” on how to fight terrorism. The Republican response? Orrin Hatch called the chemical markers “a phony issue.” He also had problems with the wiretapping. Eventually, the legislation passed, but minus the wiretapping provisions (which were killed by Republicans) and with Republican exemptions for black and smokeless powder (two of the most-often used explosives in improvised devices). On 10/9/96, Clinton signed into law a bill that provided for a wide variety of terror-fighting measures, including increased baggage screening and airport security.Clinton took many actions to fight terrorism and was, in fact, obsessed with the issue.Why not do a little research on what Clinton really did to fight terrorists, rather than regurgitating RW lies (many RW lies about Clinton’s fight against terror were exposed by Snopes over 6 years ago. ) ?You might also try reading “The Clinton Wars” by Sidney Blumenthal and Richard Clarke’s “Against All Enemies” if you’re interested in finding out what really happened in the Clinton years.BTW – 9/11 HAPPENED ON BUSH’S WATCH.

  • Jihadist

    Robin and Mr. Mark on – Victoria’s writing style:)Some of us, including yours truly, are not native speakers of English. So pardon our English grammar and style. Speaking for myself, I have to sort out English from four other languages before I even open my mouth and/or write in it so I don’t mix up words and grammatical styles. I don’t know about Victoria, but she does write like e.e. cummings, and what’s wrong with that? Freedom of expression, creative freedom and such, no? As for the English native speakers, my level of English must be not up to par as I do have some comprehension difficulties with a few entries in the On Faith threads. Whether it is due to cultural or grammatical misunderstanding, only God knows. So, the fuss on language is as interesting as the fuss on issues being discussed. Misundertood language can and do cause wars after all :)

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Mark, your litany curiously omits the fact that Bubba heroically saved America from all those dangerous women and children terrorists down in Waco. Firebombin’ Bubba! Brave Bubba!Also omits this exchange: Sudan: Want bin Laden? Bubba: What say? Nah, we got a new batch o’ interns comin’ in who need inauguratin’ — if ya know what I mean!Credible source on Clinton: Blumenthal? Yeah, right.

  • Someone

    to mr markconsider if people were talking instead of writing. and victoria spoke with accent. would people ask her to speak properly english for it to be easily understood?

  • VICTORIA

    thank you jihadist you are so funny- i tell people that sometimes but really its based on don marquis’ archy the cockroach character- archy was a vers libre (free verse) poet like e e cummings-thanks i find it a silly way to avoid commenting on content and substance also-

  • Jihadist

    You’re welcomed Victoria. Don’t you dare doubt my Islamic credentials at all as a believer. As proof, during the Prophet Muhammad PBUH cartoon controversy, in protest against the Danish insensitive louts, I vigourously chewed on Danish pastries. Not one, but two! And no Danish Lurpak butter on them too. Helped down by American Starbucks cafe latte tall of course. It was a most satisfying form of protest. So there.

  • jr

    (atheist) (I have tried to read all of this blog, which has grown quickly. I may have missed something so please forgive me if this post is redundant.)Several people have asked for proof of Bush’s reliance on god in his decision to go to war. Here are a few quotes:Bob Woodward reported that he had asked Bush if he had consulted his father (Bush Senior) when he decided to go to war. “I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well no,’ and then he got defensive about it,” says Woodward. “And then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There’s a higher father that I appeal to.’”On April 13, 2004 Bush gave a news conference in which he said the following about his reasons for invading Iraq “I also have this…strong belief that freedom is not this country’s gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty’s gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.”As reported in the Lancaster PA newspaper in July of 2004, at a meeting with Amish farmers, Bush said, “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”So Susan Jacoby has not misrepresented Bush when she says that Bush believes he is guided by god…jr

  • Anonymous

    JR,Please go back and read what Jacoby actually said (has said at least a couple of times). She explicitly equates the Woodward quote (in which the President says he appealed for God’s help in making a decision of grave import) with the notion of claiming a divine mandate. If anyone can produce conclusive evidence of the latter, I’ll be happy to admit I’m wrong.Saying that I rely on God, or am guided by Him, or seek to do His will, is not even remotely comparable to saying that He approves of my actions (much less that He commanded them).Now, Ms. Jacoby knows this. She made a deliberately provocative statement for the sake of polemics. It’s fair to say that she simply lied.Your quote about God-given freedom is lifted directly from the Declaration of Independence, so if you have a quarrel, that quarrel is with Jefferson.I’m happy to concede that the Amish quote is weird. The simplest explanation is inartful wording on the part of our famously tongue-tied president. It certainly is unreasonable to impute more than that without having more context and corroboration.

  • Mr Mark

    Anonymous:The subject was terrorism. What does Waco have to do with terrorism? Here’s a thought – whenever we talk about Dubya’s efforts in the War on Terra, let’s make sure we include a paragraph or two about his drug and alcohol abuse. Surely, the fact that bush’s brain has been addled by drug abuse provides more of an insight into his decisions as president than does Clinton’s decision on Waco inform his actions in the fight against terrorism.”Also omits this exchange: Sudan: Want bin Laden? Bubba: What say? Nah…”You really believe the RW lies, don’t you? Why not read the 9/11 Commission Report which states emphatically that Clinton never passed up a chance to get bin Laden? In fact, it documents the heroic efforts the Clinton Administration made to fight terror. Compare Clinton’s efforts to those of bush in the same report and tell me what you think. Just because the RWNM (right-wing noise machine) says something it doesn’t make it true.”Credible source on Clinton: Blumenthal? Yeah, right.”Yes…Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have much more credibility than Blumenthal.Again – read the 9/11 Commission Report. Then, get back to me.

  • Ashley C.

    Anonymous listed in a previous post the reasons for going to war with Iraq, making the point that it wasn’t simply a matter of “God telling Pres. Bush to do so” (as I stated in one of my posts). Here’s what I think:Some of those reasons were valid at the time, and deserve serious discussion. YOu have no argument from me there. BUT, Pres. Bush chose not to discuss any of them when asked about going to war. He said that he spoke to God and is doing God’s will. Whether or not he actually spoke to God, or simply thought about the issue in religious terms, is beside the point.In that comment, the leader of our country chose to make a POLICY decision (which deserves all the scrutiny and analysis any administrative decision needs) into a MORAL issue. Over and over again this President has spoken of the war in terms of a moral duty as opposed to discussing the policy issues. I find this horribly offensive, and it brings us back to the topic of Ms. Jacoby’s article – Whose Justice and Whose War?Duncan- Thanks for pointing out that the Civil War was actually started for reasons beyond the slavery issue. When it comes to history we all have collective amnesia and forget the details, and only remember the results. While slavery was the grand moral issue to be resolved from that war….it was actually started over property and state’s rights.

  • victoria

    well obviously like Jesus(ata)- gossip is gossiptalking about the ideas that Jesus(ata) brought is just that

  • victoria

    HOLY CANNOLI BATMAN LET IT GO NORRIE!!!

  • Ashley C.

    Anon~You might be surprised, as I think you have me pegged as an unrepentive liberal, but I would object to the Kennedy quote as well. Kennedy is speaking from a moral standpoint, and asking the country to commit to a policy of imparting “justice” wherever injustice is found.While I think it’s fabulous and important to try and correct what’s wrong with the world, history bares me out when I claim that justice and peace don’t usually come from military and state action. Soon after Kennedy took office, in fact, he was faced with fighting Cuba in an attempt to stop Communism. Bay of Pigs – total disaster. In a previous post you stated a belief that it would be outrageous if any leader did not consult God before making a decision of this magnitude….and, well, that’s fine to have beliefs that help us through hard times. Truly it is. My argument is with using it as a way to say that God is on our side and therefore scrutiny is not needed. President Bush is not the only president guilty of this. You pointed that out with the Kennedy quote. Leaders shouldn’t be invocing God’s support in any military action. It’s hypocritical. Separation of Church and State, anyone?

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Victoria,You wrote:”tiny minds talk about people” Right, like Jesus?

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Victoria,Don’t know what I’m holding, but I’ll let it go if you will. Pretty sure it’s not a cannoli, though -I’m on a diet. I liked your nicely simple declarative sentence, though the capital letters didn’t impress.Best wishes.

  • jr

    (atheist, even on saturdays)To anonymous:I didn’t have a chance until now to provide the empirical evidence you requested in answer to your question “…your own interpretation of the Woodward quote doesn’t make it so. Precisely what is the actual evidence to support that interpretation?” That wasn’t my interpretation, it was the author’s (Bob Woodward’s). He had extensive access to Bush, interviewing him 4 times for his book, “Bush at War” (by the way, the White House loved this book, feeling that it provided a very favorable view of President Bush). Here is what Woodward’s wrote, both his quotes of Bush and his interpretation of Bush’s words:*************************************************Hope that clears it up for you – jr

  • Leo

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