Apostle Paul wrote, “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.” We should strive to maintain peace but only to the extent that others are willing to be fellow collaborators for peace.
We were justified in striking Libya in 1986. After a cooling off period, the US actively sought to reestablish a relationship with a man who has American blood on his hands. Our country has already offered an olive branch. Gaddafi is responsible for terrorizing Americans and is today terrorizing his own people. It is absolutely just to strike Libyan regime targets to try and protect people from slaughter.
If a nation’s army strikes us, we are justified in hitting back harder than their initial blow. When a terrorist is successful, we are justified in targeting their organization’s training camp, the governments, and the individuals who assist them. When a government uses military force to silence political opposition, the citizens have a right to defend their fundamental freedoms – rebellion – and the world is justified in intervening, even more so when we are asked to provide emergency assistance. A crippling display of military firepower is sometimes the only way to end an assault on our country, our allies, and people who seek freedom and are willing to die for it.
Surely, the scope of our intervention must be justified and each situation calls for a tailored response. Our country must weigh how much we are willing to sacrifice to defend others. War or military force is not always the best option, but many times it is the only option. The theory of jus ad bellum, the right to wage war, centers on the crucial prong of force as the last resort.
Muammar Gaddafi had time to embrace a ceasefire and halt the advancement of troops loyal to his regime. The Libyan Army commanders had an opportunity to quit. Instead, Gaddafi vowed to show “no mercy” to his opponents and his military continues to follow his commands. While a threat of military intervention may lead some leaders to reconsider their actions, it did not work with this “mad dog.” We cannot threaten the use of military force if we are not prepared to use it. Military intervention is a solution to immediate threats and simultaneously a deterrent to those in authority who have not lost the capability to reason.
Jesus said to the Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper that, “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” There are times when the “sword” is the only useful assistance our country can offer to those in urgent need.
Is it possible that to follow the Parable of the Good Samaritan we must utilize the military capabilities our country is blessed to posses? I think so.
“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”