From: Ellen (209-165-40-134.jps.net -188.8.131.52)
Subject: I thought this post was worth reading again.
Date: January 20, 2004 at 12:41 pm PST
From: Simu (h-68-164-61-191.lsanca54.covad.net)
Subject: George Bush (the christian) and Jimmy Carter (the christian)
Date: March 10, 2003 at 1:06 am PST
Published on Sunday, March 9, 2003 by the New York Times
Just War — or a Just War?
by Jimmy Carter
ATLANTA — Profound changes have been taking place in American foreign policy,
reversing consistent bipartisan commitments that for more than two centuries have
earned our nation greatness. These commitments have been predicated on basic
religious principles, respect for international law, and alliances that resulted in wise
decisions and mutual restraint. Our apparent determination to launch a war against Iraq,
without international support, is a violation of these premises.
As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I
became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a
substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost
universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few
spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their
commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology.
For a war to be just, it must meet several clearly defined criteria.
The war can be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted. In the
case of Iraq, it is obvious that clear alternatives to war exist. These options — previously
proposed by our own leaders and approved by the United Nations — were outlined again
by the Security Council on Friday. But now, with our own national security not directly
threatened and despite the overwhelming opposition of most people and governments
in the world, the United States seems determined to carry out military and diplomatic
action that is almost unprecedented in the history of civilized nations. The first stage of
our widely publicized war plan is to launch 3,000 bombs and missiles on a relatively
defenseless Iraqi population within the first few hours of an invasion, with the purpose
of so damaging and demoralizing the people that they will change their obnoxious
leader, who will most likely be hidden and safe during the bombardment.
The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants.
Extensive aerial bombardment, even with precise accuracy, inevitably results in
"collateral damage." Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of American forces in the
Persian Gulf, has expressed concern about many of the military targets being near
hospitals, schools, mosques and private homes.
Its violence must be proportional to the injury we have suffered. Despite Saddam
Hussein's other serious crimes, American efforts to tie Iraq to the 9/11 terrorist attacks
have been unconvincing.
The attackers must have legitimate authority sanctioned by the society they profess to
represent. The unanimous vote of approval in the Security Council to eliminate Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction can still be honored, but our announced goals are now to
achieve regime change and to establish a Pax Americana in the region, perhaps
occupying the ethnically divided country for as long as a decade. For these objectives,
we do not have international authority. Other members of the Security Council have so
far resisted the enormous economic and political influence that is being exerted from
Washington, and we are faced with the possibility of either a failure to get the necessary
votes or else a veto from Russia, France and China. Although Turkey may still be enticed
into helping us by enormous financial rewards and partial future control of the Kurds
and oil in northern Iraq, its democratic Parliament has at least added its voice to the
worldwide expressions of concern.
The peace it establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists. Although there
are visions of peace and democracy in Iraq, it is quite possible that the aftermath of a
military invasion will destabilize the region and prompt terrorists to further jeopardize
our security at home. Also, by defying overwhelming world opposition, the United States
will undermine the United Nations as a viable institution for world peace.
What about America's world standing if we don't go to war after such a great
deployment of military forces in the region? The heartfelt sympathy and friendship
offered to America after the 9/11 attacks, even from formerly antagonistic regimes, has
been largely dissipated; increasingly unilateral and domineering policies have brought
international trust in our country to its lowest level in memory. American stature will
surely decline further if we launch a war in clear defiance of the United Nations. But to
use the presence and threat of our military power to force Iraq's compliance with all
United Nations resolutions — with war as a final option — will enhance our status as a
champion of peace and justice.
Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, is chairman of the Carter Center
in Atlanta and winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.