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Civilians killed in today’s war
Again last week the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan had to apologize for killing civilians. The air strike was intended to kill Taliban soldiers but killed 18 women, children and old men who had gathered for a wedding party.
Recently I read a brief article by a student getting his PhD in moral theology at Marquette University about the “just war theory of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas and how it may apply today. St. Augustine lived in the 4th century and St. Thomas Aquinas in the 14th century. However, he failed to mention that the word ‘war’ had a whole other meaning in the 4th and 13th century. War was basically hand to hand combat. There were no automatic weapons or even guns, no bombs, airplanes, missiles or drones. To take a theory of war from a time when war was not the same as modern war seems absurd. However, even President Obama, according to a recent New York Times article uses the just war theory of St. Augustine and St. Thomas to justify his secret “kill list.’’
Some years ago I heard a retired Philosophy of ethics teacher at Marquette University describe the just war theory as being exploded with the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima. I have a friend who says to be a true Christian, follower of Christ, you cannot justify any war or killing. I thought his view extreme but as I see more and more senseless killings on our city streets and more killing of civilians and wounds and suicides of our soldiers I tend to turn more and more in this direction.
I call myself a ‘want to be pacifist’ , one who opposes war and violence. However the more I see how war and violence only leads to more war and violence and find no justification for modern ‘war’ as we know it, I find myself moving to my friend’s position seeing all war and violence opposes the teaching and practice of the Way of Jesus. There is No More Just War.