A classic essay, “Just War,” in which Murray Rothbard addresses the American Civil War in a different light, which is relevant to the “conversation” happening right now about Civil War monuments. He talks about classic international law and the replacement of it by “humanitarian” war.
The cause of “human rights” is precisely the critical argument by which, in retrospect, Abraham Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression against the South is justified and even glorified. The “humanitarian” goes forth and rights the wrong of slavery, doing so through mass murder, the destruction of institutions and property, and the wreaking of havoc which has still not disappeared.
For in this War Between the States, the South may have fought for its sacred honor, but the Northern war was the very opposite of honorable. We remember the care with which the civilized nations had developed classical international law. Above all, civilians must not be targeted; wars must be limited. But the North insisted on creating a conscript army, a nation in arms, and broke the 19th-century rules of war by specifically plundering and slaughtering civilians, by destroying civilian life and institutions so as to reduce the South to submission. Sherman’s infamous March through Georgia was one of the great war crimes, and crimes against humanity, of the past century-and-a-half. Because by targeting and butchering civilians, Lincoln and Grant and Sherman paved the way for all the genocidal honors of the monstrous 20th century. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about memory, about never forgetting about history as retroactive punishment for crimes of war and mass murder. As Lord Acton, the great libertarian historian, put it, the historian, in the last analysis, must be a moral judge. The muse of the historian, he wrote, is not Clio, but Rhadamanthus, the legendary avenger of innocent blood. In that spirit, we must always remember, we must never forget, we must put in the dock and hang higher than Haman, those who, in modern times, opened the Pandora’s Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians: Sherman, Grant, and Lincoln.
Indeed, there is a vital critical difference between the two unjust causes we have described: the British and the North. The British, at least, were fighting on behalf of a cause which, even if wrong and unjust, was coherent and intelligible: that is, the sovereignty of a hereditary monarch. What was the North’s excuse for their monstrous war of plunder and mass murder against their fellow Americans? Not allegiance to an actual, real person, the king, but allegiance to a nonexistent, mystical, quasi-divine alleged entity, “the Union.” The King was at least a real person, and the merits or demerits of a particular king or the monarchy in general can be argued. But where is “the Union” located? How are we to gauge the Union’s deeds? To whom is this Union accountable?
The Union was taken, by its Northern worshipers, from a contractual institution that can either be cleaved to or scrapped, and turned into a divinized entity, which must be worshipped, and which must be permanent, unquestioned, all-powerful. There is no heresy greater, nor political theory more pernicious, than sacralizing the secular. But this monstrous process is precisely what happened when Abraham Lincoln and his northern colleagues made a god out of the Union. If the British forces fought for bad King George, the Union armies pillaged and murdered on behalf of this pagan idol, this “Union,” this Moloch that demanded terrible human sacrifice to sustain its power and its glory.
Father Daniel: “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad. It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed. Do you think that the Syrian people are stupid? Do you think those people were forced to cheer for Assad and Putin? It is the Americans who have a hand in all of this, for pipelines and natural resources in this region and to thwart Putin.”
Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to establish a Sunni state in Syria, without religious freedom. Therefore, Assad must go. You know, when the Syrian army was preparing for the battle in Aleppo, Muslim soldiers came to me to be blessed. Between ordinary Muslims and Christians, there is no problem. It is those radical Islamic, Western-backed rebels who want to massacre us. They are all al Qaeda and IS. There are not any moderate fighters anymore.”
The following was written by Mark Scibilia-Carver
Dear Pope Francis,
Greetings from Trumansburg, New York and Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish.
Many U.S. Catholics agree with your assessment that we are already in the midst of World War III, given the open, covert and proxy wars that are ongoing. The U.S. is the world’s greatest arms merchant and has bombed, invaded and occupied Muslim countries for at least the last 25 years. This “jubilee of mercilessness” is motivated by the greed and arrogance of the wealthy who covet the world’s resources. These wars have resulted in the deaths of millions of poor souls, to mention one of the costs. There is no doubt that thousands of women have been killed, along with their children, including the unborn.
No one should be surprised that a group like ISIS has arisen to resist this “crusade” of the west but it is the U.S. with its military that is, by far, the world’s greatest terrorist.
Please note that this February 15 marks 87 years since the death of Benjamin Joseph Salmon, a Catholic of Denver, Colorado. Ben Salmon refused to fight and kill his “brothers” in WWI years before Gandhi, Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, Dorothy Day or Martin Luther King. For his conscientious objection to a war in which millions of baptized Christians killed each other, he was first sentenced to death and later to 25 years in prison. After 2 ½ years in prison he wrote a 235 page treatise based on his Catholic faith and his reading of Christian scripture and concluded that there was “no such animal as a just war”. This treatise and much more can be seen at www.bensalmon.org.
February 19 is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel is Matthew 5: 38-48, from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus commands that we love our enemies. The same command is pronounced twice in Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. Both sermons end with Jesus insisting that his disciples put these commands into action.
The U.S. has seen the rise of a peculiar “Christian” fascism in support of our imperial wars. This is a time that seems right to place the light and truth of Jesus’ nonviolence on a lamp stand and not under a bushel basket. Pope Benedict was right, “it is no longer licit to even speak of a just war.” Pope St. John Paul II was right, “violence is a lie”. You were right, “to be a true follower today, it is necessary to embrace Jesus’ nonviolence” Now we need more than words. We need an authoritative teaching of the gospel truth. The teaching must be so clear that our Catholic youth, who are constantly targeted for military recruitment, cannot mistake it.
As you already know the nonviolent truth about Jesus, please consider February 19 as the day to give an ex cathedra teaching to end the “just war” era of Catholicism! With Jesus and the Gospel there is no justified killing, no “just war.”
In solidarity with the suffering such a witness will entail,
John F. Kennedy’s Commencement Address, June, 6, 2013:
“Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament–and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitude–as individuals and as a Nation–for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward–by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the cold war and toward freedom and peace here at home…
Let us reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims–such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars . . . that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union . . . [and that] the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries . . . [and] to achieve world domination . . . by means of aggressive wars.”
Truly, as it was written long ago: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.” Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements–to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning–a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.”
In his message for the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Peace.
“To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.”
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE FIFTIETH WORLD DAY OF PEACE, 1 JANUARY 2017: Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace