Category Archives: Just War

Question from a viewer

Anyone have an answer to this? –Cammy

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Hello,
     I saw an interesting interview that a lady with your organization did with a gentleman named E. Michael Jones.  I really appreciated the interview, subscribed to the Youtube channel so I can see more, and read the manifesto and f.a.q. on your website.     

I am writing because I want to know if you know of anyone who has done a Catholic analysis of Proxy War.  I think that waging war by proxy poses a number of serious ethical issues that are relevant both to questions of Jus ad Bellumand Jus in Bello, which need to be analyzed separately from analyses of conventional war.  War by proxy seems to be the rule, and not the exception, and probably more so than at any other point in history (being what President Eisenhower cynically called “The cheapest insurance in the world”).  And while I do believe it is possible that a conventional war could be just, I have not been able to figure out whether war by proxy is malum in se.  I have strong suspicions that it is intrinsically evil.  If you can think of any articles or interviews that focus in this, and that could help me think through the many issues involved, I would be grateful to know.  If you can find someone with expertise, I dare to suggest that it would make a fascinating subject for an interview.  But I do not know of any Catholic moral theologians who have dealt with this issue.  If you find or know of any, please let me know.  And thank you for the work you are doing; these are important conversations that will have to continue to go on for as long as boys become men.  I am a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, though thanks to God not a veteran of war (as I do not believe that the wars fought in my lifetime have been just).       Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, [anonymous]

Email from a Viewer

Hi,

I’m enjoying your podcast and I particularly liked your interviews with Mike (EMJ) and Captain Carmody even though the latter was harrowing at times. There is another podcast on the Nick Turse book called “Kill Anything That Moves” that exposed what happened in Vietnam and the farcical My Lai “enquiry” which was using the truth to hide the wider truth and that was similar to the exposure of the “Abu Garib” torture incidents in Iraq. The lads discuss the conflicts of the 20th century using an unbiased and objective approach and, in the case of Yugoslavia, they get some of it wrong but most is accurate. I just thought it might be of interest to you (see youtube link). 

I’m reading a book at the moment entitled “The Remnants of War” by John Mueller that was written just after the Iraq and Afghanistan military interventions. Mueller proposes the contention that War between civilized nations is becoming less “popular” to such an extent that it’s becoming an anachronism. Mueller is a former (I think) policy maker who’s at Ohio University, (I think) where he lectures, and his book is preposterous because the glaring contradictions in the book with events back when it was written make his premise completely absurd. However it is useful in gaining an insight into these people’s ideas and thoughts which are fixated on World War 2 mythology. They want to present a picture to the public where Anglo America and the allies are the good guys and the enemy is “Hitler”. In Mueller’s book he wanted to portray Anglo America as part of a global police force helping to manage Governments all over the World to “police” the “thugs and outlaws” who “cause trouble”. I suppose that involves outrageous ideas like having an independent country and “stuff” like that.

My advice is to find out if World War 2, and indeed the previous War and the Spanish intervention etc were necessary. They came nowhere near meeting the conditions for Just War. The World War 2 myth is the most pervasively used lie and I recommend you to explore what really went on. Hitler had sued for peace and Churchill agreed and the decision to go to War wasn’t saving anyone apart from Churchill’s house. David Irving is controversial but he is undoubtedly an excellent historian and he uses genuine documentation and archived records. The myth of World War 2 continues to prevail and that’s deadly for all of us. That’s at the root cause of continued misadventures that have cost lives and disastrous consequences for the entire World. Hope you continue to seek the truth, raise consciousness and make people see that violence is counter productive and destructive for all who engage in it. Good luck with the podcast.

Tim’s podcasts are good too

Thanks

Attachments areaPreview YouTube video Kill Anything that Moves – My Lai and the Vietnam Death Squads (Myth20c – Ep112)Kill Anything that Moves – My Lai and the Vietnam Death Squads (Myth20c – Ep112)Preview YouTube video Nick Mason on the Cost and Consequences of U.S. InterventionismNick Mason on the Cost and Consequences of U.S. Interventionism

Christians and the Temptations of Nationalism

“When in the 1950s I asked my (then orthodox and rigidly catechized) American Catholic students: ‘Are you an American who happens to be a Catholic, or are you a Catholic who happens to be an American?’ all of them chose the former.”

“When Germany invaded Russia, Hitler ex­pected Catholics to support his ‘crusade’ against atheistic Bolshevism. No matter how wrong the ideas and the practices of Commu­nism, Jaegerstaetter said, this was but another invasion wrought upon innocent people. There was nothing in the practices and doctrines of Nazism that was preferable to those of Communism.”

The following article is very relevant to our times even though it was written in 1992. It is reposted with the kind permission of the folks at the New Oxford Review — D.F.

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The “God and Country” Trap

Christians and the Temptations of Nationalism

By John Lukacs
November 1992

John Lukacs is Professor of History at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and a Contributing Editor of the NOR. His latest book is The Duel, 10 May-31 July 1940: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler.

This article is adapted with permission of Ticknor & Fields from his book The End of the Twentieth Century, forthcoming in early 1993.

The decline of religion, and of the influ­ence of the churches, became more and more evident during the 18th century, at the end of which it seemed as if that decline were irre­versible. (In 2,000 years of history, the prestige of the papacy was never as low as in 1799.) Then there came an unexpected Catholic and ultramontane revival; but the decline, by and large, went on during the 19th century, and continued during the 20th. Even some atheists and agnostics regretted this on occasion: Orwell once wrote that the greatest loss for Western civilization was the vanishing of the belief in the immortality of the soul. That is a difficult subject, because it is not as ascertain­able how men and women (how, rather than how much) believed in the immortality of the soul 250 years ago. But Orwell was right when he wrote that faith and credulity are different things.

Most people (including intellectuals, theo­logians, ecclesiastical historians) think that the decline of religious belief has been due to the rise of the belief in science. That may have been true in the 19th century, but even then the evidence is not clear. The decline of re­ligious belief did not necessarily correspond to the rise of belief in science. Samuel Butler’s vehement rejection of Darwin did not lead to the recovery of his religion. Henry Adams’s discovery of the Virgin did not lead to his re­jection of his own mechanistic-deterministic view of history. Now, at the end of the 20th century, many people respect religion as well as science, together; but respect for the former is faint. This has something to do with the fact that we have declined to a stage lower than hypocrisy, the problem being no longer the difference between what people say and what they believe; now the difference seems to be between what people think they believe and what they really believe.

Actually, the great threat to religious faith in our time — more precisely, to the quality and meaning of faith — is nationalism. The democratization of the churches has led to that; but that is only secondary to the demo­cratization of entire societies. The primary element is that the religion of the nation, the sentimental symbols of the nation, are more powerful than religious faith, especially when they are commingled. Nationalism, I repeat, is the only popular religio (religion: binding be­lief) in our times. That won’t last forever; but there it is. Continue reading

What would you do if…?

Oftentimes, when people ask me about my thoughts on abortion, they phrase it as a hypothetical situation. This is from a recent email that someone wrote to me:

To use an extreme example, a woman is raped, the doctor knows the
child will have severe down syndrome.  The state, whatever state, is
unlikely to care of the child.  Should that woman not be allowed to
have an abortion?

Or a single woman of no resources is to produce a child in an african
country with no reasonable expectation of adoptability and will be
prevented from having the education that might allow her to prosper.
Should that woman not be allowed to have an abortion?

Do not think that I am making fun of these questions, as they are fair and serious and should be taken seriously. Most importantly, they were asked with goodwill.

However, I can’t help but notice the same pattern of questioning when people in the Christian Just War / Just Defense camp ask me about what they call “pacifism.” This is a tongue-and-cheek video that does a good job of showing (though not explaining) what is wrong with logic that is based on hypotheticals: It’s not really logic at all.

An Invitation to Metanoia

This is an excellent historical overview of American Catholicism and the last 100 years with respect to war, a pro-life issue.

An Invitation to Re-think 100 Years of Catholic Support for War

On April 6, 1917 the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of President Wilson’s war resolution and the U.S. entered WWI.  On April 18, while meeting as the trustees of Catholic University (CU), two Cardinals and six Archbishops signed a letter which was delivered to Wilson by James Cardinal Gibbons. In the most effusively patriotic language possible, it promised all out support of U.S. Catholics for Wilson and the war.

That promise was kept.  Three cardinals, including Gibbons, set up a general “Convention” of Catholics which took place at CU on August 11-12. “There were present official representatives, clerical and lay, from sixty-eight dioceses…twenty-seven national Catholic organizations and also of the entire Catholic press…In November, the Archbishops of the United States constituted themselves the National Catholic War Council. “  (Handbook of the NCWC, pages 8,10) The NCWC is considered the predecessor of today’s  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops  (USCCB), making 2017 its centenary year.
The Opening Mass for this year’s Fall Assembly of the USCCB took place at the Baltimore Basilica on Sunday, November 12, 2017.  Far from eschewing their origin as a war council, the liturgy booklet prepared for the centenary celebration reprinted Cardinal Gibbons’ November 21, 1917 “Letter to the U.S. Hierarchy Requesting their Assent to the National Catholic War Council.”  In the letter Gibbons wrote, “This war offers us, indeed, the grandest opportunity in all history of inspiring our men with religion.”  ….Continue Reading

Bishop Barron’s Clever Dismissal

The following was written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy:

Friends,

This eight minute video presentation by Bishop Robert Barron is an example of the clever dismissal of Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, which the average Catholic is subjected to ceaselessly in thousands of different ways by the violence justifying institutional Church through its senior personnel and its various avenues of communication. It is a example of the traditional ecclesiastical tactic of damning Gospel Nonviolence by faint praise, saying—in stark opposition to Jesus’ “new commandment”—that all sane minded, realistic Christians certainly do not want all Christians to be nonviolent, although it is nice to have a few Christians around who follow that Way in order to remind us what heaven will be like.

https://youtu.be/Y-0z2m_NtS8

In this video Cardinal George and Bishop Barron have strayed a long way from what  Jesus teaches in the Gospels. Their statements equating celibacy with Gospel Nonviolence are erroneous and meant to teach the majority of Christians to ignore Jesus’ teaching of nonviolence, while they give it a backhanded tribute.

To undo some of their obfuscation it must be stated without equivocation that celibacy is not the will of God as revealed by Jesus in the Gospels, but Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is. Celibacy is an option within the will of God as revealed by Jesus. Violence and enmity— the quintessential components of every war—are explicitly rejected as options within the will of God as revealed by Jesus, who is God Incarnate. Contrary to Bishop Barron’s talk rejecting Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies in imitation of Jesus is not an option granted to any Christian by Jesus. The analogy of Barron and George comparing celibacy with Jesus’ teaching on nonviolence is an invalid, self-serving, misleading and anti-evangelical effort. It appears to be the work not of two learned Christians who do not know that Nonviolent Love is a teaching of Jesus applicable to all Christians at all times, but rather the work of two highly educated Christians who do not want to know and/or to admit it, and who want to proselytize others into following a non-existing just war Jesus as they follow a never existing just war Jesus—as if there were spiritual safety in numbers.

Their duplicitousness in proselytizing is chilling because while comparing nonviolence in the Church to celibacy in the Church and simultaneously effusively praising both, their statements in the minds of most Catholics, marginalize to the position of useful Catholic gadflies, those who proclaim Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolence Love of friends and enemies. Their statements are intended to obscure or undermine the fact that those who proclaim Gospel Nonviolence are proclaiming, not an optional Church discipline, but rather an essential dimension of God, of Divine Love, of that power, the only power, which in truth saves. As the Catholic Biblical scholar, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie, wrote in his book The Power and the Wisdom (Imprimatur, 1966), “The power which destroys all other powers is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else… Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did.”

-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

P.S. Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in following the Way of Nonviolence was not following Gandhi, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day as Robert Barron claims. He was following Jesus. There is an infinite difference between following the Creator and following another creature like yourself.

Just War, by Murray Rothbard

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.

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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.