Daily Archives: June 24, 2011

Doctrine Of War Made Easy

Gustave Dore', "Godfrey enters Jerusalem"

I have found here an excerpt from an excellent Moral Theology course. The work has both imprimatur and nihil obstat and comes – crucially – from times largely not polluted from false theology and “new times/new men/new rules” illusions, the safest indication of the heresy of Modernism.

If you take the time to read the entire piece – which, if you ask me, you should do as these questions pop up again and again in international relationships, in the media, and even at the pub – you will understand both the reasonableness and orthodoxy of this script, and the scandal that it would cause to the modern generation of wannabe pacifists; many of them, alas, clergymen.

I will proceed to mention some of the points more in conflict with modern “peace worshiping” thinking. Again, I suggest that the piece is read and understood in its entirety.

1. There is just war and unjust war.

2. A just war can be an offensive war, and still be just. It can even be a preventive war, and still be just.

3. Bits and pieces from the Gospel cannot be taken as justification for a pacifist agenda.

4. When the evil of toleration is worse than the evil of war, the evil of war can be chosen (1386).

5. To wage war a country doesn’t have to be entirely on the right side, but its right must be strongly prevalent. It’s not that the Crusades would have been illegitimate just because Christians might have had their faults.

6. War may be waged in defence of a weaker nation, attacked (say: Korea war, Vietnam war) (1390)

7. It is not allowed to wage war just to export Christianity. It is allowed to wage war to defend Christianity and Christians. “No war ever had a more legitimate cause than the Crusades, which were undertaken to defend the Christian religion against the unspeakable atrocities of infidels” (1391)

8. It extreme cases, though, war can be waged to put an end to unspeakable atrocities, like cannibalism or human sacrifice (1391)

9. It is lawful to wage war to bring peace and prosperity to uncivilised populations constantly at war with each other. It is not lawful, though, to attack an organised and peaceful country for the sake of colonial expansion. Note here the laudable use of the politically incorrect word “uncivilised”.

10. It is immoral to fight to obtain a stalemate. The only morally justified war is the war fought to win.

11. Sacred (or neutral, I add) buildings are legitimate military targets, if used for military operation. Points in case: German snipers on French tower bells; Iraqi rebels shooting from the roof of hospitals; Hamas fighters hiding in kindergartens.

12. Collateral damage is explicitly allowed (1406, 1410). “[..] it is lawful to bombard the fortifications, arsenals, munition works, and barracks of a town, to sink passenger liners that are carrying arms or stores to the enemy, to cut off food supplies from a town or country in order to starve out its troops, although these measures will entail the deaths of some civilians as well as of combatants“. However, every effort must be made to minimise these casualties.

13. “According to natural law, it is lawful to kill or wound the enemy in battle, or to starve him by blockade, just as it is lawful in self-defense to kill or wound an unjust aggressor”. This is interesting as a blockade will in practice almost never only affect combatants. The typical sieges of past ages come to mind; or the Napoleonic “Continental blockade”; or the possible (and never put in practice) blockade of Japan in 1945.

14. Reprisal is allowed under certain circumstances. “For example, if the enemy, contrary to agreement, uses poison gas in warfare, it is lawful to use poison gas against him”; but not if this is opposed to natural law: “if the enemy murders the civil population, this does not justify one in murdering enemy citizens who are in one’s power” 1417).

15. Si vis pacem, para bellum. “Reasonable preparedness is not only lawful, but a duty of the state to its own people”. (1426). This must be accompanied by a factual effort to preserve peace (1427).

There is only one article in the extremely clear and well formulated exposition which in my eyes requires further comment: article 1400, which examines the “modern world” and states that in the present circumstances only the need for survival can justify war, and the delegation of sovereign powers to declare war to supra national organisation (say: NATO, UNO) is a step which helps prevent war.

This is clearly said in view of the conditions of the times (1958), when “war” was -wrongly- largely perceived as “nuclear war” or “world war” at the very least, as clearly referenced in the words “enormous destruction of modern war”. It is absolutely clear that a relatively minor controversy (say: Italy’s claims on Istria) does not justify the potential risk of a nuclear holocaust, or of mass bombardments.

Fifty years later, we can safely say that “modern war” is in nothing different from “ancient war”; that, if anything, modern wars are more and more similar to the wars of past centuries; that the typical war scenario of nowadays doesn’t comprise mass bombardments, much less nuclear holocausts, but rather a series of intermittent, small-scale engagements with a diffused enemy either using guerrilla tactics, or operating in small units. Afghanistan, Iraq after the end of the main military operations, Lebanon 2006, Libya 2011 all follow this pattern, and it is now not uncommon for a Western country like the United Kingdom to be employed in one or two conflict stages at the same time, as it was at the time of the British Empire, without anyone fearing world wars or nuclear confrontations.

It is, though, a weakness of the analysis to identify “modern war” with “enormous destruction”. The equation was never true other than in the popular imagination, and in the Fifties many local conflicts were ongoing that didn’t justify the equation at all. To speak to the British readers, only during 1956 the British Army was involved in three military campaigns: in Kenya against the Mau-Mau, in Cyprus against the marxist guerrilla, and in the Suez campaign; mind, I might be forgetting something. War has always been a much more diffuse affair than the pacifist rhetoric wants you to believe.

My suggestion is to read this brilliant piece of moral theology; but at the same time, to always be extremely cautious every time you get the suggestion that “modern times” would require to……  change the rules. If humanity had changed, Christ would be past “best before” date.

Men don’t change, and God’s rules don’t change either.


Perversions, Truth, And Politics

Beato Angelico, "Matrimonio della Vergine"

On Crisis Magazine there is an interesting contribution from a US sociologist and – interestingly – Democratic politician, David R. Carlin. I’d like to start from his article, and develop a bit.

Mr Carlin has spent 25 years of his life arguing against so-called homosexual “marriages”; but, in the typical lack of clarity – or of courage – of the politician, he has carefully avoided to solidly base his arguments on their natural basis: the religious one.

This strategy is never going to work, and now Mr Carlin himself admits that he has seen the light. In fact, you can’t argue against homosexuality without even indirectly calling religious values at your defence. Every “non-religious” argument (he mention a long list of them, like the one that marriage was instituted for the begetting of children or that if everyone can “marry”, marriage loses significance) becomes totally devoid of logic is the religious basis of the reasoning is disregarded.

If marriage is not a religious institution, there’s no reason on earth why marriage should not be modified to comprise, say, the raising of cats and dogs, or the marriage between men and goats. If marriage is not based on religion, it has no importance whatsoever what “significance” marriage has, as every significance with which the voters are OK should be good enough. That a child needs a father and a mother will be questioned by those who think that a man can be a woman, and it will also have to be explained how it is that widows aren’t forced to remarry; and so on. In short, there’s no argument against homo marriage that can avoid the only argument against homosexual behaviour: namely, that it’s a perverted behaviour condemned by God.

Mr Carlin honestly admits that the fear of being called “homophobic” was a motive in his avoiding to play the only real card – remember, this is a politician! -. But this is also a non-argument, as the homo mafia will call “homophobic” everyone who doesn’t completely agree with them anyway. Already the idea that one should go into an argument afraid of how his opponent might call him shows all the ineffectiveness of such approach.

Just as ineffective and, in the ultimate analysis, naive is the argument that one doesn’t want to upset relatives or friends who are perverted. One can’t pick relatives, but one can pick friends. I ain’t one of those with the “some of my best friends are homosexual” argument because if one is an unrepentant homosexual, he has as much of a chance of becoming my friend than he had if he were openly pedophile, or given to bestiality. As to the relatives, it is clear that the “sensitive” Mr Carter is putting his own comfort before the soul of people he loves; which might be convenient (before one dies, that is), but is certainly not charitable.

It is time, then, for every opponent of homosexual behaviour to get at the root of the problem: that homosexuality is a perversion, and homosexual behaviour cries to heaven for vengeance. And why it is so? Because God says so. And why do you say that God says so? Because Scripture and Tradition both say so. Because it has always been the teaching of the Only Church. Because for all these years not only Catholics, but even Protestants had enough sense to get it.

The idea that a pervert should be persuaded that he is wrong by the sheer force of logical arguments fails in front of the simple fact that perversion doesn’t listen to logic. The idea that you can point out to a pervert that his behaviour is a perverted one without offending him is just as naive.

We as a society must simply get rid of this cretinous idea that everyone has the right of never listening to anything by which he may be offended.

Until we do this and start to assert the Christian basis of our values, our arguments will be – as Mr Carlin has discovered – ultimately ineffective.


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