Sunday, December 27, 2015

Unjust war and consequences

Robert P. George, Mary Ann Glendon And Katrina Lantos Swett in the Philadelphia Inquirer, demanding that the US State Department declare that a genocide is under way against Iraqi Christians --

More than a decade ago, more than one million Christians lived in Iraq alone. Thanks in part to ISIS, fewer than 300,000 remain. If ISIS's goal is eradicating their presence, it is well on its way to success.

There's a lot buried in that "thanks in part to ISIS." Because the real calamity for Iraq's Christians was the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Here's the same Robert George writing in 2002 (Wall Street Journal)  in support of that war under Catholic "just war" doctrine --

There is no absolute moral principle forbidding the use of force to dismantle a tyrannical regime. The question requires prudential judgment. If a regime's aggression cannot be prevented without removing the regime, then force may licitly be used to remove it.

The prudential judgment at the time would have and should have included the impact of the war on Iraq's religious minorities, not least given Saddam's favourable disposition towards Iraq's Christian population. It's a bit late now to be calling for a bureaucratic declaration to mitigate the damage of a reckless piece of statecraft.

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