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An Unjust War

Herb Schmidt, to a Santa Cruz Town Meeting (4/6/03)

Since the time of Augustine religious leaders and people of good will have reflected on which wars might be legitimate under the “just war theory”. Our invasion of Iraqi fails on all counts.

A legitimate war must be for a just cause. A regime change in another sovereign county is not a just cause. Lust for another country's oil resources is not a just cause. To change the political landscape of a certain region of the world is not a just cause. To defend your own country from an aggressor is a just cause, but this war is not about that!

A just war must be the last resort. The UN had over 100 functioning weapon inspectors on the ground in Iraq. Enforced no fly zones in the north and southern part of Iraq were in affect. Iraq was destroying its missiles which went 15 miles too far. No weapons of mass destruction were found and the UN itself wanted to contain Iraq with continued inspections. This war was not the last resort.

A just war should be authorized by legitimate authority. Only the UN had the legitimate authority to authorize such a war. Under our own constitution only congress can declare war. Both the President and our congress failed in their pledge to defend the constitution of the United States. CIA falsified documents did not give authority. This war was not authorized by the legitimate authority.

A just war must have the probability of success. While we might win a relatively easy pyrrhic military victory, that 's not the end of the story. The cost to rebuild Iraq, to occupy it might demand as many as 100,000 American troops and hundreds of billions and could last for years.

The war does not meet the test of proportionality. Is there likely a greater evil that might occur than by not going to war? The anger and hatred generated among Arabs and other people in our world will result in greater terrorism and threats to our own national security. An occupied Iraq will lead to destabilization in the region and among the different groups of people within Iraq. This war does not pass the test of proportionality.

To be a just war there should no civilian targets. While shock and awe pyrotechnics might be interesting to look at, the blood and guts of mutilated human beings on the ground cry out to heaven for revenge. It is impossible to wage this type of war without killing thousands of innocent civilians.

Finally from my point of view this war does not address the primary cause of unrest in the Middle East. If Bush had gone to the UN and demanded that Israel abide by UN resolutions in the same way he demand Iraq comply we would be on the road to peace. The While Elephant in the room is the illegal and oppressive occupation of Palestinian land and people by the Israelis. This leads to suicide bombings and insecurity for all in the region. It is as destructive for Israelis as for Palestinians. Just last week in the supplemental budget to support the war Israel was given 10 billion and only 2.5 billion to rebuild Iraq and only 50 million to the Palestinians. Our uncritical support and continued lavish economic support for Israel must stop before the violence in Israel becomes a microcosm for our world. Please urge our government to stop the war now, and begin addressing this problem with justice.


Monterey Bay Educators Against War
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