Just War Theory on BEL

Korean war memorial* Former Marine Doug McBurney Helps Bob Cover Three Camps: Bob Enyart invited a former marine into the studio to discuss our military assault in Libya and specifically the principles that we should apply to determine whether or not any war is just, or unjust. In today's show Bob and Doug covered the three camps that have an unprincipled knee-jerk reaction against various military actions: the constitutional camp, the cliché camp, and the conservative camp.

Constitutional Camp: War is just or unjust regardless of what any particular nation's constitution may say about it. If Russia's constitution allows for them to invade Lithuania, that doesn't mean that would be a just war. Likewise, if Texas executed a convict, reading the U.S. Constitution would not tell you whether the action was just or unjust. Consider the serious matter Bob and Doug address (admittedly, while not taking themselves too seriously).

Cliché Camp: "We're not the world's policeman." When Germany was slaughtering Jews by the millions, should other countries have stayed out because none of them were the world's policemen? That's not principled, but populist. It's just a cliché.

Conservative Camp: Regardless of the evidence that Saddam Hussein systematically slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people, many Americans hated George W. Bush more than they loved the Iraqi people, and so they seemed to be willing to sacrifice any number of innocent Iraqis to avoid the alternative of having Bush save them by stopping Saddam. Likewise, there are conservatives who hate Barack Obama so much that they will have an knee-jerk reaction to oppose virtually anything he does.

* None of The Above: Bob and Doug McBurney agree that they are not persuaded that any of the above camps have a valid position from which to judge whether or not a war is just or unjust. They present an alternative test, based upon eternal principles of justice. And tomorrow at kgov.com/just-war-2, they conclude their discussion applying moral principles to the question of whether or not the war in Libya is justifiable. See also kgov.com/government.

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