Military, War, Armed Conflict

The War on Terrorism and the Problem of Military Intervention: Using Just War Theory to Frame Foreign Policy Debate

[1] The “war on terrorism” designates a fundamentally new framework for U.S. foreign policy. The new foreign policy framework is shaped by two countervailing political impulses. On the one hand, responding to terrorism is an act of self-defense. On the other hand, responding to terrorism requires military interventions and even overturning governments. These two impulses, […]

Puckering up for Postmodern Kissing: Civil Society and the Lutheran Entwinement of Just Peace/Just War

[1] Post-September 11, 2001 Lutherans can faithfully participate in the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence by examining once again our own just war teaching. As a sign of the times 9/11 implores us to consider earnestly the deep connections between just war and just peacekeeping and peacemaking. [2] I say “once again” […]

Introduction: The Search for Just Peacemaking

[1] My recent research trip to the U. S. Virgin Islands was a window to the complexity of the pervasive violence that marks our lives. In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center, all passengers were routinely subjected to electronic body scans, and all carry-on luggage was searched by hand not only […]

Facing Iraq With Christian Courage

[1] I had an illuminating conversation the other day about the impending war with Iraq, which ultimately caused me to reflect on the relationship between Christianity and courage. I had written a piece that expresses skepticism about our government’s current foreign policy (a link to the article can be found on this page), and a […]

Infinite Forgiveness for a Culture Based on Peace

[1] In his second address to the nation after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the United States President, George Bush, called the military operation scheduled against Afghanistan “Operation Infinite Justice.” The bombing got started days later and continues today, October 2001. White House and Pentagon spokesmen insist that American people, as well as […]

Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism: Some Recent United Nations Initiatives

“While we certainly need vigilance to prevent acts of terrorism, and firmness in condemning and punishing them, it will be self-defeating if we sacrifice other key priorities-such as human rights-in the process.” – Kofi Annan, January 18, 2002 By its very nature, terrorism is an assault on the fundamental principles of law, order, human rights, […]

Our Accountability for Afghan Civilian Deaths: Some Insights from Shakespeare’s Henry V

[1] Within the Western just-war tradition, war is thought to be morally acceptable if it can satisfy certain ethical and procedural criteria. But that tradition also regards war as potentially causing so much suffering, death and destruction that leaders must carefully weigh those harms against the goals they hope to achieve through war. Even if […]

The Problem of Total War in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Traditions

[1] In spite of the many differences among Christians, Jews and Muslims, they share a fundamental belief in God as compassionate and just. As a result, those communities have often nurtured people of extraordinary kindness and courageous commitment to justice. In contrast to the deep hatred that obviously inspired the September 11, 2001 attacks on […]

What’s the Alternative to Military Action against Iraq?

[1] Many Lutherans, perhaps a majority, feel uncomfortable with all the talk about preemptive war with Iraq, but find it hard to see beyond the two options of diplomacy and military action that dominate both official and media commentary. As Christians, our deep discomfort with violence is rooted in the repeated, explicit teachings of our […]

Rumors of War: The Need for a Lutheran Voice

[1] Lutherans will be of various minds regarding an impending war with Iraq. If you are like I am, you are still trying to sort out the “issues.” At this point, I do not know what we should say, but I am convinced that we should be involved in the debate. Specifically, I am convinced […]