The Washington Dispatch
recently published an article by Steve Farrell entitled, "Just
War in Iraq?" As a fellow member of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [LDS], it was gratifying to
see his application of a passage in the Book of Mormon,
which is another testament of Jesus Christ that is revered by
Church members together with the Holy Bible as Holy
Scripture, to the pressing question of war and peace in Iraq.
As background, the Book of Mormon is an inspired account
of the ancient inhabitants who lived in North and South America
between the 7th century B.C. and the 5th century A.D. written by
Christian prophets who lived during that period. These
inhabitants were historically divided into two groups—the
Nephites, who awaited the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and
the Lamanites, ancestors of the American Indians who were taught
by their ancestors to despise them.
The meaning of the passage he
cited is extremely plain and cannot be used in any way as
justification for the Bush Administration's planned Iraq
adventure. The scripture states that the humble followers
of Jesus Christ were taught "never to give an offense, yea,
never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except
it were to preserve their lives." In other words, it
teaches that war is justified only in self-defense or defense of
another and articulates the Judeo-Christian "just war" doctrine
to which America, as a historically God-fearing nation, has
largely adhered for the past 226 years. It is this and
other passages of God's word in the Holy Bible, together
with a careful study of the rules and laws of warfare, which
this author has used as the principle basis for formulating his
positions in regards to the proposed U.S. invasion of Iraq.
It was surprising to find that Mr.
Farrell was using this passage in an attempt to justify the
planned U.S. war against Iraq. Throughout the Book of
Mormon, the inspired leaders of the Nephites and in
particular the prophets proclaimed that the blessings of the
Lord would not reside with the Nephites were they to initiate an
unprovoked war of aggression against the Lamanites in an attempt
to avenge past perceived wrongs. In fact, when the Nephite
Army finally did so, it ultimately resulted in a series of
battles that ended only a few years later with the Nephites'
entire annihilation as a nation.
Applying the teachings of this
scripturally-based historical account to modern times, the
blessings of the Lord could not rest upon the U.S. and its armed
forces were the U.S. to launch an unjust and unprovoked invasion
of Iraq, although righteous individual servants of the Lord
could continue to merit His protection from the war's dangerous
aftermath. The aftermath of a U.S. launched unprovoked war
against Iraq would likely include the unleashing of further and
more dangerous terrorist attacks upon its people and its
territory. The LDS Church has been equally clear on
matters of war and peace. During the last LDS General
Conference this past October, Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member
of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called on all
Church members to "proclaim peace and renounce war". The
issuance of this LDS Church directive seemed to have direct
relevance to the vote by Congress to give the President a
blank-check to wage war in Iraq that same week. That call
has been heeded by hundreds of other laudable Christian church
leaders and hundreds of thousands of LDS Church members who have
come out in patriotic and principled opposition to a U.S.
invasion of Iraq. LDS Church doctrine is very clear in its
expression of support of America's 226-year "just war"
tradition, which supports war only in instances of self-defense
or defense of another.
Even using Mr. Farrell's own
criteria for just war, it is impossible to conclude that a U.S.
invasion of Iraq would be just. For example, in the second
part of his stated criteria for just war, he states that a war
is just if it is fought preemptively when "it is known that war
is inevitable". In the case of Iraq, war is far from
inevitable. Saddam Hussein, far from inciting war with the
U.S., has done everything short of surrendering his entire stock
of CBR weapons to avoid it. In contrast to the murderous
nuclear missile-armed regime in North Korea, he has welcomed in
U.N. inspectors and even invited the CIA to inspect Iraq's
suspected WMD sites. Not only is war not inevitable, but
in fact it would not even be considered were it not for the Bush
Administration's over-hyped rhetoric on Iraq, which has
effectively painted it into a corner.
It is well-known that Iraq has no
nuclear weapons and only possesses short range missiles which
cannot reach beyond the borders of nuclear missile armed Israel,
so it remains incapable of threatening the U.S. or its European
allies. The Administration knows this, yet it states that
Iraq's mere possession of a WMD arsenal substantially downsized
by seven and a half years of previous U.N. inspections—which
succeeded in completely destroying Iraq's nuclear weapons
development program—is sufficient to justify a pre-emptive U.S.
invasion of Iraq. He has further cited Iraq's failure to
fully cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors as a justification
for invasion. Never in the history of warfare has war been
justified because a country is not cooperating sufficiently with
globalist anti-American U.N. weapons inspectors. If
failure to cooperate with the anti-American United Nations and
yield to its declared will were a cause for condemnation, then I
would look forward to the U.S. becoming the pariah of the world.
The Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive
strikes is in flagrant violation of the laws of God and man
concerning war. Nowhere is that more the case than in
regards to Iraq. In his third point, Mr. Farrell states
that war is just if fought in response to "an attack against
one's nation or ally". Yet, here we have a case of a
country which has never attacked us. Similarly, Iraq has
not attacked its neighbors for more than a dozen years.
During the 1980s, it fought an eight-year war against the
"mother of all terrorists" Iran with substantial diplomatic,
economic, logistic and not inconsequential military support from
the Reagan-Bush Administration. Yet now, the Bush
Administration disingenuously cites Iraq's war with Iran and the
body count of Iranian Army soldiers killed in action in this
U.S.-supported war in an attempt to justify its planned
unjustifiable invasion of Iraq.
Despite its justifiable attempts
to defend itself against unjustified U.S./U.K. bombing strikes
in support of the enforcement of globalist anti-American U.N.
dictates over the past ten years, Iraq has thankfully NEVER
succeeded in shooting down even ONE of our fighter-bombers.
It has not demonstrated that it has either the capability or
even the intention of attacking the United States. To the
contrary, its leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq
Aziz, himself a Christian, have taken great pains to say that
Iraq would not attack the U.S. even if the U.S. committed
further aggression against it by undertaking an all-out ground
invasion of that hapless country. They know to attack the
U.S. even in response to U.S. aggression would be both pointless
and self-defeating in view of the overwhelming military
superiority which the U.S. enjoys over Iraq. In other
words, Iraq is firmly contained and completely deterred from
attacking the U.S.
Accordingly, the Bush
Administration's attempts to present Iraq as a threat to the
U.S. are lacking in credibility, as are its attempts to link
Iraq to terrorist attacks against the U.S., which even the
Director of the CIA said are essentially unsubstantiated.
Curiously, the Administration is inviting the exact type of
threat by its planned illegal and unjustified invasion of Iraq
that it claims to be attempting to pre-empt—namely, the likely
use by Iraq of its CBR arsenal against U.S. soldiers as a last
ditch measure to defend their homeland against a U.S. invasion.
The President is wrong to jeopardize the lives of thousands of
American serviceman in his unnecessary and unjustified crusade
in what appears to be a personal vendetta to get Saddam and
avenge his alleged assassination attempt against his father.
Even assassinating Saddam would be
preferable, because although it is also in violation of LDS
Church teachings, it is much less objectionable than an all-out
war, which would result in the deaths of tens of thousands of
innocents. Mr. Farrell argues passionately against exile
for Saddam. In point of fact, exile would be by far the
most preferable option and one that this author has been
advocating even before Donald Rumsfeld first broached it back in
August. Exile would save tens of thousands of Iraqi and
U.S. lives and avert the need for war against Iraq entirely,
thus providing the U.S. with a bloodless victory.
Saddam is an evil dictator to be
sure, but he is only one of the sixty-odd evil dictators the
world over today. There is little reason to single him out
for punishment from among the dictatorial rabble. So many
countries are more meritorious of being the targets of U.S.
military action than Iraq—North Korea, Communist China and Iran
just to name a few. It is high time that the President
abandon his attempts to empower the United Nations by launching
an unprovoked war against Iraq and instead begin placing
America's national security interests first for a change.
That would mean not enforcing the whim and dictates of the
anti-American globalist United Nations, which, as Mr. Farrell
rightly points out, has never met a Communist or terrorist it
doesn't like, but rather entirely repudiating it and affecting
an immediate withdrawal of the U.S. from the United Nations.
For another view of the 'Just War' argument, see this previous
commentary by America's Voices commentator Vic Cole.
A Response To "Discerning the Difference Between Just & Unjust