A reader writes below, concerning the “Bush made a mistake in good faith” argument (being put forward by those scrambling to justify the war in the absence of any WMDs
The good faith mistake hypothesis doesn’t work either. To continue the housewife analogy…The housewife still commits murder, even if mistaken, when she is being informed by others that her information is faulty, that there is still time to call 911, and nonlethal options rreamin open.
Here, the Pope, for one, and most of the rest of the world was telling us that the there was no threat of imminent use and there was no evidence that such use would be “lasting grave and certain” as required by the Catechism. The UN weapons inspectors were on scene. We had a pefectly operating aerial and space based survellance sytems over Iraq which would have provided more than enough notice of imminent use. The US refused to invoke the international version of 911, because the vast majority of Security council members wouldn’t have agreed that an “emergency” existed. The presence of weapons inspectors, sanctions, and US military buildup in the region, more agressive enforcement of “no-fly zones” are “nonlethal” alternatives which weren’t fully exploited.
We can’t now, after the fact, claim “oopsie, we bombed the crap out of a country and killed large numbers of its citizens” but we were acting in “good faith.”
Next country to invoke the “good faith” doctrine–North Korea, which will launch a premptive nuclear strike againt the US and Japan on the “good faith” belief we are about to attack them.
The problem with the Lepanto Group and many (but not all) who supported the war, is that they did so by rejecting the teachings of the Pope. He was ridiculed as an out of touch old man, being advised by a bunch of anti American curial lackeys.
George Bush didn’t need to follow the Catechism in deciding to go to war with Iraq. Catholics need to apply the Catechism to the war in evaluating whether it was just, according to Catholic principles. That requires at least imminent use of weapons of mass destruction resulting in damage witch is “lasting grave and certain.” So far, the Pope is accurate in observing that there is no evidence that such conditions existed.