A reader asks…

In your opinion, would the establishment of a no fly zone over Libya be a war?

Yes. But it would not be our business either.

If so, would the use of violence fall under acceptable actions under Just War Theory.


Here’s Just War teaching (ius ad bellum) in a nutshell:

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
– the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

– all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

– there must be serious prospects of success;

– the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

If a single one of these criterion are not met, a war is unjust.

Now consider: Libya has not attacked us. It poses no lasting, grave, and certain threat to us. The competent authority in international peace-keeping is not us, but the UN (as we ourselves agreed by signing on with the UN), and the evils of our intruding into the internal affairs of this (and a hundred other) countries is not proving to produce evils and disorders less grave than the evil to be eliminated.

In short, we are not Globocop, we are a hubris-filled nation drunk on the blood of the unborn, gluttonous for Mammon, teetering on the brink of financial ruin, in hock up to our ears, with an over-extended and increasingly exhausted military that was not intended to maintain an expanding Empire while attempting to build the Great Society abroad. This is their war, not ours.

Or so I happen to think.

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