Two things come together at the United Nations:

UNITED NATIONS: Russia, at odds with the United States over Georgia, tried unsuccessfully to push the UN Security Council on Tuesday to condemn US-led air strikes in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians.

The Russian delegation had drafted a statement that would say the council’s 15 member states are “seriously concerned” about the US-led coalition attacks on August 22, which the UN mission in Afghanistan says it believes killed 90 civilians, most of them children. The draft statement, which several diplomats said had no chance of getting the unanimous backing it would need for approval, also says council members “deplore” the fact that this has happened before in Afghanistan.

Note to the U.S. government – if you are going to complain *at all* about civilian deaths in other conflicts, you have to stop blowing people up. Otherwise, this sort of embarrassing thing will happen all the time. The Russians know this document will never be adopted at the U.N., but introducing it serves its purpose: undermining the moral authority of the United States. Or, more correctly, highlighting how the U.S. government has undermined its own moral authority.

David Axe points out the cause of incidents like Herat:

The alleged incident comes at a time of increased air activity by U.S. and NATO forces: in June and July as many bombs were dropped as in all of 2006. This “air surge” is intended to partially compensate for chronic shortages of U.S. and NATO ground troops.

This bit of information is important for any U.S. Christian still clinging to the idea that the war in Afghanistan is a “just” war. Joe Blow on the street might be able to claim blithely that we are “justified” in our war in Afghanistan because “they attacked us,” but the Christian appropriation of just war tradition is much, much more stringent than that. It requires more than a just cause…it also requires just means, which, among other things, must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants (which, by the way, puts it totally at odds with Jesus’ admonitions to love your enemies, but I digress). Out of expediency, the U.S. is intentionally using means that recent events – despite the hype – show do not discriminate. In other words, from the most permissive of the Christian ethical perspectives on war, our war in Afghanistan is not a just war and has not been a just war for some time, if ever.

Accordingly, no matter what your perspective on the nonviolence of Jesus Christ, if you are a Christian fighting in Afghanistan, you should lay down your arms and refuse to kill for the U.S. government.  You’ll be in good company:

“Maximillianus, a young Numidian Christian, just over 21, was brought before Dion the proconsul of Aficia at Teveste (Numidia) as fir for military service.  This was in 295 A.D. during the reign of Maximillianus.”           

“Maximillianus answered, ‘But why do you want to know my name?  I dare not fight, since I am a Christian.’  ‘Measure him,’ said Dion the proconsul; but on being measured, Maximillianus answered, ‘I cannot fight, I cannot do evil;  I am a Christian.’  Said the proconsul, ‘Let him be measured.’  And after he had been measured, the attendant read out ‘He is five feet ten.’  Then said Dion to the attendant, ‘Enroll him.’  And Maximillianus cried out, ‘No, no, I cannot be a soldier.  I am a soldier of m God.  I refuse the badge.  Already I have Christ’s badge…If you mark me, I shall annul it as invalid…I cannot wear ought laden on my neck after the saving mark of my Lord.’  To the proconsul’s question as to what crime soldiers practiced, Maximillianus replied, ‘You know quite well what they do.’”  Maximillianus was beheaded.            

Unknown to most Roman Catholics, Maximillianus has been honored as one of the canonized saints of the church, though he died as a conscientious objector!

  1. rgillingham says:

    Quote: “Accordingly, no matter what your perspective on the nonviolence of Jesus Christ, if you are a Christian fighting in Afghanistan, you should lay down your arms and refuse to kill for the U.S. government.”

    I think that’s probably an overstatement – it’s possibly consistent with the Realist position. Notwithstanding that the point is a good one – until there are such actions of conscientious objection supported by the Churches then the claim tp be operating within a JWT paradigm rings hollow for me.

  2. dcrowe says:

    Good point, I should modify that to say “whether you approach issues of war and peace from a perspective of Christian nonviolence or just war tradition”, etc.

    Man, even the label “Realist” bothers me to no end.

    Thanks for stopping in. I hope you’ll stick around.

  3. […] will repeat what I said earlier: Joe Blow on the street might be able to claim blithely that we are “justified” in our war in […]

  4. […] read Greenwald’s full piece at Salon – it’s breathtaking and sickening. Again, I repeat: [Whether you are a believer in just war tradition or, like me, a firm believer in the] nonviolence […]

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