Politics,  Theology/Bible

A New Strategy for a Just War?

President Bush set forth his new strategy for the war in Iraq in a nationally televised speech earlier this evening (video, transcript). He said almost everything that I wanted to hear him say (and I acknowledge that people of good will can have different opinions on this issue).

Not only did the President take responsibility for all the mistakes that have been made in this war, he also expressed his continued commitment to victory in Iraq. The President is ordering more troops to help secure areas in Baghdad once they have been cleared of insurgents and terrorists. This new strategy is clear, well-defined, time-tabled, and a marked improvement over the previous “clear-hold-leave-a-security-vacuum” approach.

Senator Dick Durbin offered the Democratic response to the President’s new strategy (video), and he opposed the increased troop levels as an escalation of a war that is no longer worth fighting. The Democratic leadership in Congress wants to withdraw U.S. troops from harm’s way to let the Iraqis take care of themselves. If the Iraqi unity-government fails at providing for its own security, then so be it. It is no longer the U.S.’s problem.

But I think that Senator Durbin is wrong about this. The situation in Iraq is the U.S.’s problem in more ways than one. Not only are the U.S.’s vital security interests at stake, but so are the claims for the morality of this war. The very justice of the cause requires that the U.S. do everything in its power to secure a just and lasting peace for a war-torn Iraq (see article on Just War). To leave the country as a cauldron of sectarian violence or as a haven for terrorists and Islamic extremists would not only be a permanent threat to U.S. security, it would also be immoral . Thus both idealists and realists have reasons to see this thing through to victory.

As a Christian, I don’t have any illusions that this war or any other will secure a permanent peace and fraternity among men. Even just wars are riddled with human weakness and error and at best (by the common grace and Providence of God) can temporarily stem the tide of some great evil.

There will only be one war to end all wars, and it will only happen when the Son of God returns in the power and glory of His Kingdom (2 Thess 1:5-10; Rev 19:11-16). That Kingdom is the ultimate hope for planet earth, even as imperfect “just wars” commence in the interim.

Until then, I will pray for those fighting and suffering in the current war in Iraq. I will also pray, Maranatha.


  • bryanl1

    It seems like continuing in the current direction and just increasing troops will just create more terrorist and insurgents and a bigger problem. Maybe we should look at what’s fueling them in the first place. What pisses them off so much that they would take the course they have? What turns them radical? Why do things seem worse off now than when we first started? Why after killing so many terrorist/insurgents does it seem like more keep springing up and more people keep dying? I mean the more you try to kill insurgents the more you’re going to accidentally kill innocent people in the process and destroy others lives and welfare thus breeding hatred for the foreigners and a terrorist/insurgent mindset among those who survive. These terrorist/insurgents are all related to regular people who get caught up in all of this mess. It’s not so black and white to try and separate them from the regular people and think killing the bad guys is all we have to do. Just because people aren’t terrorist/insurgents that doesn’t mean they don’t support or believe in their causes and want to see the foreigners out of their land.

    Whenever I think about these issues I’m constantly reminded of 2nd temple Judaism’s and their messianic movements and their attempted rebellions against Rome. It’s easy for me to be sympathetic to the Jews of Jesus time that believed that a foreign nation shouldn’t be ruling over them and oppressing them and showing their presence everywhere telling them how to live and run things. And I can see how that would breed more and more messianic and rebellious movements that would try and overthrow Rome. Sure the Jews could fight against Rome but Rome would always be more powerful and have more troops and better weapons and technology that they could send against those radical Jews to the point where they end up destroying the temple and many innocent lives get lost and eventually everyone is run out of their land. Problem solved. A nation is destroyed. Is that what we’re doing? I try to picture Rome how they would have been viewing the whole thing going on in Jerusalem and I wonder if the way they would have seen it would have been similar to how we Americans are seeing these issues played out in Iraq. If things get worse, then just send more troops and more bombs, they’ll get the message. But is that what will happen?

    Anyway that’s just my two cents.


  • dennyrburk


    I wouldn’t be very happy about the President’s speech either if all his new plan consisted of “continuing in the current direction and just increasing troops.” But if you listened to or read the speech, the president was very clear that he is not proposing more of the same with a little more troops.

    He proposed a different strategy altogether. That means the troops who are there now (and the ones that are on their way) will be doing something different from what they have been doing up until now.

    Read the speech, and you’ll see what I mean. Nobody is happy with the way things are going now. That’s why I’m glad the president is changing course.


  • Kris Weinschenker

    A troop surge only provides ALL sides of the Iraqi civil war with 20,000 new targets. That being said, an immediate troop withdrawl would be disasterous.

    The only solutions I can see are either dividing Iraq up into three separate nations (already rejected by Bush) or some sort of regional peace plan (which may involve Iran’s nuclear program…again , a non-starter for Bush)

    And may already be too late for both.

  • Nicholas Cardot

    I don’t think that we should be prosecuting theives or murderers or rapists. The more that we prosecute them the more that they seem to be springing up. I mean, think about it. Here are these people in America who want to steal, murder, and rape, and they have this Big Brother, the government, trying to tell them what to do on some distorted moral basis. I mean, come on. You can’t legislate morality. The more that we punish them for breaking these laws, the more of them are going to spring up…

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