- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Preventive Wars and Prudence

Some of Peter Lawler’s readers [1] are against Santorum:

One objection to Santorum is to his unfashionable support for the Bush freedom agenda, with its solicitude for the rights of people everywhere and the corresponding interventionism. But foreign policy, of course, is largely a matter of prudence, and there are and should be good Catholics on both sides of issues such as what to do about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

I would point out that the “freedom agenda” was the ideological justification for military intervention in Iraq after it had already happened, and its fruits in the Near East have generally been illiberal and/or Islamist to the severe detriment of the Christian communities in Iraq and (to a lesser extent) Lebanon. Support for this agenda is “unfashionable” in large part because it has been very harmful to the nations that supposedly benefited from it. As I mentioned earlier this week [2], then-Cardinal Ratzinger famously said before the Iraq war that “the concept of preventive war does not appear in The Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Santorum voted in favor of one preventive war, and openly advocates for at least one more. Whether or not a Catholic (or indeed any Christian) can endorse preventive war is not simply a matter of prudence, because there is no scenario in which that war could be justified. One could go so far to say that preventive war requires the abandonment of prudence [3].

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "Preventive Wars and Prudence"

#1 Comment By trvalentine On January 6, 2012 @ 9:19 am

Perhaps the next ‘preventive war’ will be with Iran. Seeing as all but one of the Republican candidates for president seem gung-ho for attacking Iran, I wonder how they would react if Obama beat them to it?

[4] makes me wonder if something like that is afoot.

#2 Comment By Fast Jimmy On January 6, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

I can tell you exactly how they would react. They would viciously attack Obama for doing it wrong, failing to be strong/strategic/open/communicative enough, whichever fits best.

They would then exaggerate the failures as directly caused by Obamas incorrect strategy and, finally, ascribe any (not this would be a big worry) successes to the troops valiant effectiveness IN SPITE of Obama.

This is what they did in Lybia. Don’t expect an Obama attack on Iran soon.

#3 Comment By Fast Jimmy On January 6, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

I forgot a few things. They would eviscerate him for cooperating too much with the French, and for failing to involve the right allies in the right manner. They would imply that Obama’s budget cuts to the military (in spite of record defense spending) are dragging it out and making it nearly impossible.

McCain went so far as to essentially blame Obama for Libyan deaths that could have been prevented if Obama had done Libya correctly.

#4 Comment By tbraton On January 6, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

“Seeing as all but one of the Republican candidates for president seem gung-ho for attacking Iran, I wonder how they would react if Obama beat them to it?”

I don’t think they would have any choice but to sheepishly click their heels and give a “Sieg Heil” salute to their “Commander-in-Chief” (as Rick Santorum referred to Obama on MTP last Sunday). As far as I am concerned, all the Republican candidates (with the exception of Paul, Bachmann and possibly Huntsman) abandoned whatever right they had to criticize Obama’s
foreign adventures when they failed to condemn Obama’s illegal war against Libya last spring. My God! They can criticize Obama for making a debatable recess appointment, but they couldn’t criticize him for not seeking Congressional approval for a war that Obama’s own Secretary of Defense Gates declared involved no vital U.S. interests. They have all compounded their Libyan error by declaring that the U.S. should wage war against Iran, giving Obama political cover to attack Iran whenever he damn pleases.