Justice in an unjust war

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq, Iraq War, United Nations Views: 8086
8086

Collateral damage of  a bomb that landed in a busy market in the Al Shula'a district of West Baghdad Friday March 28, 2003.

Each of the three Abrahamic faiths has possessed a long and beautiful tradition of scholarly exploration. In the history of monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism have all adopted a moral reasoning behind what may or may not constitute a just-war. In an era where theological debate has reached a passionate zenith, it is both astounding and heartening to see that much of the leadership of these faiths in America have reached consensus about the unnecessary nature of the current conflict transpiring in Iraq.

It should come as no revelation to anyone that the basic criteria set forth by each religion regarding the requirements to satisfy a just-war are nearly identical to the rules of engagement set forth by the United Nations and its corresponding treaties and conventions. The foremost standards put forward by both the international legal and religious communities are the concepts of "necessity" and "proportionality."

Within the paradigms of both international law and religious doctrine, the "necessity" element includes two components: attempts at peaceful redress (as mandated by Article 33 of the United Nations Charter) and the imminence of the danger posed. Anyone would be hard pressed to say that Hans Blix et al inspecting and disarming Iraq's arsenal was not an attempt at peaceful redress. Imagine the billions of dollars and thousands of innocent Iraqi and American lives that could have been saved had we increased Mr. Blix's staff tenfold and given him six more months to disarm Iraq.

"Proportionality" embraces the notion that civilian casualties should be minimized in the application of force. If the loss of civilian life and order is grossly disproportionate to the relative importance of the military target, then the campaign cannot be justified legally or dogmatically. What sort of immeasurable and disproportionate costs will there be in occupying a sovereign nation for several years, rebuilding essential social infrastructure, instilling a new "democratic" regime and maintaining stability within that sovereign and its neighboring states?

Many American religious leaders see the costs of this war egregiously outweighing any benefits it may reap. Pope John Paul II has worked tirelessly in recent weeks to persuade decision makers against going to war. A new war in the Middle East would be, in his words, "a defeat for humanity."

Former President Jimmy Carter stated in a recent New York Times editorial: "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards." Several prominent Jewish groups have raised a small, yet visible flag against the war as well. The Shalom Center, based in Philadelphia, had several rabbis arrested in anti-war demonstrations outside of the United Nations headquarters in New York. When asked about their arrest, Rabbi Arthur Waskow said that those who were arrested were "joyful and determined."

With the war on Iraq already in full gear, scores of people may see opposition to the war as being moot. Far from being irrelevant, this solidarity amongst people of faith shows that although bombs are being dropped over ancient Mesopotamia as I write; we who oppose the war on moral and religious grounds do so as adamantly as we did before the commencement of the conflict and earnestly pray that a quick and just resolution to this unjust conflict will spare the innocent lives of Iraqi women and children and promptly bring our soldiers home safely.

As a Muslim American, it is my Islamic duty to stand up for injustice, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator and the victim. Muslims worldwide continue to categorically condemn the actions of two Septembers past and will continue to emphatically oppose this war in Iraq. It is my earnest hope that people of all faiths will use the lessons learned from this war to band together and try to bring a little justice in light of this unjust war.

Arsalan Tariq Iftikhar is Midwest Communications Director of CAIR. He attends Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq, Iraq War, United Nations
Views: 8086

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Older Comments:
ALI FROM UK said:
Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, but a large proportion of the American public thinks that it did. I read an article about a bomb factory in Oklahoma, where a worker stated that she didn't feel bad about the damage the bombs were doing because "they attacked us first". Marines have been interviewed in Iraq and they claim to want to kill to avenge 9-11. Many ordinary Americans are stupid, and articles like this one don't reach them.
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RON EDWARDS FROM USA said:
What about American POWs who have been tortured by a nation that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention? What excuses do you make for your Muslim bretheren?
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ANA CECILIA MOCTEZUMA FROM MEXICO said:
I really don't know what else to say...the images, the sadness and desperation found in the eyes of women and children speak for themselves.
It is incredibly sad that the will of few irrational, arrogant men are committing such crimes.
We, young people of the new milenium are being witnesses of how the seed of hate is being harved into the humiliated hearts of the arabs.
I am catholic, but I believe that we all pray to the same God, let's keep praying to him so this barbarie is over.
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YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
"Go to hell," Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said in response at a news conference in Baghdad. "You are too much of a nothing to say a word addressed to a leader of Iraq," Ramadan added.

I am wondering, what would be your reaction to the above statement, General Abizaid - especially regarding that argument at the end of it? May peace be upon all of whom the statement may concern.

Also, it sounds - from the wording itself - like someone might have departed this life. May Allah have mercy on him. (May Allah mercy on all of us, for that matter.)

May Allah bless Iraq with security, justice and prosperity - for all the people of Iraq.

As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.
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JOSEPH FROM CANADA said:
La resistance commence.Je vous souhaite d'accumuler beaucoup d'images de cette guerre du cote Iraquien et surtout des civils en parculier.
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YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Surely, Iraq will need to be rearmed, starting perhaps with increased capabilities for "friendly forces" possibly even before the end of the war. Perhaps an exchange of military assets for oil would also be reasonable. Insha-Allah, no sensible Middle Eastern authorities will be referring to Iraq's military as America's poodle.

I certainly do want Iraq to be at least considered a "military presence" in the Middle East. Doubtless the peace mongers (may they not regret their choices) will have something to say about that, too. May Allah guide us, have mercy on us and reward us our good deeds and intentions.
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MUSTAF BIRIK FROM KENYA said:
America and Britain should recongnise Iraq as the world superpower
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FIROZALI FROM U.S.A. said:
Mr. Iftikhar,

Thank you and congratulations. Please continue bringing articles like this to publics' attention and awareness to true concept of events.

I also wish to thank -
Azam Bin Ali
Madmax-1
Joanne Tachera

for their good comments.

Arabs and Muslims like Azam said should create institutions comparable with UN AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER and NOT ALLOW COUNTRIES WITH SUBVERTIVE MOTIVES ON THEIR LAND WHO ARE OUT TO DESTROY MUSLIM COUNTRIES.

May ALLAH give us guidance and wisdom. Amen.

Thank you again Mr. Iftikhar.
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HANNAHZARAH AVARRASCHILD FROM U.S.A. said:
Amen brother. As a follower of the Great Mystery (God, Allah or what ever you choose to call the One) of compassion and mercy I go to a demontration against the war every night. As you stated if we truely believe that our actions have consequences then we cannot stop voicing our opposition to this war even though George W. chooses to ignore us. We will not be looked at for what he does but rather for what we do. And it is important to try to establish a peaceful atmosphere if we can.
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SR DEBBIE FROM USA said:
I think I'm getting sick by the day seeing the innocent getting killed, hungry,their houses devastated.What would become of those that waged this war upon the innocent when the wrath of the allmighty reach their hearts. I hope their sons and daughters will be spared to be living witnesses for the future.Assalamalaikum.
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JOANNE TACHERA FROM USA said:
Eloquently said. As a Christian, I vehemently oppose this war. Jesus Christ would not have invaded Iraq or bombed innocents, be they men, women, or children. Jesus was a man of peace and admonished his followers to "turn their swords into plowshares." As a teacher by vocation, I stand in opposition to what my country is doing and reason with my students in the classroom that they too may learn right from wrong in world affairs. The law of the jungle for bullies is not allowed to occur on playground at schools across the nation. Neither should bullying occur in the world at large. The USA is being a bully by throwing its military might around the globe and slapping it in the face of the world community and the United Nations. I sincerely pray that others may know that many Americans are united AGAINST this war. I shall continue to speak out against this war and the many deaths and casualties that will occur on both sides. At this point it will take much to heal our world. I continually strive to be a force for good toward a more peaceful world for all.

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NONE FROM US said:
After Irak is conquered who's going to be Next? maybe Iran, or Lybia, our the way back home the troops shoul try con conquer N. Korea, Cuba is the least of the axis of evil (those who refuse to be a us pupet)
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SISTER NOOR FROM USA said:
As salam Alaikum Allah is the best of planners inshallah, We shall all be made stronger by the day. I pray no blame is found on us who do our duty, fast and pray make du'aa May Allah be our comfort in this life and the next. Are we gonna see the just ruler and jesus SAW in our Time?
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AZMAN BIN ALI FROM MALAYSIA said:
In 1922, the british general kicked salahuddin grave (the muslim general during the crusade war) and ask salehuddin to wake up and fight the british. Yes, salahuddin will never wake up again in this world to defend islam. it is up to the living muslim today to defend islam. Never let mecca and medinah surround by our enemies, only then we want to protect islam. Today the arab kings were helping the unbeliever invaders into iraq, then iran, then syria, then lubenan, then the whole arab peninsular, then all the muslim countries all over the world. In india, they already talked about invade pakistan, and today thousand of muslim were killed there, just because there're muslim. In southeast asin, Indonesia were attacked economically and politically by IMF, world bank and UN. In Malaysia, singapore is talking about occupy malaysia within three days, in africa the economy mismanagement has distabilized the whole muslim countries. Turki has no gut to help their brothers and sisters. Afghanistan today is under the ivading forces of western countries. That are the fact of our muslim countries, we were killed, attacked and destroyed. But, what are we going to do about these.

Only we can help ourselve, put aside the UN, IMF, world bank or much more the imperialist organizations. Call to muslim leaderships, rebuild your country economically, politically and educationally much more important stress on science and technology education. Only through education, back with strong economy power we will be stronger again with the help of allah.

Call to odinary american, i used to study in the US university. I admire so much with the democracy and liberalism of american soceity. Today, the democracy and liberalism of american soceity were destroyed by bush administration. Wake up american, make your county admire again, never let the few decide the fate of your country. Today american was seem as the enemy of the world that should be stoped at any cost.
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IRFAN MOHIUDDIN FROM USA said:
ASSALAMWALAIKUM,
ALHAMDULILAH, CONGRADS ON BEING BLESSED WITH THE CAPABILITY OF WRITING SUCH AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE.
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MADMAX -3 FROM MAROC said:
.../...Later this week, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Roy Chaderton said on Tuesday that a diplomatic solution to the standoff in Iraq remains possible. "It is a shame to see the death of civilians and combatants in Iraq. There still is time for diplomacy," Chaderton said at the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the Rio Group-European Union in Athens, Greece.

Hernan Plorutti, Argentine ambassador to Syria and Jordan, said on Tuesday that a prolonged war in Iraq would boost the prospect of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East. "People from different Arab and Muslim countries in general could be united behind Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the fight against US troops in Iraq", the ambassador said in a telephone interview from Damascus, capital of Syria.

In a strong statement, the Argentine Peace Nobel Prize, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, criticized Bush, Blair and Aznar for heading a war that commits crimes against the humanity. "They lie to hide the horror and the death they are provoking", reads the statement. "How many deaths need Blair, Bush and Aznar to satisfy their appetite?" The question is hard to answer; the task, indeed, is to stop the massacre.

Hernan Etchaleco

Argentina
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MADMAX -2 FROM MAROC said:
.../... Many political leaders and citizens of Latin American countries have expressed their opposition to the US-led war in Iraq, and some warned the war and government support for the war would have serious consequences.

A joint statement of the foreign ministers of Cuba and Russia said both are worried over the US-led war against Iraq. In the statement, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez, who concluded a visit to Russia Tuesday, and he and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov said they favor solving the Iraqi crisis on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1441.

The US military operation in Iraq is part of a geopolitical strategy to shore up US hegemony over the Middle East, Guatemalan political analyst Armando de la Torre said on Tuesday. "The United States seeks to establish its dominion and political influence over the Middle East and, to this end, it has to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein", the analyst said.

In Nicaragua, local lawmakers want to pass a resolution to seek an international alliance of European and Latin American parliaments to halt US strikes on Iraq. The Sandinist Front of National Liberation said this party was to support protests to stop war against the Iraqi people. .../...
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MADMAX -1 FROM MAROC said:
Time for the supporters of GWB and his administration to start supporting their country.
Your future doesn't look that good America.

"Washington Can Win the War But Has Already Lost Its Authority"

Elisa Carrio, Argentine presidential candidate, tells PRAVDA.Ru her interesting view on current world events. As anti-war rallies grow bigger, more voices in Latin America rise against the US-led strike on Iraq

"Baghdad can be many places in the world. Baghdad could be you", says Elisa Carrio, a hard woman who runs for president of Argentina without financial resources, but with great confidence. "U.S. has the force, but lacks of authority to head this war" told Carrio to PRAVDA.Ru, as she believes that world protests against the US-led war undermine Washington's symbolic power and could mean a retreat of the imperialist ruling.

Elisa Carrio agrees with the view that the fall of the United Nations means a serious danger for peripheral countries, as without UN institutions they cannot guarantee their territorial integrity and political sovereignty. "Therefore, the task is a joint action to stop the imperial advance of the United States", says Carrio, who is at the head of the local opinion polls, together with three other presidential candidates, for the incoming elections.

"This is the last chance for South America. We have to promote an active alliance with France and Germany against US policies. There is no space for neutrality: It is a matter of principles", says Carrio. But the Argentine politician is not the only voice against the war in Latin America. As anti-war demonstrations fill the streets, almost all the specialists and the largest portion of politicians agree with this view.
.../...
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BILAL FROM USA said:
May ALLAH save those that are being the victims of this war that has nothing to do with those civilians in Iraq. Our fault is that we are muslims and thats all but YES no matter what happens our faith in ALLAH will stay the same and MAY ALLAH BLESS ALL OF US.
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