Magazine article The Christian Century

Sorrows of War

Magazine article The Christian Century

Sorrows of War

Article excerpt

THOUGH AUGUSTINE is widely known--and frequently reproached--for developing the concept of a "just war," he believed war is essentially an occasion for remorse. "The wise person will wage just wars," he wrote, but even the possibility of war "should cause humans sorrow because humans are responsible for it." This acknowledgment of responsibility led Augustine to an imperative: "Let everyone grieve when he thinks about the truly shocking and cruel evil involved here, and let him acknowledge his miserable state." The most prominent architect of just war theory was more concerned that war lead to repentance than that it can, in some cases, be justified.

Augustine's sober attitude is a profound contrast to the barely suppressed elation of many broadcast journalists covering the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The tone of coverage by CNN and Fox News invites viewers to be caught up in the excitement, not the sorrow, of war. A swaggering approach to war has been fostered by the highest U.S. officials. President Bush seemed to be gloatingly fingering notches on his pistol when, in his State of the Union address, he referred to the fate of suspected members of al-Qaeda: "Let's put it this way--they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies."

A sober spirit of repentance would also recognize that a failure of diplomacy (some would say a failure to engage in diplomacy at all) contributed to the conflict. One need not deny the brutality and threats of Iraq's regime, nor the self-interested maneuvers of other nations, to recognize that the U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.