As Charles Brown already notes in his summary of chapter 2 of The Revolution, Ron Paul raises the interesting issue of Christian just war theory. Citing Christian thinkers from Ambrose to Suarez Paul concludes that the war in Iraq fails to live up to the standards of just war theory.
Paul (Ron not Apostle) lays out three foundational principles:
1. An initial act of aggression in response to which a just war may be waged
2. All diplomatic solutions have been exhausted
3. War is undertaken by the proper authority
Paul’s book is short so he spends few words making his case how the Iraqi conflict fails to meet Christian standards. I am left with a number of questions.
1. Is a ever justified in the case when the act of aggression was against a third party? This was common within Christendom. Christian just war theory traditionally recognizes the possibility of a nation coming to the aid of other Christian peoples, nation, ect.
2. How has the age of mass terrorism impact our idea of just war? Augustine could not envision the consequence of a single terrorist carrying a dirty bomb killing thousands or even tens of thousands? How does this change how we look at preemptive wars? Does it?
3. Does Paul’s account fail to give a charitable reading to the motivations of the pro-war party?
I have great sympathy with the case Paul is making but finding it imprudent is different from declaring it a sin. Thoughts?