FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Onward Christian Soldiers? Would St. Thomas Aquinas Approve Bombing Libya?
It’s a genuine shame and dishonor to the American Nation, when Former KGB Agent and current Russian Emperor Vladimir Putin gets to explain our military’s activities. However, the US government doesn’t seem inclined to deliver an accurate account. The United States and several European nations have engaged in bombing raids against Libyan military targets to prevent them from destroying a rebellion. They have not specified what end game they have in mind. Thus, Putin tells the world what he believes our current US administration is engaged in below.
“The resolution is defective and flawed,” Putin told workers at a Russian ballistic missile factory. “It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades.”
-Darth Putin (HT:Reuters)
Putin’s diction was offensive and self-serving. It was only possible because of what President Obama has done grievously wrong here from Jump Street. He has failed to define what exactly it is the US military is doing in Libya. As a result of this failure, other people are getting to define this mission for the US.
In his Theological Masterwork, Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas addressed the question of what constituted a just war. He expounds three fundamental tests to determine the justness. The person initiating that nation’s participation must have legitimate sovereign authority. The targets of the hostilities must have done something so awful that the resulting carnage is “a righteous shoot.” Finally, the belligerent party must have a decent and honorable end state as the overriding mission of their entire military operation.
Unless you’ve found The Kenyan Birth Certificate™, Barack Obama truly is the legitimate sovereign authority. Elections have consequences. One of them is that our Fearless President can check off St. Aquinas’ criterion #1 any time he feels like sending the USMC out to fetch him a pizza.
On criterion #2, I find myself in the depressing position of siding with President Obama again. The recent addition of Webster’s Dictionary has a peculiar picture next to the word Evil. I think that it’s supposed to be His Most Supreme Iniquity, Moammar Gaddafi. I’m sure St. Aquinas would consider a man who fired artillery rounds at his own people and blew up civilian jet-liners to make political statements a just target for hostilities.
On criterion #3, the one about the belligerent having a decent end state in mind for all the mayhem and carnage, I wonder what the US of A is actually doing here. Does anyone know or care who runs Libya after the US Naval Taskforce in the Mediterranean runs out of Tomahwk Missiles and JP-8? I suspect this end state will involve Gaddafi leaving Tripoli on permanent retirement orders or reclining for a nice, relaxing dirt nap.
Absent Gaddafi, who takes charge? Al Qaeda has expressed its usual willingness to help. The Muslim Brotherhood is a short road trip away in Egypt. The USS Kearsarge carries a powerful and capable US Marine Expeditionary Force. So which of these three entities would Barack Obama prefer to have run Libya? Is there any option #4 that doesn’t involve juvenile wish-fulfillment amongst the State Department wonks at Foggy Bottom?
These questions have, in my suspicious opinion, deliberately have been left hanging. Thus, I have to voice my concern that this intervention in Libya does not meet what Western Civilization has traditionally posited as its criterion for a just war. It has been declared by legitimate, sovereign authorities, and it is aimed at a first-rate Head Jerk in Charge of Misery, in Libyan Dictator Moammar Gaddafi. However, I get the distinct impression that we have nary the (redacted) clue about what we want to see happen as a result of all the cool missile strikes.
Therefore The United States Congress, under the legal auspices of the War Powers Act and The Constitution, has a moral imperative to demand an honest accounting. Just why are American military personnel doing terrible things to malignant people at an exorbitant cost and at their own mortal peril? St. Thomas Aquinas would put this more delicately, but he would probably ask the same thing of our Commander-In-Chief that I want to this morning: “Mr. Obama, just what in the Hell is the objective of this war?”