As more enthusiastic approval is being sought for attacking Syria, we’ll soon be hearing more amplified appeals to “just war” teaching in the Christian tradition, which makes this brand new essay by Stanley Hauerwas, on the case for Christian realism, timely, even required, reading.
Long ago at Notre Dame, where he taught and I tried in vain to learn, Stanley’s course in Christian Political Ethics, left most of his students (and certainly this one) wondering if a “just war” ever had been or could be waged. Since those days, he’s left countless others wondering the same thing, and here again, he raises a few “questions that advocates of just war must address before they accuse pacifists of being ‘unrealistic.” The essay should be read in full, but Stanley’s questions are worth pondering all by themselves:
•What would an American foreign policy determined by just war principles look like?
•What would a just war Pentagon look like?
•What kind of virtues would the people of America have to have to sustain a just war foreign policy and Pentagon?
•What kind of training do those in the military have to undergo in order to be willing to take casualties rather than conduct the war unjustly?
•How would those with the patience necessary to insure that a war be a last resort be elected to office?