Looking for a Good War:

David B. Hart reviews a new book on Just War, East and West

Inescapable Difficulty

I do not much blame Webster and Cole for failing to bring their excellent historical and theoretical survey of just war thinking into credible contact with contemporary reality. It seems to me to be a difficulty that is inescapable whenever one attempts to use a moral grammar suited to an age of Christian princes and Christian cultures as a guide to our relations with the post-Christian political order. Webster is almost strident in his assertion that we can credit ourselves with virtuous warmaking in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and pray God he is right. But I cannot imagine anyone not disposed to approve of the invasion of Iraq (in particular) being convinced by any argument this book advances.

What exactly, he might ask, are we fighting for? Democracy? Freedom of religion? But these are not demonstrably biblical values. Did Iraq constitute a threat to us? Perhaps, but not a threat that can ever definitively be shown to have been more than suppositious. And even if this were not so, is this a war waged to defend the people of God? Is ours really a Christian culture—our culture of abortion, pornography, and polymorphous perversity—worthy of defending?

Polymorphous perversity? That’s a great line.