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Make war just

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jess Heringer’s Feb. 20 Letter to the Editor, “Is there another way?” caused me to inspect the realities of war, and it was an uncomfortable experience. I discussed the matter with friends, had a day of thought and wrote this letter, and I have come to the conclusion that abandoning the use of force is unjust and simply irresponsible.

Christ is love incarnate, and I have wrestled a great deal with the almost undeniable contradiction between Christ’s love and the horrors of warfare. Christ proclaims truth which cuts both ways, against Left and Right. He commands us to do apparently contradicting things, such as loving our neighbors (Luke 10:26) and hating our fathers and mothers (Luke 14:26). It is strange to think that the same man told Peter to put away his sword and yet destroyed the den of moneychangers at the Temple.

Force, like money or knowledge, is only a tool, and it may be used for good or for evil, and as such is not evil in itself. I would most certainly prefer to live in a world without war, but not at the cost of living in a world with unchecked evil. Peace is not worth tolerance of slavery, and genocide is too high a price to pay for the luxury of complacency.

A world which rejects the use of force would look very different from our own. In that world, democracy is merely an interesting quirk of Athenian history. In that world, the international slave trade flourishes under the protection of greedy warlords. In that world, the death factories of Auschwitz are silent, not because of Allied liberation, but because their hateful purpose has been fulfilled unchallenged.

A world which rejects the use of force is not a world in which I would want to live. Abandoning others to the whims of tyrants and masters abdicates our responsibility to make the world a better place. Instead of abandoning the use of force altogether, we must work harder to make it a precise and just tool for good. Is there another way? Yes, there is. Make war just.

Jonathan KlinglerjuniorKeenan HallFeb. 22