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The trouble for just-war apologists

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Mar 18, 2003

True, most critics of the US position have not been convincing. And the notion that the UN can solve this crisis seems ludicrous. But...

In his speech last night, President Bush said this about the threas from Saddam Hussein:

"These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail."

1) We did live under the threat of Soviet nuclear blackmail for more than a full generation. It wasn't pleasant, but it is possible.

2) If the threat is a certainty-- if the attacks are inevitable-- then a pre-emptive strike makes sense. But the President says the attacks are not inevitable. So we will attack Iraq, because Iraq might attack us? I cannot square this approach with the just-war tradition.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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