Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Ius in Bello

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Mar 25, 2003

You can argue back and forth about whether the US had adequate cause to go to war. President Bush obviously said Yes; the Pope obviously said No. And I, frankly, had severe misgivings.

But you reallycan't dispute that the conduct of the US military campaign to date has been exemplary from a just-war perspective. In the history of modern warfare, has any nation ever taken such care to minimize civilian casualties, and to give the enemy every opportunity, again and again, to surrender without further bloodshed?

Just one example: American bombs have not disrupted the electrical supply in Baghdad, because that would mean shutting down the hospitals and schools. So the US foregoes an obvious military advantage, to spare civilians.

And the US is facing an adversary who deliberately seeks to maximize civilian casualties among his own people, for the sake of political advantage!

Traditional just-war teaching makes the just conduct of war (ius in bello) as important as a just cause of war (ius ad bellum). It's not always easy for civilians to judge the ius ad bellum arguments, because we don't have all the facts. But the conduct of this war can be seen on the nightly newscasts. And on the ius in bello front, the US deserves very, very high marks.

I'll be delighted to see Archbishop Martino, or any of the other Vatican officials who have scolded the US on the ius ad bellum grounds, weigh in on this one.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($23,298 to go):
$150,000.00 $126,701.96
16% 84%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Which American archbishops—if any—will receive red hats at the February conclave? December 23
A Blessed Christmas! December 23
Facing entrenched opposition, Pope Francis plows ahead on Vatican reform December 22
The cardinal who can't let go December 22
Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17
Pope identifies 15 spiritual ‘sicknesses’ of the Curia CWN - December 22
Pope Francis's Christmas Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - December 25