Oh look, WMD!

Oh look, WMD!

Apparently there were WMD in Iraq all this time. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., held a press conference about a just-declassified portion of a larger report.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: “Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.”

Okay, wait does this make it a just war now? It shows the difficulty of assessing an ongoing war when you don’t have all the facts before you.

Here’s a link to the report (PDF). Here’s a link to Instapundit’s roundup of discussion of the report.

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  • The point is that the ability to determine whether going to war meets the just war principles resides with the person who has all the information at his disposal. That is not usually any bishop or theologian, but the governmental leader with classified information. This is why the Catechism #2309 say that the responsibility for “the evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good,” i.e. the public authorities.

    The unequivocal position of the Holy See was that, according to the information they had, the war was not morally justified. But they didn’t have complete information.

    As for moral equivalence between Saddam’s regime and the US, that’s just silly. Saddam is a madman and a megalomaniac who has previously shown a willingness to use WMD, who had threatened the US, who had given safe harbor to terrorists within his country, and who had courted al Qaeda on several occasions.

    Am I positive beyond a doubt that all the just war criteria were satisfied? No. But then I don’t have all the information necessary to make that judgment. I’m surprised that so many other Catholics claim that they do., Apparently they have very high security clearances.

  • You are both assuming that George W. Bush cared whether Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict believe it to be a just war. Since he is not a Catholic, why would this be so?

    The presence of WMD makes Saddam’s threats more imminent, and more grave. The evil to be eliminated was certainly greater than the “evils and disorders” that the war produced.

    The bottom line, once again, is that a final determination of the justice of a war is difficult, if not, impossible to determine—by those not privy to all the information—in the course of the war. I think a strong case could be made that in 1942 a strong case could be made that America getting into a war with Germany would be a violation of the just war principles.

    I’m not saying that it would be true, but that we can only certainly determine the justice of the war in hindsight. Until then we must rely on the prudential judgment of those who have more information.

    For the average Catholic American, it means that his judgment of whether to support the president’s call for war in Iraq boils down to whether he believes the president is truthful, whether he has sufficient information, and whether he cares about the morality of what he’s doing based on the president’s own religious beliefs.

  • Even if there were working WMD stockpiles before the war, their existence would mitigate *against* going to war to keep such weapons out of terrorist hands.  One could reasonably expect such WMDs to end up on the black market or in the hands of terrorists after an invasion left them unsecured.  The case even seems less hypothetical than the speculations that Hussein could have given WMDs to terrorists.

    That this possibility, to my knowledge, wasn’t even considered in the national press makes me think the media really dropped the ball in critiquing the president’s case for war.

  • ““Self-defense” means defending yourself against a direct attack.  It does not mean using a direct attack against yourself as an excuse for attacking someone other than your attacker. “

    Yes, Iraq and Saddam were not the source of the 9/11 attacks, but it is very naive to think terrorism=9/11 only. Saddam was involved in other terrorist activities in the MidEast and the Bush Administration made the decision to attack.

    History will tell if this decision was the correct one or not.

    Remember from the 9/11 Commission report that the Administration was concerned with Osama “boogieing to Baghdad.”

  • “Nothing you wrote above sustains his contention”

    What I wrote was not meant to sustain his contention, though I understand his contention differently than you.

    We were attacked on 9/11, the Bush administration launched an attack on the Taliban in response.
    Later, the Administration, as a broader escalation of the “war on terror” (again, I see terror being much more than 9/11) an attack was launched on Iraq.

    Rightly or wrongly, it appears to me (a joe- six pack), that the administration decided to remove Saddam to dramatically shift powers and players in the MidEast. Perhaps the war was launched to benefit Haliburton or for an oil grap by Bush’s Texan oil buddies.

    I agree with our Popes, and the prelude to the war was scary, and the current outcome hideous, ugly and still brimming with uncertainity.

    Just, unjust…as I see it now, history will utimately tell how this plays out and, if the attack on Iraq was a distraction.

    President Bush will have to meet his Maker so day, so we should pray for him as he, as our President, carries burdens and responsibilities that none of us commenting here will ever, ever have to cope with…burdens and responsibilities that our Good Popes do not have.

    I’ll take a look at your magazine back issues about the Islamic terror threat. I live in a community here on the West Coast with a sizeable Muslim population. In columns in the local paper or letters to the editor, many of these Muslim neighbors write about discrimination and persecution they are facing now in the community because of the war on terror. One local Muslim politician had the nerve to blame Israel for 9/11.

    For my Muslims neighbors, I think the biggest threat they are facing is from within. The Taliban murdered and oppressed thousands and thousands of Muslims. I recall the fundamentalist terrorists in Algeria murdering a 100 thousand or more fellow Muslims.