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US Invasion of Iraq Would Fail Just War Test
by David T. Pyne
5 February 2003

Analyzing the flaws in an argument for invading Iraq based on the Book of Mormon.

The Washington Dispatch recently published an article by Steve Farrell who wrote an article entitled, “Just War in Iraq?” As a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it was gratifying to see his application of a passage in the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ that is revered by Church members together with the Holy Bible as Holy Scripture, to the pressing question of war and peace in Iraq. As background, the Book of Mormon is an inspired account of the ancient inhabitants who lived in North and South America between the 7th century BC and the 5th century AD written by Christian prophets who lived during that period. These inhabitants were historically divided into two groups—the Nephites, who awaited the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Lamanites, ancestors of the American Indians who were taught by their ancestors to despise them.

The meaning of the passage he cited is extremely plain and cannot be used in any way as justification for the Bush Administration’s planned Iraq adventure. The scripture states that the humble followers of Jesus Christ were taught “never to give an offense, yea, never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.” In other words, it teaches that war is justified only in self defense or defense of another and articulates the Judeo-Christian just war doctrine which America, as a historically God-fearing nation, has largely adhered to for the past 226 years. It is this and other passages of God’s word in the Holy Bible together with a careful study of the rules and laws of warfare, which this author has used as the principle basis for formulating his positions in regards to the proposed US invasion of Iraq.

It was surprising to find that Mr. Farrell was using this passage in an attempt to justify the planned US war against Iraq. Throughout the Book of Mormon, the inspired leaders of the Nephites and in particular the prophets proclaimed that the blessings of the Lord would not reside with the Nephites were they to initiate an unprovoked war of aggression against the Lamanites in an attempt to avenge past perceived wrongs. In fact, when the Nephite Army finally did so, it ultimately resulted in a series of battles that ended only a few years later with the Nephites’ entire annihilation as a nation.

Applying the teachings of this scripturally-based historical account to modern times, the blessings of the Lord could not rest upon the US and its armed forces were the US to launch an unjust and unprovoked invasion of Iraq although righteous individual servants of the Lord could continue to merit His protection from the war’s dangerous aftermath. The aftermath of a US launched unprovoked war against Iraq would likely include the unleashing of further and more dangerous terrorist attacks upon its people and its territory. The LDS Church has been equally clear on matters of war and peace. During the last LDS General Conference this past October, Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called on all Church members to “proclaim peace and renounce war.” The issuance of this LDS Church directive seemed to have direct relevance to the vote by Congress to give the President a blank-check to wage war in Iraq that same week. That call has been heeded by hundreds of other laudable Christian church leaders and hundreds of thousands of LDS Church members who have come out in patriotic and principled opposition to a US invasion of Iraq. LDS Church doctrine is very clear in its expression of support of America’s 226-year just war tradition, which supports war only in instances of self-defense or defense of another.

Even using Mr. Farrell’s own criteria for just war, it is impossible to conclude that a US invasion of Iraq would be just. For example, in the second part of his stated criteria for just war, he states that a war is just if it is fought preemptively when “it is known that war is inevitable.” In the case of Iraq, war is far from inevitable. Saddam Hussein, far from inciting war with the US has done everything short of surrendering his entire stock of CBR weapons to avoid it. In contrast to the murderous nuclear missile-armed regime in North Korea, he has welcomed in UN inspectors and even invited the CIA to inspect Iraq’s suspected WMD sites. Not only is war not inevitable, but in fact it would not even be considered were it not for the Bush Administration’s overhyped rhetoric on Iraq, which has effectively painted it into a corner.

It is well-known that Iraq has no nuclear weapons and only possesses short range missiles which cannot reach beyond the borders of nuclear missile armed Israel so it remains incapable of threatening the US or its European allies. The Administration knows this yet it states that Iraq’s mere possession of a WMD arsenal substantially downsized by seven and a half years of previous UN inspections which succeeded in completely destroying Iraq’s nuclear weapons development program is sufficient to justify a pre-emptive US invasion of Iraq. He has further cited Iraq’s failure to fully cooperate with UN weapons inspectors as a justification for invasion. Never in the history of warfare has war been justified because a country is not cooperating sufficiently with globalist anti-American UN weapons inspectors. If failure to cooperate with the anti-American United Nations and yield to its declared will were a cause for condemnation, then I would look forward to the US becoming the pariah of the world.

The Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes is in flagrant violation of the laws of God and man concerning war. Nowhere is that more the case than in regards to Iraq. In his third point, Mr. Farrell states that war is just if fought in response to “an attack against one’s nation or ally.” Yet, here we have a case of a country, which has never attacked us. Similarly, Iraq has not attacked its neighbors for more than a dozen years. During the 1980s, it fought an eight-year war against the “mother of all terrorists” Iran with substantial diplomatic, economic, logistic and not inconsequential military support from the Reagan-Bush Administration. Yet now, the Bush Administration disengenuously cites Iraq’s war with Iran and the body count of Iranian Army soldiers killed in action in this US supported war in an attempt to justify its planned unjustifiable invasion of Iraq.

Despite its justifiable attempts to defend itself against unjustified US/UK bombing strikes in support of the enforcement of globalist anti-American UN dictates over the past ten years, Iraq has thankfully NEVER succeeded in shooting down even ONE of our fighter- bombers. It has not demonstrated that it has either the capability or even the intention of attacking the United States. To the contrary, its leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, himself a Christian, have taken great pains to say that Iraq would not attack the US even if the US committed further aggression against it by undertaking an all-out ground invasion of that hapless country. They know to attack the US even in response to US aggression would be both pointless and self-defeating in view of the overwhelming military superiority which the US enjoys over Iraq. In other words, Iraq is firmly contained and completely deterred from attacking the US.

Accordingly, the Bush Administration’s attempts to present Iraq as a threat to the US are lacking in credibility as are its attempts to link Iraq to terrorist attacks against the US which even the Director of the CIA said are essentially unsubstantiated. Curiously, the Administration is inviting the exact type of threat by its planned illegal and unjustified invasion of Iraq that it claims to be attempting to pre-empt—namely the likely use by Iraq of its CBR arsenal against US soldiers as a last ditch measure to defend their homeland against a US invasion. The President is wrong to jeopardize the lives of thousands of American serviceman in his unnecessary and unjustified crusade in what appears to be a personal vendetta to get Saddam and avenge his alleged assassination attempt against his father.

Even assassinating Saddam would be preferable because although it is also in violation of LDS Church teachings, it is much less objectionable than an all-out war, which would result in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents. Mr. Farrell argues passionately against exile for Saddam. In point of fact, exile would be by far the most preferable option and one that this author has been advocating even before Donald Rumsfeld first broached it back in August. Exile would save tens of thousands of Iraqi and US lives and avert the need for war against Iraq entirely, thus providing the US with a bloodless victory.

Saddam is an evil dictator to be sure, but he is only one of the sixty-odd evil dictators the world over today. There is little reason to single him out for punishment from among the dictatorial rabble. So many countries are more meritorious of being the targets of US military action than Iraq—North Korea, Communist China and Iran just to name a few. It is high time that the President abandon his attempts to empower the United Nations by launching an unprovoked war against Iraq and instead begin placing America’s national security interests first for a change. That would mean not enforcing the whim and dictates of the anti-American globalist United Nations, which as Mr. Farrell rightly points out has never met a Communist or terrorist it doesn’t like, but rather entirely repudiating it and affecting an immediate withdrawal of the US from the United Nations.


© 2002 David T. Pyne

David T. Pyne, Esq. currently serves as Executive Vice President of the Virginia Republican Assembly. He was recently interviewed on Howard Phillips’ Conservative Roundtable TV program.

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