For an introduction to the series, see here.
]] writes the fifth essay in this book, an essay which is immediately challenging to my political notions which developed over the past eleven years. He takes on the notion, developed during the lead up to the Iraqi War, that a Just War is in effect the same as a Crusade, making such a Crusade a morally righteous act. He tackles Plato, Aristotle and Augustine in (re)dividing Crusade from Just War, admirably.
It is his take on the Iraqi war that I am having a difficult time with. In this short essay (the shortest of the series, I believe), he lays out masterfully the theology which prevents a Crusade, or preemptive action, but then mercilessly writes,
I believe that the war with Iraq was indeed justified, that there was a legitimate just cause. (p87)
What? I don’t even like writing those words, and yet, he doesn’t go into the casuistic American stance of the time, nor the defense which developed afterward, but focuses on his one reason. For him, none of the other reasons offered amounted to a just case for the war, but his singled out cause did. He appreciation of George W. Bush is another thing which mystifies me, but sitting today, when the President I supported is under vicious and often times unfounded attacks, I try to calm my nerves a bit and listen to what Heimbach is saying. He is fair in criticizing those who kept to a conservative notion of Just War (ironically, the Liberals) and those who sought to liberalize it (or, the Conservatives), although I think that he may not be giving the ethicists their due.
He includes an appendix to his essay which shows the statements of those who believe and defend Just War and those who believe and defend Crusade masked as a Just War.
It is going to take me a while to digest this essay, to be honest, finding any support for the Iraqi War morally questionable; however, I need to think on his singular reason, and what they might actually have meant for the overall war mind-set.