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David O. McKay on war

from the prophet-speaks dept.

I thought this was timely:

I still say there are conditions when entrance into war is justifiable and when a Christian nation may, without violation of principles, take up arms against an opposing force. Such a condition is not however a real or fancied insult given from one nation to another. When this occurs proper reparation may be made by mutual understanding, apology or by arbitration. Neither is there justifiable cause found in a desire or even a need for territorial expansion. The taking of territory implies the subjugation of the weak by the strong which is the application of the jungle law. Nor is war justified in the enforcement of a new order of government or even to impell others to a particular form of worship, however eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be. There are however two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter - mind you I say enter, not begin - a war. First an attempt to dominate and deprive another of his free agency. Second, loyalty to his government. Possibly there is a third, namely, defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.

-General Conference April 1942

Hmmm....

I think that the war in Iraq qualifies as ok then. The people there were not only being denied their free agency, but they were being slaughtered as well.

Dear Hmmm,

With all due respect, he said enter a war, not start one.

Dear Dear Hmmm,

Seems to me killing hundreds of thousands of your own people, funding the murder of innocents, and firing on the US daily in the no-fly zone pretty much puts Iraq in the "at war" state, and all we were really doing was engaging more fully and working to end it. The US was clearly justified.

make peace not war

"Nor is war justified in the enforcement of a new order of government"

this is exactly what this war is about.

your opinion

my interpretation is that a "new order of government" means a coup or a non-democratic government. once again, that is my interpretation, and you're entitled to yours.

but since you're so interested in the words of the prohpets, i again go back to our living prophet, who, when speaking on the current war, talked about our responsibilities in helping the oppressed. war is bad, yes, and should be avoided, true...but sometimes to have peace you have to go through war.

obviously you and larry disagree with me and the vast majority of LDS here in the US who feel this way.

Hold on there!!!!!

Porgo,
I haven't said a word on this subject - nor have I ever explained my reasons for opposing the war on this forum. Please don't assign opinions to me.

If you must know, it is my opinion that wars must be just, they must be legal, and they must be wise. In the case of the current war, I believe it was just, but I do not believe it was legal or wise. That is why I opposed it.

In other words, I happen to agree with you on this subject. (See, miracles do happen!) I have no problem with the morality of the Iraq war - in fact, I had some very strong words of condemnation for those countries on the UN Security Council who opposed us at the time.

In the future, please ask me for my opinion, and I will gladly (perhaps too gladly) give it.

sorry

my mistake

and you make a good point. the legality and wisdom of going into this war are valid arguments to make. i guess my main point in really on the morality, and i apologise for lumping you in with people of the opinion that somehow we were led into this war for reasons other than 1) long-term safety of the US, 2) long-term security within the middle east, and 3) to help the Iraqi people.

Interesting point

Laurence,

You made an interesting point. I agree with you that going to Iraq in the time frame we did wasn't wise, but I'm curious to hear your view on how it wasn't legal.

Legality of the Iraq War

I have to admit that in my previous post I did not state my position as accurately as I should have. It would have been better had I said that I believed that the war was probably illegal, and certainly unwise. My bad.

It is actually quite difficult to say whether the invasion of Iraq was legal or not. Had the Coalition been successful in getting a second resolution from the UN, there would be no question. But, of course, we didn't. Since there was no second resolution, the legality of the war stands or falls on the shaky ground of Resolution 1441. Although 1441 stipulates that Iraq would face consequences, it did not specifically give the US or anyone else the right to enforce those consequences without the approval of the Security Council.

Kofi Annan, of course, has been quite outspoken in his opinion that the war was illegal. I suspect that he feels strongly about this, not so much because he sees an obvious violation of the "letter" of the law, as much as he considers the invasion to be contrary to the "spirit" of the UN Charter - which is founded largely on principles of sovereigny of nations.

In my opinion, President Bush's rush to begin the war without a firm legal grounding was a huge mistake. Its easy to see that the war's illegitimacy has become a convenient pretext for countries who are hesitant about helping with funds and/or troops.

Interesting

I have long been suspect of the UN's ability to challenge Iraq because of the Oil For Food scandal. So many of the nations on the security counsel were too involved in it to be able to vote on what should have been done. I believe that had it been taken to the Security Counsel, France or Russia would have used their veto powers to put a halt to the war at that point. That would have made the war definitely illegal, at least in the international sense.

As to why Kofi Annan is outspoken about this, the action taken by the United States puts a huge chink in the armor of the UN because the perception is that if US can do as it pleases, they aren't beholden to the UN for anything. Like anybody who has made it to the top, the perception of power is very important and the US essentially thumbing it's nose at the UN cuts into Kofi Annan's power base.

Because of the Oil-for-Food scandal that has sullied the image of the UN, essentially letting Saddam maintain power over Iraq because he was able to financially support his empire, I give no creedence to the will of the UN, or more specifically, the member nations that vote based off of vested interest as opposed to interests of the international community.

HOWEVER, I agree with you that the war was certainly unwise. The argument I used before the war was that this sets a horrific precedence allowing any nation who sees a potential security threat emminating from another nation the right to invade that nation without consultation of the world community. In securing a coalition outside of the UN to prosecute the war in Iraq I believe that we have partially abated my argument, but not completely.

I'll stick with "unwise"

It is now abundantly clear that the war has had the effect of turning moderate Arabs into anti-American Arabs, and turning anti-American Arabs into terrorists and insurgents. It has emboldened and strengthened terrorism world-wide. For this, and for other reasons, I will stick with "unwise".

getting along

I don't often comment on things of a political nature just because so many other people are so much more capable of completing my thoughts much more elaborately and better. But here in general are my thoughts. The war in Iraq is wrong. I don't think it was wrong to take Suddam Hussein out of power because he was bad man doing bad things to people that he governed over. However, I think that the U.S. being there still is wrong.

Yup!

Amen, Suzie. I couldn't agree more.

Three Reasons to do anything

Vision, Duty, Love

Vision: No man willing walks a road without a vision of where it can take him. If you cannot understand why President Bush took our nation to war perhaps that is the reason. You really can't understand. It takes vision.

Duty: Have you ever inherited something you cannot repay? As citizens of the United States of America we all have. No one here can ever repay those who fought and died in any of America’s early wars. We are all either modern immigrants or else we are the sons and daughters of those who did not die defending this country. In no way are we any more deserving of freedom than any other soul. Those with a sense of duty will long to repay this debt. We can only hope to offer the same gift to others.

Love (Charity): How much do you really love the jobless if you offer him or her money? We all know this is not in his or her best interest. (Teach a man to fish…) With the resources available to us we could find the person work. How much do we really love people if we just send them food and clothes? This leans on the vision side of things, but are we not all better off giving the ability and opportunity to others that they can help themselves?

For you history buffs three reasons why isolationism doesn’t work: the Lithuania, Peal Harbor, and the Twin Towers.

That's all well and good but

What about what President McKay said?

Or are you LDS?

Bush's wars were based on lies

The current wars are supposedly based upon the premise that the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC deserved some kind of retaliation against the "terrorists," whoever Bush wanted to define them as. But, there was never any airliner that crashed into the Pentagon, that was some kind of a missile. And, the WTC towers were hit by military planes with explosives attached to the belly of the plane. Our government lied to us about the "terrorist hijackers with boxcutters." Like David Kay said: "We were all wrong."

And the earth is really a gig

And the earth is really a gigantic grape that is slowly being turned into a raisin by the jackalopes living in the center of the earth.

reply

Dear Porgo,
I don't want to sound like a jerk or anything but
that's not an interpretation, it's an addition to his comments.
Clearly. You can do that, but it isn't what he said. He
didn't make any distinction between types of governments at
all, nor did he imply that. His words were very carefully chosen.
So no, that is not an interpretation, it's altogether different
than what he said.

Also, saying the vast majority agree with you does
not strengthen your point in the least. It makes your point appear
weaker actually, at least to me. Particularly after reading
the Book of Mormon which of course describes just how wrong an
entire society of "members" can be, all the while smuggly
thinking they are the best because they "have" the gospel.

President Hinckley's comments were extremely guarded because he
made them a month after the invasion of Iraq. President McKay's
remarks were given in the middle of a just war. That is absolutely
key. President Hinckley's comments were incredibly general because
for him to ellaborate on when it is ok to go to war as President
McKay did, considering the timing, would amount to speaking against
the government. He did not do that, nor did he speak in favor of
the war. He did remind us of our privilege to express our opinions
whatever they might be, however. So to look for some microscopic
thread to support your side from President Hinckley's talk doesn't
seem to work.

semantic point

rather than call the war unwise, i think a better word would be unfortunate. not unfortunate that we went to war - a decision which i clearly supported - but that we had to go into war the way we did, setting this precedence. i agree with most of your points, but i still feel that ultimately it was our only choice.

These are the chronicles...

"These are the chronicals of life and death and everything in between." - Good Charlotte

It may be wrong for the US to have gone in the first place, but even if you subscribe to that theory, it is (A) irrelevant in our current position in history and (B) if we were to leave Iraq right now it would be left much worse than we found it. We can either stay and complete the mission or leave and watch the middle east drop into extreme chaos.

hey mr. microscopic

funny how you heard the same talk as i did and painted it your prefered color. which is why we can do nothing but go in circles on this topic. you say unjust war, i say just. you heard the prophet say one thing, i heard him tell us we have a higher responsibility to do for others what they cannot do for themselves - provide freedom.

we're not talking about right and wrong here, only two ways to do the right, aren't we? you're not suggesting that we live high and mighty over here in the US and tell the rest of the world, 'screw you' -- are you?

i'm just trying to understand what exactly you're arguing here. i really want to know. is your beef with war of any kind? or do you only have a problem with this specific war? do you think the UN plan needed more time? or that the Iraqi people should have figured it out all on their own? is war only justified when the ships have hit the beaches and american cities are being invaded? you've made it clear what you do not agree with, but what would you do? what do you think our responsibility is as the greatest nation on earth to solve world problems? what should we be doing as members of the church to support our nation to solve these problems? please enlighten me.

to relegate our nation's defense to our own borders, and be nothing more than a revolving door for food drops and emergency funds does nothing to spread peace in the world.

The route to war

Here is what I consider best case scenario for the route to war with Iraq.

  • 1. Propose a resolution essentially saying "Saddam, you are either going to walk out under your own power or we are going to carry you out of power."
  • 2. Through diplomatic back channels tell France, Germany and Russia that if they veto the pending resolution, we will very publicly assualt them with the information on the Oil for Food scandal that we had.
  • 3. Have the UN Security Council vote up or down on the resolution, and if France or Russia (is Germany a permenant member of the council?) veto the resolution, show to the world that they are profitting from Saddam's continued defiance of the UN
  • 4. Resolution or not, continue as we did. Except in this case, France, Germany and Russia have either signed on or have been shown to be frauds in the process.

I worry about the precedence because we have essentially kicked down the door allowing China to use the same argument for invading Taiwan. That scenario is a long shot, true, but it is also possible. I do agree with you porgo, it was our only choice, I just would have like to have seen it done differently.

I agree

"unfortunate" describes it best in my book.

more poor logic

we're not talking about right and wrong here, only two ways to do the right, aren't we?

no. ends do not justify the means. i'm sure you agree that pornography is evil and our world would be better without it. by your poor logic, murdering everyone involved in the pornography business would be as just as fighting it legally. i doubt you would condone the murder of those people.

you're not suggesting that we live high and mighty over here in the US and tell the rest of the world, 'screw you' -- are you?

nobody has implied anything even close, so stop stupidly accusing us of such nonsense. the posts we have made have argues for quite the opposite. it is you who has been supporting the wealthy of this nation and argued a 'screw you' attitude to the poor.

is your beef with war of any kind? or do you only have a problem with this specific war?

i can't answer for provojoe, but i am against starting any war and only entering a war in self defense for us or for an innocent country (as was done in the book of mormon) neither of those cases apply to this war effort.

do you think the UN plan needed more time?

yes. recent intelligence reports make it obvious that waiting would have threatened the us, iraq's, or neighboring coutries. having gone into and attacked an innocent middles eastern country has added threats to the us however. terrorist recruitments have gone up since we began the attack.

is war only justified when the ships have hit the beaches and american cities are being invaded?

no. i'll justify entering into war when sufficient evidence shows that an attack is impending.

you've made it clear what you do not agree with, but what would you do?

prolly what jesus would do, kil kill kill!!!! or show more love

what do you think our responsibility is as the greatest nation on earth to solve world problems?

well, as the wealthiest of all nations, i believe we should help without food, shelter, and other provisions.

what should we be doing as members of the church to support our nation to solve these problems?

see above

to relegate our nation's defense to our own borders, and be nothing more than a revolving door for food drops and emergency funds does nothing to spread peace in the world.

that's why i hate the church's international welfare system. our funds should go to weapons to fight other countries to give them a democracy that we don't even have.

as for me, i think the just war theory developed by st augustine and st aquinas is a pretty good grounds for going to war. the southern baptist convention wrote a letter to bush supporting him because of the just war theory. i wrote a paper over the summer showing how the sbc's use of the just war theory was poorly used. the paper can be found here

We haven't gone in any circle

We haven't gone in any circles yet. Many of the points in my last post are still unanswered.

President Hinckley didn't see anything about providing freedom for other countries. But if you would like to quote him on that, if it is possible, feel free.

It's simple. I believe what President McKay said. Therefore, Afghanistan was ok, Iraq is not. We didn't invade Afghanistan before 9/11 even though they were oppressing their people and to attempt to liberate every other country that's in that situation would be insane. Do you disagree?

Based on the above, what I would have done with Iraq is leave them alone. Bush Sr. did exactly the right thing (I'm willing to say that even though President McKay was hesitant even on that point), Hussein was kicked out of Kuwait and he got rid of his WMDs. It's amazing what kind of results you get when you act on correct principles! (that was one miraculously
peaceful election!) It's also telling what kind of results you get when you don't - what's happening in Iraq now. The difference between the two is striking, wouldn't you say? Ok, maybe you wouldn't, but it is apparent.

Love does a lot to spread peace and build relationships around the world and a couple ways to show it is through food drops and emergency funds indeed. Why not? We're already strong, we don't need to prove it to anyone. We should wait to be attacked at least once and as many times as we are able to restrain ourselves we will be blessed more each time, exactly as the scriptures say. When we do so our enemies will be utterly inhialiated. What's happening in Iraq is a demonstration of the arm of flesh flailing on it's own. Pathetic.

Are you on acid?

The problem with your argument is that you are suggesting that we should have walked away from Saddam Hussein and let him be. I disagree. In fact, I believe we should have marched north 13 years ago and made him pay his pennance then.

By the way, comparing this to your previous posts I'm not sure if you are on drugs or just simply are incapable of putting together rational thoughts. Examples

recent intelligence reports make it obvious that waiting would have threatened the us, iraq's, or neighboring coutries. having gone into and attacked an innocent middles eastern country has added threats to the us however.

well, as the wealthiest of all nations, i believe we should help without food, shelter, and other provisions.

that's why i hate the church's international welfare system. our funds should go to weapons to fight other countries to give them a democracy that we don't even have

I'm not even sure that these could qualify for sarcasm. Having read your earlier work I know that there is intelligence out there, I just can't find any here.

terrorist recruitments have gone up since we began the attack.

I'm calling BS on this one. A statement like that needs backing, because I highly doubt that the rate of recruitment is much, if any higher than it was pre-Iraq. I'm willing to make a bet that terrorist recruitment is actually DOWN since the US began it's prosecution on the war on terror.

what, are you blind?

wow. you obviously don't have kids, cause this mentality creates the biggest brats. those with kids will understand. love is not just about giving, its also about providing a structure around which kids can live. its about providing an environment where they can grow and learn, and be free of evil influences.

and i think Jake did a fine job of pointing out the silliness of some of your earlier points - i don't need to list them all out yet again. but i think its funny how you once again claim to speak for the prophet on this topic. wow. good for you.

deny it all you want, but all we're doing here is going around and around and around in circles on this topic. love does not mean turning your back on the problems of the world, throwing money and food at them and hoping they go away. that is exactly what you're talking about doing. well, the US is the largest contributor in goods and money to the poor and afflicted int he world - more than most countries combined. and we're still hated by many of the countries we help. and don't bother trying to blame Bush for that -- it was that way long before he took office.

you can blame imperialism, republicans, or even the western mind-set, but when it comes down to it, its not about what we do or don't do, but about how people in many parts of the world treat their own people. do you seriously think that if Saddam had not murdered hundreds of thousands of people in his own country, and then invaded Kuwait, we would not be dealing with them in the last 15 years? the answer is clearly no.

blame the present administration all you want. quote the scriptures and prophets to fit your perspective to your hearts content. and be a cynic about our president's intentions. but when it comes down to it, i believe that we should do all we can to end suffering in thr world, and sometimes that means you take out the bad guys. and sometimes that means making the unpopular decisions.

we've all agreed on this series of posts that war is ugly, that innocent people have died, and that in a perfect world responsible governments would not allow attrocities to occur within their borders. until then, i am thankful that we have a president who will stand up and make the decision to help a people that could not help themselves. as our forefathers knew, the price of liberty is high. but it is worth that price.

i'm not claiming bush has made all of the right decisions, but at least he has tried to improve the lives of millions of people in afghanistan and iraq and their surrounding countries - as well as the US - by removing a very evil government and a breeding ground for terrorism. are there consequences? of course, but it was still the right choice.

sorry... typo's galore

the following lines should have been...

"recent intelligence reports make it obvious that waiting would not have threatened the us, iraq's, or neighboring coutries. having gone into and attacked an innocent middles eastern country has added threats to the us however."

"well, as the wealthiest of all nations, i believe we should help with food, shelter, and other provisions."

sorry about the confusion. i went 41 hours without sleep a couple days ago to write a 15 page midterm for my history of analytic philosophy class. my brain is still recovering

this line was supposed to be sarcasm, which should be easy to see...

"that's why i hate the church's international welfare system. our funds should go to weapons to fight other countries to give them a democracy that we don't even have"

I'm calling BS on this one. A statement like that needs backing, because I highly doubt that the rate of recruitment is much, if any higher than it was pre-Iraq. I'm willing to make a bet that terrorist recruitment is actually DOWN since the US began it's prosecution on the war on terror.

here's the backing

I'm not who you think I am.

You've avoided most of my points again and attacked me as what I assume is the "typical liberal" in your mind,
What a weird feeling. If you would like to have a dialog at some point in the future
let me know.

Maybe your comments weren't directed at me at all. If I misunderstood, I apologize.
(I guess you were talking to someone else since djake hasn't commented on my post
only on someone else's comment on my post. Did I miss something?)

How did I speak for the prophet?

You are excused

I'll let you off the hook because you did the 15 page paper. You should put your brain back to bed for a week. I tried to do a 3 page paper once on philosophy and my brain was wasted for a month. Trying to wrap my mind around the private language argument beat the ever living crap out of me. Anyways.

Read your link, and actually found the report it was referencing, and in both cases they say it is "probable" that recruitment has gone up. I don't necesarrily believe the report to be true, but since I don't have evidence to the contrary I'll concede to you on that point.

I agree with you on your assesment of the war, in that Saddam's Iraq was not in a position to pose any credible threat to the US, or any of the nations around him. I do believe, and some of the same reports you are referencing, such as the Duelfer report, that Saddam was trying to rebuild his power base and that going in after him would have been an inevitable move. As I have said elsewhere on the topic, I think that the route to war could have been handled better, but how long were you willing to allow Saddam to be in power? Wait until he really had a couple of nukes and his chemical weapon stock rebuilt? Duelfer said that he was trying to make it happen. It was an inevitable move that would have had to have been made. Should we have waited 5 years for him to really have everything back at full strength? You tell me.