An unjust mess

The Archbishop of Canterbury describes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an tragic mess that fail to conform to the principles of just war theory. According to Ekklesia, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams told an audience of 600 on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2007, that “while people should recognise and honour the bravery of soldiers at war, past and present, the Middle East conflicts fell short of one of the significant requirements of what is traditionally held to be a just war.”

“One of the aspects of traditional just war theory is that you need to know what would count as a good end and how you would know when you have that and what to do then.”

Dr Williams continued: “I don’t think we had that in place sadly. I don’t think we knew what we would do next or what would count as our ending. And that is the tragedy.”

Dr Williams also talked about how Christian pacifists can reconcile their beliefs with the reality of war and the church’s development during some of the most turbulent times in history saying that for much of its early history it was involved in “damage limitation” exercises.

“Granted there are going to be wars, how do you stop then being nightmares and a mere expression of naked power?” he asked.

Christian peace campaigners have criticised the accommodation of mainline churches to violence during the 1700 years of Christendom, arguing that the core Gospel message calls for a more creative, nonviolent role in a iolent and divided world.

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