Monday, November 13, 2006

A just war

Over the weekend I Tivo'd some of the classic war movies that air every year on Veterans Day. I was watching Twelve O'Clock High with Gregory Peck and I began to think about what they were doing with daylight precision bombing and whether it was a just tactic in a just war.

The arguments against the bombing were 1) the horrendous civilian casualties; 2) the incredible loss of life among aircrews and 3) the ineffectiveness of the bombing at stopping the war. As I watched this movie, I wondered if I could have separated my patriotism from my faith enough to question and denounce this practice that killed millions of people without any military benefit. We were attacked and prosecuting a total war, but are there some things you just don't do in war? Firebombing civilians a la Hamburg seems to be one.

The guys flying the planes just wanted 25 missions and the chance to go home. But I suspect some of them questioned the tactics. But did the church? I can't find any evidence of any non-pacifist churches questioning this in a public way. And I wonder if that wasn't a mistake.

Now we are in a different war arguing over civilian losses and what constitutes torture. 60 years have gone by and here we are again.

Come Lord Jesus. Come

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