Just War Theory

Use of Predators Sets Dangerous Precedent

My op-ed “Use of Predators Sets Dangerous Precedent” appeared today on Antiwar.com. In it, I criticize President Obama’s decision to authorize drone warfare in Libya. I write:

“The expediency of drones makes it all-too-tempting for governments to use them frequently and carelessly, brushing aside the ethical questions they raise and ignoring the long-term security consequences their use could entail.” Click here to read the full article. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Readings from Solomon's 'Judaism: A Very Short Introduction'

Martin Buber and Emanuel Levinas put their faith in the God of relationships. Alles Leben ist Begegnung (‘all life is encounter’), declared Buber, and the important thing is to get your relationship with God and with people right (I-Thou, rather than I-It); from that relationship, which is the essence of Revelation, ethical action flows; laws and rules are feeble attempts to capture revelation, and doomed to inadequacy. … Genesis 1:27 states clearly enough: ‘So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Excerpts from Jonathan Glover's 'Humanity'

Jonathan Glover’s Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century is one of the best and most important books I have ever read. Excerpts below: — An extimate for the period from 1900 until 1989 is that war killed 86 million people. Eighty-six million is a small proportion of all those alive during the ninety years, and is a small number compared to those who have died from hunger and preventable diseases.

Readings from C. Taylor, J.T. Johnson, and the US Catholic Bishops

Faith does not insulate us from the challenges of life; rather, it intensifies our desire to help solve them…. From the resources of our faith we wish to provide hope and strength to all who seek a world free of the nuclear threat. Hope sustains one’s capacity to live with danger without being overwhelmed by it; hope is the will to struggle against obstacles even when they appear insuperable. Ultimately our hope rests in the God who gave us life, sustains the world by his power and has called us to revere the lives of every person and all peoples.

Why we must remember Iraq

“The Next Forgotten War,” an op-ed of mine, was published on Antiwar.com this morning; check it out here.  In it, I argue that we must keep the memory of the Iraq War, and the individuals caught up in its maelstroms, alive: “As Iraq recedes from the headlines and slips from the public’s mind to make room for the next ‘crisis,’ we have a responsibility to give some thought to the two million Iraqi refugees displaced by the war and the tens of thousands of Americans and Iraqis killed or maimed as a consequence of the war.

Personal update: spring quarter

This is turning out to be one of the busiest times of my life, so I won’t be posting very much over the next nine weeks. For one thing, my coursework is forcing me to put most of my personal reading list on the back-burner, so I’ll have fewer excerpts to share. Despite the academic stress, however, things are better than ever. My classes are awesome – a Ph.D.-level seminar in Japanese literature of the 1920s and 30s taught from a Marxist perspective (the first time I’ve really had to grapple with critical theory), the third quarter of elementary Norwegian (which I’m taking in the hope of traveling to Norway and studying Knut Hamsun and other Norwegian writers in the original language), the third quarter of fourth-year modern Japanese (which amounts to taking a course with a top-notch private tutor, as there are only three of us in the class), and Jean-Bethke Elshtain’s course on the Just War tradition – a Divinity School course offering a perspective on war and peace that is completely different from the realist perspective of the political science department that I’m used to hearing.

Readings on Easter, Just War Theory, and Japanese lit

Happy Easter! — The resurrection of Jesus is the sign to the world that God indeed does reign, does give life in death and that the love of God is stronger even than death (Rom. 8:36-39). … At the center of the church’s teaching on peace and at the center of all Catholic social teaching, are the transcendence of God and the dignity of the human person. The human person is the clearest reflection of God’s presence in the world; all of the church’s work in pursuit of both justice and peace is designed to protect and promote the dignity of every person.