War With Iran

Monday, January 16, 2006
Cecil Turner, in a comment at Just One Minute lays out a shorthand version of Just War Ehics that I find interesting:

1. Fought as a last resort;

2. by legitimate authority;

3. must redress a wrong;

4. must have reasonable chance of success;

5. must be a peaceful goal;

6. violence must be proportional;

7. and methods must be just (specifically not targeting civilians)

He also provided a link to a long hand version that still remains a summary of "THE SUMMA THEOLOGICA, part II: Question 40 - "ON WAR"

Establishing the predicate for item (1) remains the most obdurate of tasks. Should we take the word of ElBaradei “Iran has no nuclear weapons program, but I personally don’t rush to conclusions before all the realities are clarified. So far I see nothing which could be called an imminent danger. I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran." or should we listen attentively to the words of ElBaradei “If they have the nuclear material and they have a parallel weaponisation program along the way, they are really not very far -- a few months -- from a weapon”

If we take the head of the prestigious UN IAEA organization, ElBaradei, then no reasonable person could presume that the predicate for a just war exists. If, on the other hand we listen attentively to the words of the head of the prestigious UN IAEA organization, ElBaradei, then we would be foolish not to initiate mobilization towards a preemptive strike to remove a very dangerous weapon from the hands of this man.

The use of the conditional "if" just doesn't provide much of a sense of security. I'm in favor of dropping the conditional "if" and proceeding to dropping some rather concrete objections to Iran's dreams of nuclear blackmail in a manner that would win Curtis LeMay's approval.

Faster, please, no longer cuts it.


markg8 said...

If you think Army recruiting at 741 "retention" in Dec. is bad now just wait until you crank up the war fever again. Never mind that there isn't anyone in this administration who has a clue what to do after ignoring Iran for 4 years. War whooping and hollering to score political points is
the means to the end anyway.

terrye said...


same old same old.

Actually the recruiting is up, I know it is hard for you to realize this but the military is meeting its goals and is even surpassing them in some instances. You are behind the times. as usual.

I do not know the best thing to do here. I would prefer to ignore the crazy the mothereffers, but if this joker running the place has his way that might be impossible.

We are not the only country involved here, there is Europe and China and Russia and above all there is Iran itself.

And as for ignoring Iran, there is no indication at all that the administration has ignored Iran for one day, much less four years.

Why does everything have to be partisan? That is so stupid.

If you just want to ignore the real enemy and bitch about your political opponents on the other side of the aisle....they could always respond by saying that if the two previous Democrats in the White House had dealt with the mullahs it would have been over and done with years ago.

Now that we have got that out of the way do you have any bright ideas? Other than the usual Bush bashing.

truepeers said...

Rick, I don't like the first term of this abstract defense of just war - fought as a last resort. There is much to be said, especially with reference to the present geostrategic situation, for developing an ethic of preemptive war, where it seems likely that a little violence now will have a homeopathic effect in averting a much larger violence already visibly coming down the road. (Now of course we can't know for sure, but they say they want to nuke Israel and the big Satan, and they brutalize many of their own people... should be enough to qualify for preemptive war in our global village).

Win Curtis LeMay's approval? Hmm... maybe if the US resurrected a fleet of B-17s and 29s and sent them over Teheran, it would send the proper symbolic message about just what kind of a threat they are. And it might surprise the hell out of their defenses. Plus it might remidn the MarkG8s of the world what real men are made of.

terrye said...

I wonder if it has occured to the Palestinians that Israel is a small place and any nuclear device detonated in that country will almost certainly take them with it?

But then again the Iranians have to know what will happen to them if they nuke anyone and yet they are falling over themselves to get a bomb.

And they are too busy power tripping to care.

Is last resort.... last resort to keep them from getting that capability or last resort after they have it and used it?

Seems a bit subjective to me.

markg8 said...

Not behind the times terrye, just not gullible enough to believe every DOD press release that comes down the pike.

Sanctions worked against Saddam, despite what you believe he had no WMD. They also worked at long last against Libya. I say do the serious diplomacy and get Russia to go along, they're halfway there already
and get China to at least abstain. They have a lot invested in Iran and
could be convinced they stand to lose it if we have to use force.
Of course it would help if this administration had a shred of credibility and our Army wasn't currently too bogged down to rattle it's saber.

Of course they'll have to rein in fools like Bolton and Rumsfeld who could drive off allies with their monumental egos and big mouths.

Hopefully the threat of sanctions from a unified Security Council will be enough to get Iran to back down.
You don't want to see what happens to gas prices if Iran goes offline.

Can the Bushies pull this off? I doubt it, but what's the alternative? You go to war and the bargaining table with the government you have, not the one you want.

terrye said...


Recruiting is cyclical. That means whether numbers are up or down depends on the months and times you look at.

Overall, the military is getting the people it needs.

The more important thing [I think] is the perverse desire of the opposition to wallow in anything they think might create a problem for their own country.

Sometimes I wonder if the response of some folks to a terrorist attack on this country would be a jig and a high five. And I ain't talking about the Arab street.

And obviously the sanctions did not work or Clinton would not have felt the need to make regime change the national policy in 1998, nor would he have bombed Baghdad in 1998. So far as I know he did not claim success in forcing Saddam to comply with resolutions before he left office, in fact he maintained the opposite.

So it is obvious that sanctions did not work or we would not be having this discussion. Just making the claim later because you are Saddam's biggest fan does not make it so.

flenser said...

Translation; mark will not support any military action against Iran. When the Germans, Russians, and Chinese block any meaningful action at the UN, he will will not hold them or the Iranians accountable, but will blame everything on Bush.

I'm shocked!! that he would take such a position.

Anyway mark, a question for you;

Is terrorism a make believe threat being used by the cynical and dishonest Bushies in order to scare people into supporting them? Or is it a real and serious threat?

terrye said...


Of course mark thinks it is make believe.

You see people like mark and for that matter Al Gore live in an alternate universe.

Rick Ballard said...

"I don't like the first term of this abstract defense of just war"

I'm not crazy about it either but it has been around since the 1200's. Of course, there's a fair chance that B16 could come up with an encyclical addressing Ahmadinejad's remarks as evidence that Aquinas first point had been satisfied.

Aquinas himself would probably go along with that assertion, given that great weight was attached to the pronouncements of heads of state in his day.

If ius bellum is not satisfactory then we need to assert a different authority. I'm pretty sure that there are older ones available.

My favorite is " 'cause we can", which worked quite well for the Romans for a fairly long period of time. It lacks a bit in the subtlety required for the diplo dance, though.

terrye said...


yeah, the Romans had it pretty damn easy.

hank_F_M said...


Recruiting tracks unemployment. If one is down the other is down and vice versa. Unemployment is down. I get the impression, despite the hype from all sides that recruiting is down enough to be problem but nowhere near catastrophic.


Usually what is listed as number 3 on the Just War is number one. And it would usually be stated to the effect that something is so disordered that it can’t be redressed by normal means. That established, we look to see if war is a last resort etc.

What I think is driving the issue Iran’s President seems to by stating that he intends to use them. If they are used the fallout will spread far beyond Israel. It looks like whatever the current state of evidence if Iran doesn’t do something the evidence will get stronger or people will at leastleast percieve it as stronger. The possibility of a large fallout pattern outside Israel is what most persons in the area would call severely disordered. Actually I think there is much support in the region for unilateral action, provided everyone can publicly say they are against it. Personally if it comes to it, I say let the direct beneficiaries take the lead.

markg8 said...

terrye believe what you want to believe but only 741 soldiers choosing to re-up in Dec. means almost 6000 new soldiers have to be recruited on top of another month like June (I believe the best month historically but correct me if I'm wrong) to get to the desired 80,000 new active army soldiers by the end of the fiscal year. Last June we recruited 6,150 new soldiers. That's about 1000 less than the goal for June 2004. Considering the fact that we're taking double digit percentages of Cat IV recruits, people who can't get 33% right on the AFIQ test I'd say the DOD is massaging the numbers. It's leading to force degradation in the army. Of course the other services are doing well. Except for the marines they're not likely to get blown up in Iraq.

Funny, we see that perverse desire in you guys. I read a thing today that said in the event of another terrorist attack Roger Simon would be running around his backyard in his bathrobe screaming, "I've been vindicated!"

If the administration hasn't ignored
Iran for 4 years what have they been doing? They sure haven't taken the lead. They've left that to Europeans. Seems while the last two Democrats were in the WH Iran didn't have a crash course to enrich uranium.

Despite what Clinton thought 8 years ago it's apparent in the here and now on planet Earth sanctions worked. Condi Rice and Colin Powell both said so in 2001. Saddam was no threat. I know it's hard to admit you were wrong in 2003. I was too. I got over it. You and Bush? Never.
That's really annoying and makes us wonder about you guys. It's always someone else's fault. You're not infallible and neither is he.

flenser you're such a defeatist. The Germans are on board, the Russians are tired of being jerked around by
the Iranians and would love have the fuel rods contract for the Iranian reactors. Hard currency is hard currency and Putin's boys still need all they can get. The Chinese can be convinced that the rest of the world's good graces are more important than the political future
of a loudmouth foreign policy dilettante playing brinksmanship for
political points at home with the world's oil supply, including their's, at stake. Getting Iran to back down is the best way to go. It won't be easy and I'd be a lot more comfortable with someone capable running the show because here's what I see happening with your alternative.

You want to give the nutballs in Teheran a big political boost with all 72 million really radicalized behind them? Bomb Iran. If that happens God help our troops in Iraq because it'll probably radicalize the Shia there against us too.

In answer to your question it's not either/or. Terrorism is a real and serious threat that the cynical and dishonest Bushies use to scare people into supporting them. Repeatedly. Like clockwork. Scandals blossom. Bad news from Iraq or their
addiction to big business money gets them in trouble? They get caught breaking the law and their polls go down? The wingnutosphere starts blaring stories about cellphones of mass destruction and how we must take out Iran, the sooner the better. I could cite you example after example but I'm not gonna bother. You'd just delete it anyway.

terrye said...


Like I said if sanctions had worked we would not be having the idiotic talk because Saddam would have been given a clean bill of health by the UN and the Clinton administration years ago. He would have used the food for oil program for what it had been intended for and we would know what happened to the weapons. In fact if not for the war the world would still believe the weapons were there and Saddam would have gotten away with the largest scam in history thanks to the thievery of certain people in the UN.

I think it is perverse and pathetic that so many people would expend so much time and energy trying to keep one of the most brutal dictators in history in power in Iraq but would not lift a finger to help the people of that country. Not a finger. Saddam could have wiped them from the face of the earth without a kiss my ass from the socalled anti war movement so why don't you take that moral superiority and go pound some sand.

As for the people joining in December. For Chrisake mark I saw those numbers a few days ago but I wll not go look for them now, you would not care anyway.

The military was at more than 100% of goals at years end. If next month the numbers go the other way it won't matter to you so why make a deal out of what you say are one month's numbers? Unless of course you think we should start telling people to go ahead and join and not worry about having to fight because the military is just a job works program.

mark, I have said it before but this time I mean it. I won't be talking to you anymore because it is a waste of my time. There is no point in it.

Rick Ballard said...

hank_f_m - Yeah, Aquinas had 3) as 1) but then Aquinas only cited 3 to begin with. I found the BBC post to be a reasonably good summary and extension of Augustine and Aquinas line of reasoning - aside from tossing in the UN's theoretical objection to pre-emptive action.

I found your post on transferring responsibility for the action necessary to the most interested parties to be logical but finally unpersuasive - unless King Abdullah of Jordan would agree to join Israel in removing the Iranian threat. An Iranian 'short round' and the prevailing wind direction makes Amman's future viability as a habitable city questionable.

Is a joint Jordanian - Israeli operation beyond the realm of possibility? If Ahmadinejad keeps jabbering Abdullah has a responsibility to take action. He can't do it alone.

Syl said...

mark mark mark

Seems while the last two Democrats were in the WH Iran didn't have a crash course to enrich uranium.

KHAN's network!!!

How did we find out about KHAN's nuke mart??? How soon you forget!

I got your instructions and your nuke making needs, interested?

Holy Jihadi BatMan! Count me in!

And off they go.

hank_F_M said...


Yes, Jordan is in the worst position, but except for not providing early warning to Iran I don't think they could do much. Anyway I think Israel will hold back to the last minute, there are to many repercussions for them unless the choice is shoot or die.

In the area Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states are just as much down wind as Jordan, they have bases and fighters of their own.

But I think the main US idea is to get some European involvent. Turkey for the bases and possibly several squadrons from the major Europan powers. I know it sounds strange, but the wind does not always blow west to east, the Med changes patterns. I could think of few things worse for a European government than radioactive fallout that could have been prevented. The recation may not be pro US but will surely be anti whoever is in power.

News reports are talking of high level Iran discussions with Turkey and Germany. The people who run those places have a very hardnosed attitude to their self interest as they see it, many of our problems with them of late are not a lack of resolve but a different idea of where the resolve shold be.

I've been wrong before, and could be again. But if we hold off on action, thing may change in Iran, we will have a better picture to judge, and there will be less likley hood of needing a unilateral action.

chuck said...

Michael Hiteshew has an interesting post on Iran over at ChicagoBoyz. He recommends doing... nothing. At least for the time being.

Seems while the last two Democrats were in the WH Iran didn't have a crash course to enrich uranium.

Yeah, it does seem that way. All I remember are Clinton's nukuler blow jobs, seems like we all got distracted somehow. But Saddam was paying attention to Iran bigtime. Why else do you think he wanted the bomb?

Syl said...

Not behind the times terrye, just not gullible enough to believe every DOD press release that comes down the pike.

Where did your fear of being gullbile come from? I see this in a lot of leftists. It's the basis for their cynicism. 'Nobody's gonna fool me! Ever!'

You don't believe in Global Warming by any chance, do you?

Eric Blair said...

I thought we kicked the recruiting/retention thing around already, and that it had been shown that retention was running above 100% of yearly goals, and recruiting (something different) was above 80% of yearly goals.

Now, the funny thing is, with all of marky-mark's carping, I don't see any sort of solution to the Iranian nuke issue from him or anybody like him.

I imagine that he won't be satisfied until Iran nukes Israel, and Israel nukes Iran and (probably others) right back. (Perhaps slagging some of the bigger oil fields in a fit of pique.)

Niall Ferguson was speaking to this (see link on Instapundit) just this morning, but its unclear exactly who he thinks is going to be tossing nukes around other than Iran. His note on the Chinese getting involved rings false, since the Chinese economy depends on a peaceful world. (And a peaceful mideast).

In any case, buy stock in those companies having something to do with extracting petroleum from Oil Shale. Seems to me to be the next growth industry.

Peter UK said...

My favorite is " 'cause we can", which worked quite well for the Romans for a fairly long period of time. It lacks a bit in the subtlety required for the diplo dance, though.

The diplo dance takes place in the arena.