A Just War, or Just A War?

The President’s remarks Monday night did little to reassure me about the crisis in Libya. So, I met three of my friends at a nearby Starbucks to get their opinion.

“Is this a just war,” I asked, “or just a war?”

My friend Athena picked at her blueberry scone. “If one addresses the rules for jus ad bellum, then, clearly, those requirements have been met.”

“First, we are resisting an aggressor–the brutal dictator Gadhafi–who has waged war against his own people. Second, we have the authority of the United Nations. Third, the imposition of sanctions and the freezing of the regime’s assets have not deterred Gadhafi’s aggression. Finally, our role is limited and proportional–we are striking only those assets that help Gadhafi wage war against his own people.”

Ares erupted with a contemptible laugh as he clenched his iron fist. “Spare me your weak moral concepts.” Pyroclastic words exploded from his mouth. “As you sit and debate your artificial constructs, there is terror and discord to be wrought!” The mighty warrior downed his caffe americano, stood up, and raised his fists in the air. “Why am I wasting my time, debating with you weak fools,” he bellowed. “It is time to blow shit up!”

Athena continued outlining her case for jus in bello and jus post bellum; Ares trashed the Starbucks as he shouted, “The dogs of war thirst for the blood of your heroes, and hunger to gnaw on their bones!”

Meanwhile, Gandhi sipped his chai tea quietly, calmly.

“The way of truth and love has always won,” he said in a barely audible whisper. “There have always been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible; but in the end, they always fall, always.”

The power of these meek words silenced Athena and Ares, but only for a moment before they erupted in raucous laughter.

“Bob, why are you friends with this guy?” Athena asked after she caught her breath and wiped the tears from her eyes. Ares spit on him and shouted, “Bring back the bomb! Kill! Kill! Kill!”

I handed Gandhi a napkin for him to wipe away the scorn. “Hey, Gandhi,” I said, “what do you get when you cross George Bush with a Nobel Peace Prize? Barack Obama!”

Gandhi smiled and sipped his tea quietly, calmly.

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