Issues: War & Peace

What does "Faithful Citizenship" say about war and peace?

"We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war." #2

"Genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks are always wrong." #64

"Catholics must also work to avoid war and to promote peace. Nations should protect the dignity of the human person and the right to life by finding more effective ways to prevent conflicts, to resolve them by peaceful means, and to promote reconstruction and reconciliation in the wake of conflicts. Nations have a right and obligation to defend human life and the common good against terrorism, aggression, and similar threats. This duty demands effective responses to terror, moral assessment of and restraint in the means used, respect for ethical limits on the use of force, a focus on the roots of terror, and fair distribution of the burdens of responding to terror. The Church has raised fundamental moral concerns about preventive use of military force. Our Church honors the commitment and sacrifice of those who serve in our nation's armed forces, and also recognizes the moral right to conscientious objection to war in general, a particular war, or a military procedure. #67

"Even when military force can be justified as a last resort, it should not be indiscriminate or disproportionate. Direct and intentional attacks on noncombatants in war and terrorist acts are never morally acceptable." #68

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (November 2007)

For more, see "Catholic Social Teaching on War and Peace."

What does the Democratic National Platform say about war and peace?

"Barack Obama will focus this strategy on seven goals: (i) ending the war in Iraq responsibly; (ii) defeating Al Qaeda and combating violent extremism; (iii) securing nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists; (iv) revitalizing and supporting our military; (v) renewing our partnerships to promote our common security; (vi) advancing democracy and development; and (vii) protecting our planet by achieving energy security and combating climate change....

"We need a comprehensive strategy to defeat global terrorists--one that draws on the full range of American power, including but not limited to our military might. We will create a properly resourced Shared Security Partnership to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation with countries around the world, including through information sharing as well as funding for training, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and targeting terrorist financing.

"We will pursue policies to undermine extremism, recognizing that this contest is also between two competing ideas and visions of the future. A crucial debate is occurring within Islam. The vast majority of Muslims believe in a future of peace, tolerance, development, and democratization. A small minority embrace a rigid and violent intolerance of personal liberty and the world at large. To empower forces of moderation, America must live up to our values, respect civil liberties, reject torture, and lead by example. We will make every effort to export hope and opportunity--access to education, that opens minds to tolerance, not extremism; secure food and water supplies; and health care, trade, capital, and investment. We will provide steady support for political reformers, democratic institutions, and civil society that is necessary to uphold human rights and build respect for the rule of law....

"To enhance global cooperation on issues from weapons proliferation to climate change, we need stronger international institutions. We believe that the United Nations is indispensable but requires far-reaching reform. The U.N. Secretariat's management practices remain inadequate. Peacekeeping operations are overextended. The new U.N. Human Rights Council remains biased and ineffective. Yet none of these problems will be solved unless America rededicates itself to the organization and its mission. We support reforming key global institutions--such as the U.N. Security Council and the G-8--so they will be more reflective of 21st century realities....

"We must make the United Nations' human rights organs more objective, energetic, and effective. The U.S. must lead global efforts to promote international humanitarian standards and to protect civilians from indiscriminate violence during warfare. We will champion accountability for genocide and war crimes, ending the scourge of impunity for massive human rights abuses."

What does the Barack Obama say about war and peace?

"I always remember Abraham Lincoln, when, during the Civil War, he said, "We shouldn't be asking whose side God is on, but whether we're on his side." And I think that's the question that all of us have to ask ourselves during any battle that's taking place, whether it's political or military, is, are we following his dictates? Are we advancing the causes of justice and freedom? Are we our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper? And that's how I measure whether what we're doing is right.

"Well, I do think there's evil in the world. I think that, when planes crash into buildings and kill innocents, there's evil there. I think violence and cruelty, wherever it's perpetrated, expresses evil in the world. And I think that all of us have an obligation to speak to that and act against that forcefully.

"Now, there have been times in our history where that requires that we take up arms. I think that the Civil War was a just war. I believe that defeating fascism and ensuring that Europe was liberated was the right thing to do.

"What was also interesting about Lincoln, though, during the course of the Civil War, was his recognition that simply because we've engaged in something just doesn't mean that there aren't times where we may act unjustly. Abu Ghraib obviously is something that all of us should be ashamed for, even if you were supportive of a war. I believe Guantanamo, the decision to detain people without charges, is unjust.

"And so the danger of using good versus evil in the context of war is it may lead us to be not as critical as we should be about our own actions. And that's something that I'm very wary about." Sojourners Presidential Forum, June 4, 2007

For more, see barackobama.com "Defense" and "Foreign Policy."

Monday, July 28, 2014

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

Inaugural Address, President Obama


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