Of Christmas, War and Peace
"And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the infant wrapped in
swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.
"And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army,
praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest
and on earth, peace to men of good will." [Luke 2, 12-14]
Here the argument begins. Is it
biblical to say,
"Peace on earth and good will to men," which is
inclusive but inexact? Or does that dilute and distort
the meaning of
"Peace on earth to men of good will," which is
The former, while ecumenical, seems
pacifist. Do we wish good will today to al-Qaida? And is
not the chorus singing out peace on earth
"to men of good
will" at the first Christmas a
And is not the purpose of an army
to destroy enemies—in the case of the heavenly army, the
army of the Devil?
"Peace on earth
to men of good will" seems more consistent with the
Sermon on the Mount, where the Lord says,
"Blessed are the
peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
Surely, Christ was not here calling
down blessings on the legions that had brought a Roman
peace to the known world by conquering all tribes and
nations through the power of the sword.
Yet, Christ did not exclude Romans
soldiers from the company of men of good will. Of the
centurion who implored him to heal his servant from
afar, as "I am
not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof,"
"Amen, I say to you. I have not found such great faith
The centurion`s words have become
immortal, as for centuries they have been repeated three
times by the faithful before receiving communion at
mass said on earth.
What the Bible seems to teach is
that there are just causes worth fighting for and just
men who fight in them, and
"peace on earth" is not merely the absence of war, as
"in the fifteenth
year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar," but the
presence of peace with justice.
"(O)ver time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups,
so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to
regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a
`just war` emerged, suggesting that war is justified
only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as
a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is
proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are
spared from violence."
Obama is saying that not only must
the cause be just, but the means employed. He went on to
ask if, even in the
"Good War" against Nazism, we always observed the Christian laws of
"(F)or most of history, this concept of `just war` was rarely observed.
The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to
kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our
capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different
or pray to a different God. Wars between armies gave way
to wars between nations—total wars in which the
distinction between combatant and civilian became
"In the span of 30 years, such carnage would twice engulf this
continent. And while it`s hard to conceive of a cause
more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the
Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the
total number of civilians who died exceeded the number
of soldiers who perished."
Though World War II was a just war,
Obama was implying, it was not always conducted justly.
Indiscriminate bombing of defenseless cities of
defeated nations—Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki—is
difficult to reconcile with a Christian concept of
And today`s wars? Certainly, after
Sep. 11, Afghanistan was a just war, justly fought. But
as it has become Obama`s war, with his having doubled
U.S. forces in combat, what is it we are fighting for?
Comes the answer: to prevent a
return of the Taliban, which could lead to a return of
al-Qaida and a new base camp for terrorists preparing
another Sept. 11. And if the Taliban return, Afghanistan
will become a sanctuary for war on Pakistan, and the
capture of its nuclear weapons by Islamic fanatics who
would use them.
We are hence no longer fighting a
war of necessity to root out terrorists so they cannot
replicate an act of mass murder. We are fighting a
preventive war—to prevent their return, from Pakistan,
Is this a just, necessary and wise
war? From his own hesitancy in sending more troops and
his ruminations at Oslo, Obama himself seems conflicted.
And understandably so.
Merry Christmas, and peace on earth
to men of good will.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to
VDARE.COM readers; his book State
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
Paul Craig Roberts.