A fool’s errand

Jun 6, 2016 by

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It is ironic that in response to a Catholic statement renouncing the “just war” ethic, a Mennonite editorial declares its benefits (“Can War Be Just?,” May 23). Why this surprising turnabout?

In part, it reflects how hard it is for Mennonites to think like Catholics. Though the Catholic statement never uses the term “pacifist” and instead consistently uses “active non­violence” and “gospel nonviolence,” the editorial assumes “pacifist” and “just war” are the only two choices available to Christians.

More important, the editorial fails to grasp how propaganda has corrupted the analysis required by a just-war ethic. This corruption is so thorough that practically speaking it is impossible to use just-war methodology to achieve an ethical stance.

Pope Francis has described our contemporary reality as a “world war in installments.” Most of the endless violence is driven by the empire, which supports in equal measure the “terrorists” and the “anti-terrorists” and thrives on deceitful portrayals of the facts and the moral purposes at stake. “Just war” in such a context is a fool’s errand. Those who think otherwise deceive themselves.

Berry Friesen
Lancaster, Pa.

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