Religion and Theology

Most religious leaders from all three Abrahamic traditions condemned the 2002 Bush Doctrine of “preemptive military action” (justifying the invasion of Iraq) as failing to meet the criteria of just war theory. Obama has not evoked the Bush Doctrine, but he has not revoked it either. Interestingly, none of the presidential candidates in the 2016 election addressed it either, except obliquely when Sanders reminded people that he led the resistance to the invasion of Iraq in Congress, and Trump reminded people that he opposed the invasion. Beyond that, there is a curious silence in spite of generalized comments about how tough the candidates will be on ISIS. No one has moved beyond surface talking points to the underlying philosophical principles that should guide the use of military force.

In light of your understanding of just war theory, why might the religious leaders and others charge that the Bush Doctrine failed the test? Do you agree or disagree with them? Why or why not?

Young, The World’s Religions, pp. 338, 341-344, 345-346, 347-349


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