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Iraqi WMDs, Catholic-style

So Father Jonathan nailed it again. In his blog he made some very insightful points which deserve more attention. While at the time I disagreed with his conclusion the Bush administration had failed to make its case, I now feel that at the least that belief was partly due to my haste to position and a lack of analysis of the situation vis-a-vis the Just War doctrine. I’m no Just War theologian so I won’t bother with going into that. One point Fr. Jonathan made that I think bears remembering, regardless of which end of the ideological spectrum you find yourself on was this:

I was keenly aware, however, that the administration may have been withholding some of its evidence about the nature of the threat for national security purposes. With this in mind, I suspended any sweeping public judgments. It is the ethicist’s role to outline principles for action, but it is the politician’s responsibility to act. When we elect a president and a congress, we give them access to more information than anyone else and ask them to make some decisions for us, based on their best judgment.

For those on the left it sounds like a sweeping and dangerous allowance of Presidential power. For those on the right, it sounds like an explicit affirmation of the decision of the President. In truth, it’s neither – it’s simply a statement of the way our republican (note the little ‘r’) form of government works. We elect them, and then entrust them with running the country. If the fullness of that realization doesn’t scare you even a little bit, you’re probably not paying attention. Republican (little-‘r’) government is a tough thing to get right. One would rightly think it a miracle we have survived this long with as few crises as we’ve had. But calling this country a ‘miracle’ is a topic for another post…

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