Trump, Syria and just war theory

Sad! If you answered “sure, why not, maybe he’s changed” to these rhetorical questions, let me impress on you further. But first, the reaction from faith leaders to the Syria airstrikes has been underwhelming, but that’s not surprising since public theology has become synonymous with abortion clinic protests in the United States. to stay out of World War II? When asked by GOP pollster Frank Luntz if he has ever repented for anything in his life, Trump answered: “I don’t think so. The same man who heralded the use of pig’s-blood-coated bullets by American soldiers in the Philippines to massacre Muslims? In a tweet-length statement he might get: Syria attack is “loser” use of force. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., rightly called an “act of war” included this doozy: “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” Who is this Donald Trump, benevolent caretaker of foreign children? Probability of success (questionable):
In the days after the attack, Assad has continued to fly planes from the base we targeted and even attacked the same town. This excludes giving a humanitarian reason to justify a war while acting on other intentions. Are we to believe Donald Trump has ever asked for God’s wisdom? If the goal was to stop Assad’s tyranny, did Trump believe 59 missiles would accomplish the mission? First, there’s the whole issue concerning the president’s pathological lying. Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City denouncing militarism, nobody in the United States seems to care or expect our religious leaders to weigh in on matters of war and peace. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. The sad state of affairs for religion and public life in the United States doesn’t mean Christian social teaching has nothing to offer the current moment. I don’t bring God into that picture.” It’s hard to imagine a God-fearing, God-inspired president who has never done anything in his life worthy of repentance. But any discussion of Trump, Syria and just war theory really should begin and end with just this criterion. Just cause (satisfied):
The use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, confirmed by the World Health Organization, represents a clear violation of international law. There is certainly a case to be made that Trump’s attack on Syria satisfies three of the criteria. (RNS) “We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world,” President Trump said in his address to the nation after firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria. Second, even the most “cultural” of Christians knows repentance is a big part of the whole God thing. It doesn’t require much theological insight to know going to war to look presidential fails the just war theory test miserably. On two of three days he did not make false claims, he played golf.” Judging the right intention of our commander in chief would need to begin with our having any capacity at all to believe anything that comes from his mouth. The pacifist response to Syria strikes is clearly opposed. It just means you’re unlikely to hear about a Christian response on cable news. We might call this, in the president’s own parlance, FAKE NEWS! The same Donald Trump who campaigned on an “America first” slogan that was first used to urge the U.S. Is this the same Donald Trump who sought to bar Syrian refugees from entering the United States? Last resort (satisfied):
President Obama already tried to use whatever means possible short of force. As for the just war analysis, it takes a little explaining, but reaches the same conclusion. More on that in a second. Competent authority (questionable):
Trump bypassed not just Congress, but also European and Middle Eastern allies that joined the United States on similar campaigns in the past. A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria, on April 4, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Ammar Abdullah
Just war theory lists six criteria for waging war. When Trump can’t even begin to meet the right-intention criterion, the whole endeavor should be called into question. (You’ll have to make do with Brian Williams calling the bombs “beautiful.”)
The two major streams of Christian engagement on war are pacifism and just war theory, which comes out of Catholic social teaching. The same man who asked a foreign policy adviser, “If we have [nuclear weapons], why can’t we use them?”? Right intention (fails):
What’s left of public theology in the United States could debate the previous five points. The president’s statement on what Rep. Proportionality (satisfied):
A limited and targeted military strike to disable Assad’s capabilities appears, from the reports we have in news media, to be a proportional response. As Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post recently tweeted: “Trump has made 367 false claims in 77 days. And now we return to the question of Trump and God. Force may only be used if the intent is to really pursue a just cause such as addressing grave wrongdoing.