by Maryann Cusimano Love for The Washington Post

The Obama administration argues that the U.S. drone program is legal and moral. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday of the administration’s policy, “These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.” Legally, they cite the congressional authorization of force in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the president’s ability to authorize covert operations.

Morally, they cite Just War Tradition (JWT). St. Augustine never imagined a world in which unmanned aircraft could kill people from the skies. But these ancient moral codes can still provide guidance in robot war.

JWT is a centuries-old guide to thinking about when and how it can ever by morally justifiable to violate the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” JWT holds that we retain our moral compass even during warfare. It is on this basis that the U.S. military can court martial soldiers for murder or massacres even during wartime killing. War is not an excuse that lets us “off the hook” of our obligations to protect human life and dignity. JWT stakes out the middle ground between pacifism, which never allows war, and realpolitik, which always allows war…

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4 thoughts on “DRONES: White House says drone program is “legal,” “ethical” and “wise”. Is it?

  1. Universities like Catholic University have to stop “teaching” the Just War Theory..at best, it is a ‘work-around” Jesus’s command to us to LOVE OUR ENEMY..The JWT is every President’s “best friend” in the wars and battles waged by the US govenment..Non-violent active and creative resistance to conflicts, wars and violence needs to be taught, first to the USCCB, then to parish priests, etc..

  2. Jack McHale is right. Medieval Church theologians knew that Christian culture accepted violence following the conversion of the violent Constantine to Christianity 1700 years ago. The weaving of non-Christ like acceptance of killing has been the norm of Catholic-Christian teaching ever since. If war is to be abolished Catholics need to take the lead. They did not with slavery or Civil Rights. So, maybe Catholics need to follow the leadership of other Christian denominations as we eventually did in the 19th & 20th century. But where are Christian churches taking the lead other than the example of the Peace Churches? (Amish, Bretheran, Quakers, Mennonites, Hudderites).
    The justice way is to do as McHale suggest: Stop teaching that killing is OK as long as a government says it’s OK.

  3. The military have been encouraging assault and harassment for years of military employees with the very structure of their organization:
    They have General’s at Fort Belvoir on trial for rape and sodomy and his wife and everyone innappropriately excuse it.
    They have General Petraeus cheating on his wife and they innappropriately excuse it.
    They have General Dempsey firing whistle blowers and crime victims which is innapropriate. Their are multiple cases of other military officers firing people and giving them mental ward stays because they are either whistle blowers or crime victims.
    All these Generals show a distinct lack of respect for their women’s safety, their wives safety and everyone else’s safety with their inappropriate behavior. It has filtered through the ranks and put my life and everyone else’s life in danger too. The Generals set the standard for the rest of their men and it is clear their standards are inferior and unacceptable.
    They desperately need senate and congressional oversight and any other stays they can put on these weapons. They need monthly reviews of their voice recordings and monthly review of discharge from their weapons.
    As it is now, the President, DOD and CIA can say that I or anyone else is a threat to National Security and attack, stalk, harass, terrorize, torture and murder them and hack the records and say anything they want about them as they have done to me since 2006 when I was in my 30s!
    The military personnel are basically being terrorized into covering crimes and not reporting crimes by officers and Generals who are setting the precedence and sending a strong message through the ranks that crime victims and whistleblowers are to be punished. These military personnel don’t only risk losing their jobs but their pensions with their job loss if they are not 20+ year veterans of the military.
    It needs to be legislated that:
    Anyone firing crime victims and/or whistleblowers will be punished swiftly and harshly with civil and criminal penalties whether its a ranking General or any other military officer.
    Military pensions start with 5 years of service like other public jobs and military may retire with minimum benefits after 10 years like other branches of public service and stop allowing Generals and 20 year veterans to punish the honest members of the military and the women who are victimized in the military.

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