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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2,100 civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2008

America is currently involved in two military operations. One is in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. Conservative Christians usually support military operations with very little discussion. In fact, if you look at the world of Conservative christian blogs you will find that very little is said about the subject. It can be very controversial to even offer a possible criticism on the issue. In-spite of this I want to remind all Christians that we are to constantly strive to look at current events and work to come to a biblical worldview about the issues.

When we look into the history of Christianity we find that Christians struggled with the issue of war and over time what is known as the, Just War Doctrine was developed.

The Just War Doctrine was first enunciated by St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD).

Here are the principles as found in the Catholic Catechism:


Just War (2307-17)

All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. Despite this admonition of the Church, it sometimes becomes necessary to use force to obtain the end of justice. This is the right, and the duty, of those who have responsibilities for others, such as civil leaders and police forces. While individuals may renounce all violence those who must preserve justice may not do so, though it should be the last resort, "once all peace efforts have failed." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

As with all moral acts the use of force to obtain justice must comply with three conditions to be morally good.

First, the act must be good in itself. The use of force to obtain justice is morally licit in itself.

Second, it must be done with a good intention, which as noted earlier must be to correct vice, to restore justice or to restrain evil, and not to inflict evil for its own sake.

Thirdly, it must be appropriate in the circumstances. An act which may otherwise be good and well motivated can be sinful by reason of imprudent judgment and execution.

In this regard Just War doctrine gives certain conditions for the legitimate exercise of force, all of which must be met:

"1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

3. there must be serious prospects of success;

4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition" [CCC 2309].

The responsibility for determining whether these conditions are met belongs to "the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good." The Church's role consists in enunciating clearly the principles, in forming the consciences of men and in insisting on the moral exercise of just war.

The Church greatly respects those who have dedicated their lives to the defense of their nation. "If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace. [Cf. Gaudium et spes 79, 5]" However, she cautions combatants that not everything is licit in war. Actions which are forbidden, and which constitute morally unlawful orders that may not be followed, include:

- attacks against, and mistreatment of, non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners;
- genocide, whether of a people, nation or ethnic minorities;

- indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.

Given the modern means of warfare, especially nuclear, biological and chemical, these crimes against humanity must be especially guarded against.

In the end it is not enough to wage war to achieve justice without treating the underlying causes. "Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war" [CCC 2317].

The Church has no illusions that true justice and peace can be attained before the Coming of the Lord. It is the duty of men of good will to work towards it, nonetheless. In the words of the spiritual dictum, we should work as if everything depended upon our efforts, and pray as if everything depended upon God.


With all of that in mind I would like to point everyone to the following news story:

UN: 2,100 civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2008

More than 2,100 civilians in Afghanistan were killed last year, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, because of escalating fighting that spread to new areas, the United Nations top aid official said on Tuesday.

John Holmes, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, gave the toll to representatives of donor countries while launching a U.N. funding appeal of $604 million for Afghanistan for 2009.
"According to U.N. figures, over 2,100 civilians were killed as a result of armed conflict in 2008, which represents an increase of about 40 percent from 2007," Holmes said in a speech, the text of which was issued to reporters in Geneva.

He did not say whether the majority of civilian casualties were due to Taliban militants or U.S.-led air strikes in the country, where violence is at the highest levels since the 2001 overthrow of the Islamist militants.

The Taliban have regrouped and, despite the presence of nearly 70,000 international troops, in the last year increased both the scope and scale of their attacks. Air strikes which have killed civilians have provoked anger among Afghans and resentment against the presence of foreign troops.

"The armed conflict is increasingly characterized by the use of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, kidnappings and air strikes, all of which tend to increase civilian casualties," said the U.N. funding appeal document.

Here is the link to the original story: 2008

Here is a link to another related story:

Afghans Protest After US Raid Kills Civilians


Storie realted to the Iraq situation:

US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,237
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> posted by Trevor Hammack at

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