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CPP Newsletter Online Notices V11.2

Hypatia Special Issue: Feminism & Peace

Call For Papers

Call for papers for a Special Issue of Hypatia on “Feminism and Peace.” This volume will explore a range of issues concerning the interconnections between feminist philosophy and peace studies. Papers are welcome on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) the following: the nature of a feminist peace politics or a feminist peace ethic; the relevance and implications of various feminist philosophies (e.g., liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, ecological feminism, postmodernist feminism) for an understanding of the just war and pacifist traditions; feminist perspectives on the morality of war and the morality of violence; feminist discussions of philosophical connections between the practices and ideologies of militarism, nuclearism, imperialism and violence toward those perceived as “other;” feminist analyses of the relevance of race, gender, and class to discussions of war, peace, and various forms of institutional and interpersonal violence; critical examinations of male gender-biased language in the contexts of discussions of war, peace, and violence toward women; gendered conceptions of the body and sexuality as they relate to issues of war, peace, and “domestic violence;” feminist analyses of prostitution, rape, pornography, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual abuse in the context of a feminist peace politics; ecofeminist perspectives on connections between women, peace, and the nonhuman natural environment; feminist explorations of the philosophical significance of women’s peace camps and non-violent actions; and feminist analyses of Gandhian satyagrahas as strategies of resistance.

The guest editors for this Special Issue are Karen J. Warren and Duane L. Cady. Submissions should be sent in quadruplicate to: Karen J. Warren, Philosophy Department, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101. Deadline for Submissions: March 15, 1993. Publication Date: April, 1994.

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.2

War, Gender, Race & Class by Duane Cady

Cady, Duane. “War, Gender, Race & Class: 1991 CPP Presidential Address,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11.2 (Fall 1991)

Preface

Let me preface my paper with a few personal remarks; I know this is unusual for gatherings of academic philosophers, but Concerned Philosophers for Peace is an unusual group.

I am both honored and humbled to have been elected President of CPP. I am primarily a teacher of undergraduates. I work in a department of three in a small, liberal arts college. Course variety and load are significant. My writing goes on around the edges. I say all of this to acknowledge that my work has come to light in large part because of this group. I doubt that my book–or even an essay on my war and peace concerns–would have been written and published were it not for many of you who have taken me in and taken me on. You know that our peace interests have been at the margins of our profession; without the encouragement of one another, few of us could persist in work so far from the academic center. I thank you.

While you have helped me take myself seriously, I don’t take myself too seriously. A couple of years ago a colleague of mine observed that she often heard academics account for the presence of a woman or person of color on a panel or program by reference to their race or gender; she wondered when the day would come when a white male would make such a self-reference as an account of his presence on a program. Although she’s not here to hear me, I do know that as a white, male, middle-class American I have had a great many advantages in our culture; those advantages certainly help account for my presence on this program. Although we did not create it, ours is a white-male privileged culture and it’s only fair at least to acknowledge it as such, better yet to challenge and change it. This leads me to my remarks for the evening.

War, Gender, Race & Class

In thinking about Nationalism, Militarism and Regional Conflict, in order to provoke a thought which might become my talk for this occasion, I caught myself reflecting on the chauvinism and arrogance that often accompany nationalism and militarism. From there the jump was small to racism, sexism and what I have called warism. Without pretending to exhaust the relationships between these, I explore some of them in what follows. My thesis is that something like what Marilyn Frye has named “arrogant perception” (Frye, 67) goes hand-in-hand with an attitude of domination which is common to sexism, racism, classism and warism. To me this means that these and other “isms of domination,” as Karen Warren has called them (Warren, 87), are variant manifestations of the urge to elevate or to defend oneself (or one’s race, gender, nation, etc.) by putting or holding others down where the put-downs are based solely on selected and politically structured differences that reflect apparent power differentials.

My effort here is to examine warism and its relations to racism, sexism and classism. I take warism to be the view that war is both morally justifiable in principle and often morally justified in fact.(1) It is sometimes held explicitly, by those who openly and consciously take just-warist positions. And it is held implicitly, by those who take war for granted as, simply, the normal and natural activity of sovereign states. Often warism is encouraged by manipulation and exploitation of ignorance, fears and prejudices of sexist, racist and classist sorts. I will argue that warism cannot be understood without grasping these isms of domination through which it functions and is sustained. Warism synthesizes racism, sexism and classism on a grand scale, holding them in place while depending on them for its own maintenance. Racism, sexism and classism are interrelated in warism; they are interconnected, mutually supporting and inextricably entangled, each with the others. To resist any one of them involves resisting them all; to ignore any one of them involves complicity with the rest.

I will confine my remarks to four aspects involved in maintaining and justifying the power and privilege of the isms of domination of racism, sexism and classism and their synthesis in war: 1) conceptual issues, 2) the institutionalization of race, gender and class identities, 3) epistemological issues, and 4) interconnections between isms of domination. My approach will be to draw from several important contributors to current discussion of these isms of domination to develop and exemplify the plausibility of my suggestion that warism both sustains and is sustained by racism, sexism and classism.

In The Politics of Reality, Marilyn Frye argues that various “cultural and economic structures … create and enforce elaborate and rigid patterns of sex-marking and sex-announcing which divide the species, along lines of sex, into dominators and subordinates.” Acts and practices which reinforce and support these structures are sexist (Frye, 38). For subordination to be efficient it is important “that the structure not appear to be a cultural artifact kept in place by human decision or custom, but that it appear natural …,” (Frye, 34, emphasis hers).

All of us, to varying degrees, reflect our culture’s sex-marking standards through our garments, hairdos, cosmetics, scents, “gait, gesture, posture, speech, humor, taste and even perception, interest and attention [all] that we learn as we grow up to be women or men…,” (Frye, 23-24). And we take these cultural constructs of gender to be reality and thereby to justify the double-standards. The point is not that there are no differences between women and men; there are subtle and complex differences, some of which are just beginning to be understood. Frye’s point is that the differences are largely limited to reproductive function, and, importantly, are exaggerated to suggest two distinct and sharply dimorphic sexes when in reality “people fit on a biological spectrum between two not so sharply defined poles,” (Frye, 25). So, gender is mostly political. But while our consciously chosen political acts explicitly reflect our conceptual frameworks, sexism implicitly does so, reflecting beliefs, attitudes and assumptions of which we may not even be aware. Sexism functions as a normative lens which shapes and filters all that we encounter to fit its contours.

In developing her notion of the pervasive influence of culture on our sense of gender, Frye describes the “arrogant eye,” her name for the sort of perception dominant in Western Civilization. The philosophic question, ‘what is man’s place in nature?’ is answered, ‘everything exists for man’s purposes.’ Those seeing with arrogant eyes organize everything with reference to themselves and their own interests (Frye, 67).

Importantly, most of those in positions of power and privilege doing the theorizing about “man’s place in nature” have been men. In Is Women’s Philosophy Possible? Nancy Holland points out not only that women’s experience has been almost entirely left out of consideration in traditional philosophy; beyond this neglect, male norms from experience “are offered as examples of human behavior” and “function as standards that exclude those with different experiences from the realm of the human,” (Holland, 12). Those falsely universalizing from male experience to standards for humanity may be unaware of “the power hidden in universalization, the power to say who and what other people are, and the power to ignore their self-definitions and their own experience of themselves and the world,” (Holland, 2).

Feminist considerations of theorizing, of philosophy itself, expose the dangers of perceptual arrogance: we may not only be misled about the reality we seek to know, but we may also contribute to splitting humanity into dominant and subordinate divisions. This is so no less of race than of gender.

In a remarkable essay called “On Being White: Thinking Toward a Feminist Understanding of Race and Race Supremacy,” Frye describes her feelings about the dilemmas of struggling against racism: “…racism is so systematic and White privilege so impossible to escape, that one is, simply, trapped,” (Frye, 126).

Frye tells a story of her work with a number of White women who formed a consciousness-raising group to identify racism in their lives with hope to understand and dismantle it. Some women of color suggested that it was racist of them to form a group of White women only, and one Black woman confronted them angrily for even thinking they could achieve their goals working only with White women. It seemed to the White women that doing nothing would be racist, but that whatever they did would be racist just because they did it. Frye realizes that as a White, whatever decision she makes will be an exercise of race privilege.

For Frye, race–like gender– is cultural.

Many people whose skin is White, by which of course we don’t really mean white, are Black or Mexican or Puerto Rican or Mohawk. And some people who are dark-skinned are White. Natives of India and Pakistan are generally counted as White… Whiteness is, it seems pretty obvious, a social or political construct (Frye, 114).

To be White is to be a member of a privileged group which is self-defining. In America, by law, if you are part Black, you are Black, but if you are part White that does not make you White. The privileged group decides who its members are.

Certainly, there are differences between the phenomena of gender and race, even if both are cultural constructs contained within our conceptual frameworks; but the similarity may help some of us recognize ourselves as members of one or more privileged groups. If membership is political–as it must be since the privileged decide membership–then it is not dictated by nature. If the privileges are unwarranted–as surely they must be regarding gender and race–then our advantages come at the expense of disadvantages to others. Racism and sexism are so systemic and their privileges as well as burdens so impossible to escape, that we are, simply, trapped. Or are we? After all, if racism and sexism are cultural constructs, then even if we number among the privileged we have the option of resisting the cultural constructs. Here’s where Frye finds hope:

I have enjoined males of my acquaintance to set themselves against masculinity. I have asked them to think about how they can stop being men, and I was not recommending a sex-change operation. I do not know how they can stop being men, but I think it is thinkable, and it is a counsel of hope. Likewise I can set myself against Whiteness. I can give myself the injunction to stop being White (Frye, 127).

As Whites, we must never claim not to be racist, but only to be anti-racist (Frye, 126); as men we must never claim not to be sexist, but only to be anti-sexist.

A year ago I had the good fortune to meet Katie Cannon, the Black feminist theologian (one of a handful of Black women to hold a Ph.D. in religion) and author of Black Womanist Ethics. Interested as I am in the relationships between varieties of domination and subordination I could not resist asking her how she saw the relationships between racism, sexism, and classism. As a Black woman raised in a working-poor family she would have a privileged access to the interplay between these isms of domination. I was amazed and moved when she related her experience.

She said that as a child she was sure that racism was the fundamental oppression; she hadn’t yet felt the sting of sexism and she didn’t realize how poor her family was until she was older. By the time she got to seminary she was pretty sure sexism was a bigger problem than racism; her peers and professors seemed more bothered by her gender than by her race. Years later, having completed her Ph.D. and having taught for several years in Boston, she made a major presentation before a large and affluent audience. After her talk she met several Black women whose body language and voice inflections seemed to put her down. Confused and hurt, Professor Cannon realized later that the women had heard her working-poor background in her voice; it wasn’t race or gender, but class prejudice which she then felt (2).

Professor Cannon’s own experience had convinced her that it was a mistake–a trap–to be pushed to choose between racism, sexism, and classism. In her mind none could be thought to be more (or less) important than the others. Black Lesbian feminist Barbara Smith took a similar position as early as 1977 when the Combahee River Collective wrote:

The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives (Smith, 95).

The synthesis of these oppressions–that is, how they come together–creates the conditions of our lives whether we’re among the privileged or the subordinate when the conditions are cultural. This synthesis is a subtle and complex business; here we are looking only at one of the ways this synthesis is maintained, namely, warism. There may well be a good many other cultural structures which sustain a similar synthetic function: economics, education, history, etc. The analysis of such conditions–that is, how we take them apart–may distract us away from the very synthesis which holds them together to create a network which sustains existing privilege and power. As I have tried to make clear above, recognizing, engaging, and trying to overcome this synthesis is a problem for all of us, not only for those disadvantaged by the status quo.

With “A Fierce and Human Peace,” Sara Ruddick provides a critique of military masculinity as she develops her feminist peace politics. She exposes the ‘male’-defining misogynous and homophobic norms of masculinity invoked by militarists to train, shame, and inspire soldiers. Ruddick notes the use of racial and ethnic slurs in the process and extends her critique to challenge military femininity. Her objective is to urge a sturdy, public suspicion of organized violence even in the best of causes (Ruddick, 3). Applied to regional conflict, each of us can readily cite exploitations of racism, sexism, and classism in various contexts. Popular media coverage of the Persian Gulf War provided innumerable examples. It is important to recognize that “good” wars, if there can be any, would not rest upon such synthesizing of isms of domination. Perhaps better said: the acceptability of a given war may be proportionate to its dependence upon synthesizing isms of domination to sustain itself.

In Philosophy of Liberation, Enrique Dussell points out the ways in which dominant conceptions of geo-political reality reinforce status quo power and privilege at the expense of people of the so-called Third World, extending the considerations of class into a world-wide arena. On Dussell’s model, our present global order consists of a culturally dominant “center” and a culturally dominated “periphery.” Those of influence in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan constitute the center; the peoples of the periphery include women, children, the aged, the racially and ethnically oppressed, and the populations of Latin America, Africa and most of Asia. Domination of the periphery by the center is political, military and economic, and goes deeper to entrap ideologically, psychologically, spiritually, scientifically. All relationships are contaminated by the center/periphery split.

Dussell asks all theorists to begin anew with the primacy of the other as the foundation rather than to presume objectivity and thus help to sustain the theft of all value from the people of the periphery. The implications are radical and revolutionary: economics becomes service to the other rather than maximization of profits; nature becomes a global home and not mere exploitable matter; choices must respect the periphery and not merely impose themselves onto the periphery from the center, and so on.

Applied to the global reality described in Dussell’s terms, warism synthesizes sexism, racism, and classism on a grand scale to perpetuate the power and privilege of the center. It “justifies” itself by marginalizing the disadvantaged, that is, by arrogant perception. As long as the privileged and powerful perceive the “reality” formed by the isms of domination, the normal and natural thing to do is constantly prepare for, threaten, and undertake war to preserve the status quo. The isms of domination together form a status quo network which is both self-sustaining and oppressive of the periphery.

In “Playfulness, ‘World’-Traveling, and Loving Perception” Maria Lugones takes off from Frye’s notion of arrogant perception to insist on the need to understand and affirm racial and cultural plurality as central to feminist knowing. Her concept of ‘loving perception’ avoids the fusion and erasure of difference characteristic of traditional (false-universalizing) philosophy. In place of the tradition’s ‘unity’ which she shows to be conceptually tied to domination, Lugones offers plurality which celebrates difference and is conceptually tied to solidarity. Noticing and appreciating pluralities turn out to depend on “‘world’-traveling,” “understanding what it is to be [another] and what it is to be ourselves in their eyes,” (Lugones, 17). This is no sentimental, utopian suggestion that world peace will reign when everyone learns to appreciate everyone else. There are ‘worlds’ which we enter at risk, in which we are uncomfortable at best and which have “conquest and arrogance as the main ingredients in their ethos,” (Lugones, 17). But while not all loving perception yields the same in return, at least there is hope beyond the domination of arrogant perception.

In “On the Logic of Pluralist Feminism,” Lugones goes further to argue that plurality must be stressed in the very structure of any theory. Otherwise the theory distorts by missing complexity, and, in its arrogance, offends those it excludes while privileging its simple, narrow source. Humble perception is the antithesis of arrogant perception.

I have tried to show some of the ways in which racism, sexism, classism, and warism are intertangled. Together they create the conditions of our lives whether we are among the privileged or the disadvantaged. If we want to understand any of them we are stuck struggling to understand all of them. They are connected not only as they are exploited and manipulated by the powerful to sustain the status quo ; they are connected as well by the arrogant perception dominant in the prevailing conceptual framework of our culture, the self-determined geo-political center. This means that they are sustained by the systems through which our culture operates.

Racism, sexism, classism, and warism are not identical. Taken independently, each has distinct features of its own. Token together, they perpetuate the established dominant systems which seem to become increasingly monolithic as time passes. These same systems have given the world ever higher levels of carnage, hate, and suffering while fewer and fewer (but increasingly privileged) individuals have significant influence.

Recognizing the interdependencies of racism, sexism, classism, and warism can provoke despair; the scope and complexity of our problems nearly overwhelm. Yet the recognition of these interlocking features of dominant (and dominating) culture also frees us to join in solidarity with people suppressed and subordinated, because we needn’t affirm or help sustain these systemic isms of privilege and domination; we can set ourselves against them. Because they are institutionalized features of culture, they needn’t define us nor need they be accepted as if natural or permanent.

Hamline University

Notes

I want to express my gratitude to Katie Cannon, Nancy Holland, Julie Raulli, Sara Ruddick, Karen Warren, and Rick Werner for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this talk; of course the problems remaining are my own.

1) Cf. From Warism to Pacifism: A Moral Continuum (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989), especially Chapter I.

2) Small group discussion with Katie Cannon, St. Paul, Minnesota, November 8, 1990.

References

Dussell, Enrique. Philosophy of Liberation, tr. Aquilina Martinez & Christine Morkovsky (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1985).

Frye, Marilyn. The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (Trumansburg, NY: The Crossing Press, 1983).

Holland, Nancy J. Is Women’s Philosophy Possible? (Savage, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1990).
Lugones, Maria. “On the Logic of Pluralist Feminism,” in Feminist Ethics, Claudia Card, ed. (University Press of Kansas, 1991).

———— “Playfulness, ‘World’ Traveling, and Loving Perception,” Hypatia Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer, 1987).

Ruddick, Sara. “Fierce and Human Peace,” in Just War, Nonviolence and Nuclear Deterrence, Duane L. Cady & Richard Werner, eds. (Wakefield, NH: Longwood Academic, 1991).

Smith, Barbara. “Feminist Writers Confront the Nuclear Abyss,” in Exposing Nuclear Phallacies, Diana E. H. Russell, ed. (Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press, 1989).

Warren, Karen. “Towards a Feminist Peace Politics,” Journal for Peace and Justice Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1991.

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CPP News CPP Newsletter Online V11.2

Report from Knoxville

Kunkel, Joseph. “Report from Knoxville,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11.2 (Fall 1991)

CPP’s fourth annual conference was held October 25-27, 1991 in Knoxville, TN. We met on the campus of the University of Tennessee Friday and Saturday, and at the Knoxville Hilton Sunday morning. At the plenary sessions we heard addresses from Henry Shue, Karen Warren, Linda Forcey, and Duane Cady. The theme was “Nationalism and Regional Conflicts.” Sheldon Cohen is to be congratulated for arranging this stimulating conference.

At the business meeting several issues were discussed. The first concerned some difficulties encountered by Duane Cady and Richard Werner in the publication of CPP’s third volume entitled Just War, Nonviolence, and Nuclear Deterrence: Philosophers on War and Peace. The book is a selection of revised papers from the 1990 conference held at the University of Notre Dame. The camera-ready manuscript was submitted to Longwood this past summer. Although the book was not printed in time for distribution at the Knoxville meeting, it is now availble. Meanwhile, Laurence Bove and Laura Duhan Kaplan agreed to begin the editing of the Knoxville papers.

William Gay reported on the progress of the joint venture he is editing for CPP with Tatjana Alekseeva of the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow. The seven American essays have been chosen after a blind reviewing process that involved a number of CPP members. Each submitted essay was reviewed by two to four reviewers. The final selection was made from these reviewers’ comments by an editorial board consisting of Richard Werner, R. Paul Churchill, and Bill Gay. The Soviet essays have been collected by Tatjana and are in the process of being translated into English. If all goes well the English edition will be sent to the publisher Rowman & Littlefield by this Spring.

Next year’s CPP conference will be in Charlotte, NC, with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte acting as host. Laura Duhan Kaplan has agreed to chair the program and make the local arrangements. The conference theme will be “Power and Domination.” (See p. 16 for an early announcement with various subthemes.)

A report on IPPNO was given by Howard Friedman of the University of Conn. at Waterbury. John Somerville has resigned as USA Chair. In his place Ronald Santoni was appointed as USA President and Howard as USA Executive Secretary. Thomas Daffern continues as International Coordinator. The IPPNO name is presently being retained, but with a subtitle of “Philosophers for Global Concerns.” Howard made a strong pitch for cordial relations with CPP. He is hoping to begin an international journal on philosophy and peace, by using computer diskettes instead of paper bindings. IPPNO will also organize a philosophy of peace section at the World Congress on Violence and Human Coexistence meeting in Montreal in July, 1992 (contact Ron at Denison for more details), and at the World Congress of Philosophy meeting in Moscow in 1993.

James Sterba reported for the elections committee on two nominees for CPP president. They are Robert Holmes and Steven Lee. Joseph Kunkel was nominated to run unopposed for Executive Secretary. The ballots will be sent out in the extra January mailing that includes the annual dues request.

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CPP Newsletter Online Notices V11.2

IPPNO News

Friedman, Howard. “IPPNO News.” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace V11.2 (Fall 1991)

CURRENT HISTORY. On 3-14-91 John Somerville, seriously ill for more than a year, resigned as President of North American IPPNO and asked Paul Allen, then Secretary, to take over. On 9-17-91, after considerable consultation, Paul asked Ron Santoni and Howard Friedman, respectively, to be President and Executive Secretary. Both accepted with Paul and John (the latter’s health permitting) remaining on the Advisory Board. One task of the present executives and all others concerned is to redefine the mission of IPPNO, given the diminished present threat of omnicide. My own view is that IPPNO’s central focus should be the attainment of peace, however this latter may be viewed, but that the larger circle of IPPNO’s concerns extend to any global issue that might become peace-threatening. Arguments for other views are encouraged: out of this interchange a new IPPNO–and a new constitution–will arise.
Is IPPNO’s name also to be modified? Time will tell. At the very least, in the interest of continuity for the present IPPNO will keep the acronym, ‘IPPNO,’ but define its scope differently. Since the North American section of IPPNO has been the chief locomotive in energizing the entire IPPNO structure, this section will shortly reach out through the IPPNO coordinator, Tom Daffern, to other IPPNO sections to establish closer ties and to stimulate the formation or renewal of activities.

What of the relation between IPPNO and CPP? I attended the CPP meeting in Knoxville specifically to begin rebuilding bridges. I said then, with Ron’s concurrence, that although the particulars are open and to be defined in practice, our intention is to be totally cooperative, non-competitive and wherever possible mutually complementary. In the same spirit, I noted how regrettable difficulties had arisen in the past between the two groups and that we would take all steps possible to avoid any recurrences.

PLANNED MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES. 1) IPPNO meeting, Eastern Division, APA, Sun., Dec. 29 1991; 9-11am, Broadhurst/Belasco Room, Mariott Hotel, NYC. Topic: War and Its Victims. Papers include “The Effects of War on Children” and “Current Estimates of Nuclear Warfare Casualties.” Business meeting will follow talks. Contact Barbara Wall, see below. 2) A plenary session on War and Violence is being organized by IPPNO and CPP for the Second International Congress on Violence, Montreal, July 13-17, 1992. IPPNO is an official sponsor and Ron Santoni is preparing this session. Papers will be chosen on merit without regard to organizational affiliation. Please contact Ron asap , see below. 3) An international conference, European Conversations on Peace, will be held in the autumn, 1992 in London and then in Brussels or Paris. Contact Daffern, see below. 4) IPPNO plans to hold its next international conference in connection with the XIXth World Congress of Philosophy, Moscow, 1993. The conference theme is Mankind at a Turning Point, Philosophical Perspectives. Contact Friedman or Santoni, see below.

ACTIVISM. I am proposing a Network of Correspondence whose members will originate letters-to-the-editor and op-ed articles and transmit these to all other members so that one article can be placed in many local papers and magazines. I invite volunteers to serve as members and coordinators for the Network. Contact Friedman, see below.

JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF PEACE. To be an international, multi-perspectival, interactive, refereed electronic journal. Sections will contain articles, electronic roundtable discussions, reprints of classical articles not easily obtainable, notes, reviews, peace-relevant data, current bibliography, announcements, etc. All submitted articles are to be refereed. (All referring is blind, so serving as a referee does not preclude contributing to the Journal as well.) Issue editors, assistants,and those interested in developing an authoritative bibliography, or in taking charge of any particular section, are also needed. Contact Friedman, see below.

Howard FRIEDMAN, Phil. Dept., Univ. of Connecticut at Waterbury, Waterbury, CT 06710. Tel. (w) 203 757-1231 (Tell operator before being connected you wish to leave a message if no answer.) (h) 203 283-4485. Bitnet FRIEDMAN@UCONNVM. Internet FRIEDMAN@UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU. FAX 203 754-8540. Ronald E. SANTONI, Phil. Dept., Denison Univ., Granville, OH 43023. Tel. (w) 614 587-6318 (h) 614 587-2327. Bitnet Santoni@Denison. Internet SANTONI@MAX.CC.DENISON.EDU. FAX 614 587-6417. Barbara Wall, Phil. Dept.,Villanova Univ., Villanova PA 19085. Tel. (w) 215 645-4690. Bitnet QUILTER@VILLVM. Internet QUILTER@UCIS.VILL.EDU. FAX 215 645-4496. Tom DAFFERN, Peace House, 31 Pembroke Rd., London N15 4NW. Tel. from US 011 44 81 801-9981. Also, Initiative for Peace Studies, Inst.of Education, Univ. of London. FAX 071 436-2186.

Howard Friedman is Executive Secretary, North American IPPNO

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.1

Desert Storm and the Same Old World Order by William Gay

Gay, William, “Editorial: Desert Storm and the Same Old World Order,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

Under the cover of darkness and only hours after the expiration of the United Nation’s deadline for Iraq to end its occupation of Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm was initiated with the first of many thousands of air strikes against Iraqi military targets. Once again, as is characteristic with the onslaught of war, neither side blinked. The final costs of this war–human, environmental, economic, political, and, yes, even moral–cannot now be known. However, already it seems that any attempts at a consequentialist justification of the such enormous destruction will be challenged by many humanists, environmentalists, and ethicists. Tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers were killed–perhaps close to 100,000. Even apart from the civilian casualties that resulted from what is euphemistically termed “collateral damage,” the bombardment was not strictly counterforce. Large segments of the Iraqi domestic infrastructure were targeted. The major urban areas were soon out of power and water, and the harsh and unsanitary conditions could end in tragic epidemics that kill even more thousands. Regardless, it is disingenuous, if not outright deceptive to deny that the U.S. and its allies also engaged in a systematic countervalue attack.

One point should be clear. Whatever our final assessment of Operation Desert Storm, we must not let governmental and military officials beguile the public with their antiseptic and sophistical uses of language. The criterion of proportionality demands that we keep a close eye on the many types and levels of destruction and that we be explicit about the fact that these numbers are about people–many of them non-combatants–and the eco-system upon which we all depend for our survival. This operation was not the initiation of a New World Order, and it is an abuse of language to designate it as such. Operation Desert Storm was a very disturbing instance of the Same Old World Order in which nations rather hastily and savagely resort to war as their means of conflict resolution.

Katie Sherrod, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, wrote:

Our historical remoteness from the wreckage of war makes it seem the easiest answer. Our insulation from the havoc we wreak feeds our belief that military power is the way to solve the world’s problems. It encourages us to believe we’re right because we’re strongest, and blinds us to the legitimacy of other viewpoints.

Lars-Erik Nelson, syndicated columnist and Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News, wrote:

Will we be viewed as the liberators of an enslaved Iraqi people, or are we the high-tech killers of a confused and disorganized army that only wanted to surrender?

Because of the war euphoria that has swept the nation (supposedly ending the self-deterrence of the Vietnam Syndrome), because of the frustration that many of us feel over the dismissal of the peace movement , and because of our responsibilities as philosophers to assess critically actions and justifications in the public sphere (especially as these relate to the large-scale violence, of war), I decided to devote this issue of the Newsletter to philosophical assessments of various aspects of the war against Iraq. This issue begins with war commentaries provided by the Presidents of CPP.

Next, three essays by other professional philosophers continue the critical assessment. Finally, the reflections by two philosophy majors are included. These various contributions contain both some overlap and some divergence. However, it is my hope that each of us can find a sense of support from seeing in one place several assessments of the war by philosophers and that we can find in them relevant and useful sources for our own teaching and research in this field.

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.1

Bush’s Abuse of Just War Theory by Douglas P. Lackey

Lackey, Douglas P., “Bush’s Abuse of Just War Theory,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

The President’s invocation last February of Plato, Augustine, and Aquinas in defense of his Gulf War policies should warm the hearts of old-style philosophy teachers like myself. But I must be excused if I do not sign on. Does the Just War theory developed by these and later philosophers declare that the war against Saddam Hussein is just? I think not.

The Just War theory as we now have it asserts that a war is just if and only if it is fought with just cause, with just intention, with competent authority, with just means, with proportionate damage, and as a last resort.

I think that most authorities will agree that this war is fought with just cause, in response to an act of naked aggression. I also think that many authorities would agree that the allies fight with just intention. You should believe this provided that you believe that if Saddam withdrew from Kuwait, allied military operations will cease, demonstrating that the primary allied objective is the liberation of Kuwait. But if you do not believe this, the President’s argument is lost. And when we turn to the remaining conditions for just war, all of them necessary, the allied case is even less compelling.

The question of competent authority falls heavily on President Bush. The President made some attempts to internationalize his initiative, but the crucial UN resolution does not so much require the use of force as acquiesce in it. On the domestic scene, the President sought and obtained Congressional blessing, but he got it only after dispatching enough troops to make war unavoidable. Congress became philosophical and accepted the inevitable, beaten down by a blizzard of yellow ribbons. Historians may judge that Bush’s manipulation of Congress in 1990 mimics Lyndon Johnson’s maneuvers in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964.

The principal means by which the war is fought has been strategic bombing, and about strategic bombing St. Thomas Aquinas has little to say. But if you can believe that blowing up every bridge in Iraq is an attack on military capacity, and not an assault on Iraqi society at large, you can believe anything. Just war theorists have always had qualms about strategic bombing, and the many conflicting moral rationales for such bombings developed over the years are as ingenious as they are unconvincing.

The scale of the allied bombardment runs the President into trouble with the rule of proportionality, which requires that the damage caused by allied action be less than the damage it prevents. Since the damage to Iraq promises to be total, and Iraq is considerably larger than Kuwait, the restoration of Kuwait cannot counterbalance the destruction of Iraq. If Saddam is evil because he has brought so much death and destruction into the world, the moral remedy can hardly be to cause even more destruction and death.

But it is the “last resort” requirement that is the weakest link in the Presidential chain. The speed and size of American deployments, the limited time allowed for sanctions to take effect, the inflexibility of the Administration’s negotiating stance, all point to a decision to use force sooner rather than later. I agree that Saddam Hussein should not profit from his crimes, but he cannot profit from oil he cannot sell. Many experts believe that, given the destabilizing effect of sanctions, Saddam might settle for a minor change in the border and two small islands in the Persian Gulf. True, he has no right to those islands, but the United States has no right to the lives of children in Iraq. On the scales of justice, two small children should count for more than two small islands. Let us hope that the President heeds the Just War Theory before emotion drowns out ethics.

Baruch College, CUNY

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Personal Reflections on the Persian Gulf War by Duane Cady

Cady, Duane, “Personal Reflections on the Persian Gulf War,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

“War is a test of might and is, therefore, inherently incapable of settling questions of right.”
–Jenny Teichman, Pacifism and the Just War

1991 has been a hard year for philosophers concerned for peace. War critics have been silenced or marginalized as Americans celebrate the US coalition’s destruction of Iraq after Saddam’s takeover of Kuwait. American euphoria and gloating have left me feeling increasingly estranged from the dominant culture. We have finally put Vietnam behind us as war returns to its WW II glory. (Never mind that 57,000 American deaths in a decade was our tragedy while 100,000 Iraqi deaths in six weeks, most from aerial bombing and many from strafing as they retreated, was just “kicking butt.”) Jingoistic patriotism is rife; flags and desert camouflage form the marketing motif for virtually all consumer goods. All of this has given me new appreciation for Plato’s observation that “practically never does anyone act sanely in public affairs” and that genuine philosophers, “being unwilling to join in wrongdoing and not being strong enough to hold out against the fury alone” are advised to “take refuge under a small wall” (Republic 496cd). But questioning what is usually taken for granted is doing philosophy, and CPP offers us company in holding out against the fury.

This war has left me alternately depressed and angry, challenged and discouraged, hopeful and beaten. I have found it hard to work and I have felt both envigorated and overwhelmed by a variety of concerns, many with interesting and significant philosophic aspects. I look forward to the work of colleagues applying philosophic skills to a myriad of related problems. What does the future hold for diplomacy now that the war option has been resurrected? What are the implications for the arms race, first, for replacing spent weapons supplies, second, for marketing high-tech weaponry showcased worldwide, and third, for nuclear proliferation, now that conventional weapons have proven insufficient to deter superpowers? How will developing nations position themselves to preserve independence from major-power domination? Will peace be anything more than the absence of open hostilities? To all the unsolved problems in the Middle East left over from before the war we must add many new problems created by the war: refugees, reconstruction costs, environmental disaster, military occupation and others. What institutions can solve these problems and minimize future wars? What are sources of hope for peace, for those in developing nations as well as in dominant nations?

All of these concerns reinforce my inclination to think that modern Western culture is itself trapped in what I have called a warist system: we simply accept war morally. A few do so through careful deliberation, but most just take war for granted as the normal thing for nations to do when sufficiently at odds with other nations. Little or no thought is required. The system itself provides the conceptual framework or paradigm within which we operate; so few in the culture have recognized and distanced themselves from the dominant conceptual framework that they tend to be considered crackpots and are usually relegated to the margins of society. Trying to expose and begin dismantling this warist structure has kept me out of or into mischief, depending on your perspective. As insignificant as it is, this activity has saved me from deep despair over what Rick Werner has called the moral surd of our culture: a fifth of the world’s children quietly starve while we spend trillions preparing for civilizational death in the name of peace.

This conceptual situation, being caught in a system which restricts understanding, is familiar to philosophers. It is the point of Plato’s allegory of the cave (Republic Book VII). It is also the situation of feminist philosophers, philosophers of color, critics from the underclass and others as they work in our profession. Genuine philosophers have always found themselves questioning what is usually taken for granted, and have generally found it exciting work, albeit underappreciated and sometimes dangerous (this danger comes in more forms than hemlock, as department chairs, deans and tenure committees can attest; I wish I meant to be joking).

There is important and difficult work to do in applying our professional training and our teaching skills to the range of issues involved in the Persian Gulf War. Perhaps the most difficult step is in claiming the legitimacy of our doing so. Professors are not expected to profess much of anything anymore, and we are invited to articulate and defend the status quo. Our professional lives would be much easier if we stuck with Copi’s Logic, the ontological argument, Bishop Berkeley and G. E. Moore. But many of us cannot accept the given.

The Persian Gulf War is (sort of) over. The war option has new vitality. War itself is what we need to get over. Understanding our situation and finding our way out may be beyond each and every one of us, but that doesn’t excuse endorsing might where only right will do.

Hamline College
Duane Cady served as CPP President in 1990

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Masculine and Feminine Roles in War by Laura Duhan

Duhan, Laura, “Masculine and Feminine Roles in War,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

The media’s negative characterization of military women early in the Persian Gulf war (coupled with their almost complete lack of coverage of military women during the war) has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on some ways in which the maintenance of masculine and feminine stereotypes supports the practice of war.

As American soldiers departed for duty in the Persian Gulf, military women were showered with publicity. Over and over again the media highlighted their reluctance to leave their infants. Lively public debate ensued. One side argued that military policies are unreasonable and unhealthful. No child should be abandoned for military duty by both parents, and nursing mothers are not physically stable enough to adapt to stringent conditions in the field. The other side argued that women ought to accept the implications of their demands for equality. A woman’s reluctance to leave an infant shows that she wants equality in theory but not in practice. In practice, she is not ready for active duty.

My response to the debate incorporates both sides. It is possible that the military has come up with unreasonable policies in order to encourage women to conclude that they are not ready for active duty. In order to support this thesis, I would have to show (1) that the military does not want women in active duty roles; (2) that the military believes its policies are unreasonable; and (3) that my words “the military” refer to an identifiable group of persons who are capable of wanting and believing. In this brief piece, however, I will only take steps toward showing why (1) might be the case.

Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792) provides an initial direction when she rejects the ideal, celebrated by some of her contemporary educational theorists, of the coquettish women educated in the arts of fashion for the sole end of pleasing a husband. Such a woman, says Wollstonecraft, is only “half a person.” She has “manners but no morals.” In other words, she knows how to behave but cannot think about her behavior. Curiously, in order to illuminate her analysis of the ideal of the coquettish woman, Wollstonecraft likens the coquettish woman to a military man who, she says, has “manners but no morals” in the same sense.

The two “half-persons” that Wollstonecraft has identified are the exaggerated ideals of masculinity and femininity. These two “half-persons” are exploited in, if not created by and for, the conduct of war. The soldier must act but not think too deeply about the causes or results of his actions. He must confidently assert that his leaders are “right,” but is not encouraged to study history in order to evaluate that assertion. His ability to act without thinking is enhanced by the suppression of some of the human virtues which are grounded in understanding followed by conscious action, such as empathy and compromise. The woman who knows no other goal of thought and action beyond pleasing a husband does not question any of his actions, including his participation in the military. Because she is not encouraged to see her life in a context any larger than her marriage, she does not enter the political sphere nor does she wonder whether her passive acquiescence contributes to that which she would surely abhor if she dared to understand it.

Contemporary attempts to articulate the characteristics associated with masculinity and femininity center around the division of labor. Every family needs a fighter and a caretaker. The ideal woman is the family caretaker while the ideal man is the chief breadwinner in the competitive economic world. Today, politicians gearing up for war exploit this conception of masculinity and femininity. Politicians rely on the existence of a group of women who act without questioning when it falls to them to take care of a community damaged by the departure of military persons. These women are more likely to act spontaneously if they believe that they are seizing an unusual opportunity to actualize their talents fully. Politicians also rely on a group of men who respond unquestioningly when they are called to move out of a secure community into the uncertain world of combat. Imagine the glory felt by men who believe that they, too, are seizing their opportunity to be larger than life “real men.”

I believe that some military policymakers fear that the presence of women in active duty positions may weaken public support for the stereotypes, which may in turn reduce the number of persons who are unquestioningly available for the various tasks required in the conduct of war.

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Ignored Injustices in the U.S. Led War on Iraq

“Ignored Injustices in the U.S. Led War on Iraq,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

Many of the U.S. injustices in the U.S.-led War on Iraq have been ignored. The American public has almost universally regarded this war as a triumph of the U.S. over the brutal Iraqi aggression of Saddam Hussein on Kuwait. While many of Hussein’s actions can in no way be morally justified, the matter is not as black-or-white as it is perceived by the American public. Many of the injustices of this war were simply ignored.

The main ignored injustice that was ignored is the motivation behind Hussein’s aggression. (Motives are often ignored in complex issues.) The prime provocation of this aggression concerns the unjust government and policies of Kuwait. This country was artificially created by Britain to keep the Arabs and other countries from controlling the Persian Gulf. The Al-Salah family which was friendly to favors from the West even though they had more money than they could ever spend was set up as the rulers of Kuwait. This family has systematically kept oil prices low. They have thus cut deeply into the economy of Iraq. To reinstate this family in Kuwait is clearly to perpetrate a huge injustice, even though Hussein and other Iraqi’s failed to articulate this. The U.S. energy policy is obviously unsustainable over a long period of time. It, too, is another ignored injustice.

The Kuwaities are considered by the Iraqis to be traitors to them and other Arab nations. This hatred can help to understand a little–although it can by no means whatsoever morally justify–the abhorrent torture of the Kuwaities and the setting on fire of all their oil wells. These were prices the Allies had to pay for ignoring the prime injustice against Iraq. This country can scarcely even speak in its own behalf because it has been kept for 1000 years by colonial powers in an uneducated and primitive condition until recently when the West has ironically made Arab nations wealthy. The hustler (as opposed to capitalist) economy of the U.S. is literally hostage to oil. The massive American suburbs (where all the efforts of the federal government seem directed these days) would come to a complete standstill without gasoline for their extremely wasteful and polluting cars. Injustices are here compounded on injustices. We ignore all of them in favor of a display of military might and propaganda against the true issues.

Arab nations are well aware of the economic injustices regarding oil prices that are literally being forced on them through Kuwait, while Americans are oblivious to them. We ignore them not so much because of a governmental conspiracy, but because as a nation we lack the ability to think critically. Our schools are woefully underfunded while we spend enormous sums on arms and the military. As David Halberstan has point out in The Next Century, the U.S. has lost much manufacturing, high technology and international business to Japan and Germany because their priorities are in those areas rather than wars. Unsustainable energy policies, forced oil prices, poor education and weakened economy that causes much hardship to all–the U.S. has leaped injustice upon injustice all over the world but especially on ourselves to the point that we are too oppressed to notice. We ignore the injustices instead.

U.S. diplomatic incompetence and poor understanding of the Iraqi language is another ignored injustice in this war. This occurred when Iraq informed the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait of its intentions to settle its dispute with Kuwait. This ambassador replied that the U.S. would not meddle in these affairs. Although she probably did not expect Hussein to conquer all of Kuwait, he is perhaps still wondering whether he was told initially that the U.S. would not interfere with his actions. The U.S. has not meddled in other recent aggressions such as China on Tibet, Turkey on Cyprius, the multi-ethnic strife in Lebanon and the 30-40 civil wars waging mostly in third-world countries. The U.S.-led War on Iraq was not a war of self-defense of our country. It does not satisfy any of the other moral conditions of a just war: Intention not to gain power, proportion of good over evil, just means and last resort (these last two conditions will be discussed below).

Another ignored injustice in the U.S.-led War on Iraq is the long-standing grievance of Israel’s occupation of Arab lands seized in 1967. Israel will be less likely to negotiate this issue now that it has been bombed by Iraq. Moslem fundamentalism and fanaticism will escalate as a result of this injustice.

The biggest ignored injustice of the U.S.-led War on Iraq is that it was totally preventable. Economic sanctions could have worked if they were given enough time. They have worked in the past if they have been used long enough. The virtual starvation of Iraqi soldiers when they surrendered testifies to the effectiveness of sanctions. The U.S. violated Geneva accords at the very outset when it embargoed food and medicine from the innocent and helpless civilians of Iraq including the sick, elderly, women and children. This violation gave Iraq permission to violate other Geneva accords regarding rules of a just war such as not bombing civilian targets in Israel and not torturing captured Allied prisoners of war–although neither of these actions can be morally justified in any way.

Another just alternative to the U.S.-led War on Iraq is negotiations. Petulant President Bush undercut all attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement, whether they were by the United Nations, France or the Soviet Union. Perhaps President Bush had reliable information that the pathetic condition of the Iraqi military would mean an easy victory. The hundreds of thousands of unwilling Iraqi soldiers and civilians who were killed in this war is a huge ignored injustice. Radio writer and performer Garrison Keillor has recently satirized “this wonderful war” in which no many people on our side were killed. This injustice was of massive proportions because it could have been prevented by sanctions and negotiations. Winning a war by a slaughter of the enemy does not make it just.

Hussein’s injustices were deservedly well-publicized. To defend his injustices would be worse than even he is. However, to ignore all the other injustices of the U.S.-led War on Iraq will prove even worse than that.

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The Injustice of the U.S. War Against Iraq by Robert Lichtenbert

Lichtenbert, Robert, “The Injustice of the U.S. War Against Iraq,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

The U.S.-led war on Iraq raises many troubling questions. Chief among these is the moral question of whether this war was just or good. The moral dimension or ethics can alone answer this question from which all the other questions about it follow. In this article, I will apply this dimension, in the form of the conditions of a just war, to the U.S. war on Iraq. I will argue that this war was unjust because it did not meet any of the major conditions of a just war.

The notion of a just war comes from many sources such as Plato, the theory of natural law, the Catholic Church and international conferences, especially Geneva, on peace. Most of all the notion of a just war represents common sense. If there were no such thing as a just war, then any war would be just. This is insane in view of how many unjust or aggressive wars have been waged throughout history. In order for a war to be just, it must satisfy all of the conditions of a just war. In this article I will apply the four most important of these conditions from the moral viewpoint.

The first condition or principle of a just war is that it be a war of self-defense only. Military aggression or starting a war for territorial expansion is clearly immoral. Such wars have been frequent throughout history. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 is a clear example of an unjust war. This is the strongest justification of the U.S. war on Iraq. President Bush repeatedly stated that Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was an act of “naked aggression.” (The U.S. invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, in which over 2,000 Panamanians were killed in order to seize Gen. Noreiga, can also be called “naked aggression,” but this is not the topic of this article.)

Although Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait definitely was not just, we are still left with the question of whether the U.S. counteraggression on January 16, 1991 was just. The U.S. was certainly not defending the lives of its own citizens–as surreptitiously claimed in the Panamanian invasion–or even its own land. The U.S. may claim that it was defending its “vital interests.” “Vital,” however, refers only to “life.” The U.S., therefore, was really defending its own economic interests, especially oil. However, this is the very justification that Japan gave after they attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

A just response to an unjust aggression requires that we stop it with the minimum violence needed to do the job. This was done shortly after Iraq’s invasion. A war is not required after an aggressor has been stopped.

The second condition of a just war is intentionality. This formidable word merely means that a just war is motivated by the intention of righting the wrong and restoring the peace. Intentionality means to seek harmony and common ground between disputing parties. It is based solely on concern for the people of a conquered territory.

Unjust intentionality consists of the intention to obtain power or gain for oneself. While the U.S. war on Iraq was stated by Bush to be for “the liberation of Kuwait,” it is very hard to understand how the purpose of this liberation was other than the desire to have military power over Iraq, especially by destroying its power to wage chemical and nuclear warfare (fears that were greatly distorted). The U.S., thus, was seeking power over the Arab world and over the price of oil. This use of power shows that the second condition of intentionality was not met.

The third condition of a just war is proportionality. This means that the good that a war does outweighs the evil. Deaths due to war can be justified only if they are less than what would have occurred without the war.

The U.S. war on Iraq may have saved the lives of many innocent citizens of Kuwait from the brutal invasion.and subsequent atrocities by Iraq. Clearly, many lives were taken in forcing the Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait to leave. Bombing these soldiers was very inhumane. Other great evils that resulted from this war include, among others,.the future hatred from the Arab world and the loss of archaeological treasures. The war cost the U.S. at least one billion dollars a day, but this is secondary morally to the loss of lives. The only good that can result is the restoration of a legitimate and less brutal dictatorship in Kuwait

The final moral condition of a just war is that it be a last resort. Hussein firmly refused to negotiate on this issue. The U.S., likewise, was not willing to negotiate on the Palestinian question. Bush seems to have waited only long enough to have his troops ready. Four months may look as if it were sufficiently long, but it is relatively brief in times of war, as a cursory look at history, especially the Vietnam peace talks, will reveal. Setting short limits, using name-calling epithets like “Hitler” and the “Great Satan” in public and military buildups all indicate escalation of hostilities rather than patiently working for a peaceful settlement. The condition of last resort means that all options other than war must be totally exhausted, not just tried half-heartedly.

Another option that was not exhausted was sanctions or an economic embargo against Iraq. Again, a cursory study of history reveals that these have worked, but they too require a long period of time.

To sum up, the U.S. war on Iraq fails in a major way all four of the main conditions of a just war. The strongest justification of the U.S. war was Iraq’s totally unjust aggression in Kuwait. Yet, the U.S. war cannot be justified as a war of self-defense of either our lives or country. The condition of intentionality was violated because U.S. intentions were clearly more to gain power for itself than to restore peace between Iraq and Kuwait. Almost incalculable are the huge number of deaths and the financial expenses to all involved, particularly for Iraqi non-combatants. Thus, the condition of proportionality of good over evil quite conspiciously was not met.. Finally, the condition of last resort was not satisfied because of the disregard for the amount of time needed for war negotiations and embargo to work. The U.S. war against Iraq, thus, was unjust on all four conditions.

Justice and morality played a very small role in the decisions that led to the bombing of Baghdad on January 16, 1991. The primary considerations seem to have been hatred, revenge and fear.

The start of the last decade of the twentieth century looked very promising as finally one of peace. Hopes of this have been tragically dashed already. The peace dividend will be spent many times over on swords and shields. When will we ever beat them into plowshares to feed the millions of hungry people on earth? Is the answer “blowing in the wind?” No, it rests only in taking goodness (or morality) and justice seriously. Only ethics and justice can answer the troubling questions which we constantly raise for ourselves. War is very rarely the correct answer.

An active pursuit of peace is the only way to live a good human life. Mostly we must try to love our enemies and resist any evil they do by active nonviolent resistence as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi–perhaps the only two thinkers who have made full sense of love–have taught us. When we learn this lesson, we may at last fulfill the prophetic concept of the destruction of all weapons as expressed by Micah: “nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.” (Micah 4:45). This is spiritual peace through true strength, rather than force which is based on fear. In this regard, the concept of a just war is a tool that can help us.

What we need most to unite all nations under peace is a creative vision of a just peace based on the strength, not of force, but of the constructive power of human thinking which is nurtured by funding education, not war or even defense. Only then will be get positive answers to the question of war that now trouble us.

Robert Lichtenbert is a professional philosopher who lives and teaches in the Chicago area.