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A Just War? Not In Iraq

Flikr: USArmyRemembering the speed in which Bagdad fell, as well as President G.W Bush's bombastic speech lauding the military efforts under the banner “mission accomplished”, it is hard to believe that foreign forces are still fighting in Iraq.  March 19th 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. To mark the anniversary a wave of bombings tore through Baghdad killing at least 56 people.  (photo:flikr US Army)

As the drums of war beat and political alliances were made in the lead up to the war, the Catholic Church stood in opposition. The Church teaches that for a war to be "just", the use of military force should meet rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. Pope John Paul II was not convinced that this war met these criteria.  The pontiff, along with top Vatican officials, spoke out condemning theh use of force in no uncertain terms calling it immoral, risky and a "crime against peace."

War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations.
- Pope John Paul II

Another outspoken opponent of the war was Fr Bruce Duncan, a founder of the advocacy group Social Policy Connections, and Director of the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy. Fr Bruce published War on Iraq: is it just?, a booklet issued before the war by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. In it he argued that war in Iraq failed to meet the conditions enshrined in the criteria for a just war, and hence would be immoral and unjust.

Ten years on from the launch of the war Fr Duncan asks, was the war just?  And if not, have those responsible for the invasion and subsequent occupation been held to account for their actions?