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The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy
Add a tag Cancel Be the first to add a tag for this edition. Maguire does a great job of outlining the hypocrisy of our modern, Western-world view of Just-war. While Maguire brings up the fact that early Christians were entirely pacifist, the book is less about religion, and more about the logic behind Just-war theory.
And he's not advocating extreme pacifism at all costs. On the contrary, he is entirely behind the notion of defensive force Declaration by Competent Authority: Declaration of war can only be administered by a democratically elected body of government i. In other words, the just cause must truly be just and not just a mask for oil or conquering. The Principle of Discrimination and Noncombatant Immunity: War must be a last resort. However, the US "defense" budget is the largest funded budget we have.
Our wallet tells us our hearts go to war before any other options first. The Principle of Proportionality: The violence of war must do more good than harm. But as weapons grow in power, this option is becoming less and less viable. In summary, Maguire points out the curious role our Western world is in: In other words, why are the hawks given plenty of room to rally the country for their cause when the doves are silenced and looked down upon?
Shouldn't this be the other way around? Shouldn't the hawks always be the minority and have the burden of proof to go to war entirely on their shoulders? Why must the doves fight so hard to stop the war machine when war should always be the final option? Maguire's incredibly moving book, The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking thinking the Just-war Legacy, provides a scathing look at America's traditional warmongering foreign policy, as well as the concept of war as a whole.
He critically challenges the idea that war can ever be "just," or righteous, and asks why America seems to love war so much. Maguire is a staunch Jesuit Catholic priest, and a professor of Christian Ethics at Marquette University, he does not intend for this to be a religious study or evaluation of the issues of just war.
Maguire wisely keeps religion somewhat in the background of this book to appeal to a larger audience of non-Christians and Christians alike. In doing so, he frames his arguments in a way that people of all faiths can appreciate and come to understand the inherent injustice of the institution of war as a whole. He is almost screaming, "Wake up, America, and realize where your priorities currently lie, and how skewed they are!
Maguire informs readers that, "We spend around ten thousand dollars a second on military kill-power in the United States while states go bankrupt and schools close early for lack of funds.
He believes that through education, the people could find creative and alternative routes to war, and he shows that by reducing our extraordinary war spending, we could provide that education to every American citizen, much as the Montgomery GI Bill does for our military veterans now. Maguire focuses so strongly on the need for education, in fact, that he claims, " Are we no better than beasts?
The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy | Fortress Press
Why can our elected leaders, who are supposedly considered well educated, not come up with peaceful ways of resolving conflict? Why are we so quick to go to war before exhausting all other means? There are many stories in which soldiers, upon realizing that their enemies are human, lost the will to do them harm. Maguire shares two of these occurrences, but they are not at all uncommon.
This rang very true with me, as a year veteran non-combatant. Upon my arrival, I was a gung ho "tainer" hating patriot, but in my day-to-day dealings with my enemies, I found most of them to be quite human, resigned to their fates after all, most of them had been in detainment for five years or more by this point. The majority of them were compliant men who joked, laughed, sang, and prayed; just like me, only their language, songs, and god were different.
Everything I knew told me to hate them, but except for those throwing feces and other bodily fluids at the guards, I could not. They were still my fellow man, and still demanded my compassion, not so much for who they were, but for who I was am. It only took six months on the island to discover that I did not believe the lies I had been fed. I no longer believed in what I was doing, and as soon as my contract was up, I made for two doors: Within my first semester, I came to believe exactly what Dr.
Maguire is preaching, that through education, we can find peace, as well as ways to support our beliefs logically; not to mention, education provides a route to better, happier personal lives. The challenge is educating the masses, which again, Dr.
Maguire argues we have the means to do, so long as we stop wasteful military spending. It is the state which continues this disgusting, pound-foolishness with our tax dollars, mostly without our consent; which, as Dr. Maguire points out, forces taxpayers to be active contributors to a war in which they may or may not believe. He tells us, citing Matthew, that "our treasure budget shows where our heart is," then describes the awe-inspiring nuclear aircraft carrier, U.
Horrors We Bless, the PB: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy
Kitty Hawk, and her battle group. These numbers do not include the costs of the other at least seven ships that always traveled with her. Decommissioning of a ship, however, does not in any way mean a reduction of arms. She was replaced by the U. Maguire points out that "The United States has thirteen of these carrier battle groups," and that; "No other country has even one. Maguire seems very persuasive in his arguments, even to the warmonger, by his downplay of war as a vulgar institution for "dumb" people.
He easily shows that war is dumb; and therefore, logic would dictate that the supporters of war are also dumb. Since I doubt that anyone would choose to be dumb, I think that those who read his book would be compelled to agree with him Or feel a personal conviction that angers them, in which case they might dumbly lash out. Maguire shows readers that war is an archaic practice, and that even the "just-war" theory no longer applies in today's nuclear arms world. No matter how precise our bombs are, innocents will still be hurt and killed, which according to the "just-war" theory, is absolutely unacceptable.
Maguire points out that over 90 percent of casualties in today's wars yes, plural are innocents. Who are the terrorists here anyway? Maguire argues that if we would turn our aggressive offensive posture into a passionately humanitarian one, and spent our borrowed money on helping impoverished people, instead of waging wars against them, we would not be hated throughout the world, as we are today.
He gives the statistics for which countries are providing aid, and how much; and sadly, America, while the richest, provides the least amount of foreign aid. It's no wonder why we are so hated. If we become known for our charity and kindness throughout the world, we will not need to keep weapons of mass destruction, nor our military posture, because we will not need to fear attack.
Even dogs are smart enough not to bite the hand that feeds. The Horrors We Bless was an eye-opening book for me.
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I knew I was on the side of pacifism and that our country has done, and is doing some horrible things militarily, but I did not know to what extent. I am sure that this ignorance is not unique. We need to wake up, America, and realize that there are other, better, more ethical ways.
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