Speaking at the U.S. Military Academy in June, President Bush offered an expansive statement articulating a doctrine of preemptive action against rogue states and terrorist groups. Iraq was not mentioned, but subsequent statements suggest the West Point speech laid the foundation for war against that nation. If the president moves ahead with these plans, Christians will once again face a decision about whether to support military action.
If that day comes, Christian thinkers undoubtedly will break out the just war theory. Every time U.S. leaders sound the alarm for war, this ancient tradition is put to work. The counterterrorist war in Afghanistan was the latest occasion. In the 1990s just war theory was applied to actions in Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Haiti and elsewhere.