Obama and the Just War Doctrine

George WeigelWhen President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last October, many conservatives feared that the Nobel Committee had set a trap for the young President.  At the time, Obama was debating whether to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.  The thinking was that no leader could accept an award on the basis of bringing peace to the world, and then escalate an ongoing war.

However, to the surprise of many, President Obama not only increased troops in Afghanistan by 30,000, but he then made the case for the Afghan war directly to the Nobel Committee.  Indeed, the President made clear that some wars are not only unavoidable, but just.  “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.  There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”

With this theme in mind, the Federalist Society and St. Thomas More Society are proud to bring Catholic theologian George Weigel to Marquette University Law School next week.  Mr. Weigel will deliver the 2010 St. Thomas More Lecture in Catholic Legal Thought, entitled “President Obama’s Nobel Speech: Death or Resurrection of the Just War Doctrine?”  The event will be held on Tuesday, January 26th at noon in Eisenberg Hall.  I hope you can attend what promises to be a thoughtful lecture on the salient and timeless controversy over the notion of just wars.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Peter Heyne

    For those interested in what Mr. Weigel has written on this timely and timeless issue (and what could be a preview of his lecture), I invite you to read a piece that he penned in a December 12, 2009, article in the National Review online.

    The article has generated considerable discussion on Mirror of Justice, which by its own appellation is a “blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.”

    I also encourage sports fans to read this other Weigel NRO article Notes in Moral Theology: Colts vs. Jets. To quote some more Psalm 58 (with which he closes the piece): “Let them dissolve like a snail that oozes away…”

  2. Peter Heyne

    I would be remiss if I did not also include this link to a host of articles that Mr. Weigel has written on the just war topic.

    This one piece
    ‘The Force of Law, the Law of Force’, from April 30, 2003, should invite some debate, particularly this statement:

    “[T]he rule of law is not self-vindicating. Human nature being what it is, somebody is going to break the rules, and sometimes do so in ways that cannot be handled through diplomacy. Even in a world governed by the ‘force of law,’ the sanction of proportionate and discriminate armed force must be available, precisely to vindicate the rule of law.”

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