Is There Such A Thing As A Just War?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Marcia, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Marcia

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    Since the Alzheimer's thread was somewhat derailed by the topic of a just war, I thought it should have its own thread.

    So, is there such a thing as a just war?

    If so, who determines it and what standard is used?

    If Christians fight in a war because they believe it is just, or because they believe they should fight for whatever reason, why are they wrong just because others think it is unjust?

    The only valid argument I can see against war is pacificsm. It is the only consistent position if one opposes war, imo.

    The determination of whether a war is just or unjust is too ambiguous.
     
  2. blackbird

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    Who determines whether it is "just"---------I mean----those Al-Kida(sp) have determined that theirs is a "just" war against us

    Who determines "just"??

    Do we vote on it?? Does each US citizen get a vote??

    In all actuality-----we do--------we vote "just" through our congress and senate

    It was "Dub" who initiated the war in Iraq and Afganistan-----but it was
    Congress who approved------IMO------take the Iraq/Afgan issue up with Congress since it was them(including Democrats) who voted affirimation
     
  3. donnA

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    If there were no just wars, then what about the wars in scripture?
     
  4. JustChristian

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    This is a moral question. An individual determines whether a war is just. Actually, Just War Theory is a relatively new concept derived by the Catholic Church although now many Protestant church leaders support it.

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    The Just War Theory was asserted as an authoritative Catholic Church teaching by the United States Catholic Bishops in their pastoral letter, The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response, issued in 1983. More recently, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 2309, lists four strict conditions for "legitimate defense by military force":

    * the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
    * all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
    * there must be serious prospects of success;
    * the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

    While proponents claim such views have a long tradition, critics claim the application of Just War is only relativistic, and directly contradicts more universal philosophical traditions such as the Ethic of reciprocity.[citation needed] Secular humanists may accept just war theory based on universal ethics without reference to Christian morality.

    Just War theorists combine both a moral abhorrence towards war with a readiness to accept that war may sometimes be necessary. The criteria of the just war tradition act as an aid to determining whether resorting to arms is morally permissible. Just War are attempts to distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable uses of organized armed forces; they attempt to conceive of how the use of arms might be restrained, made more humane, and ultimately directed towards the aim of establishing lasting peace and justice.[3]

    The idea that resorting to war can only be just under certain conditions goes back at least to Cicero.[4] Augustine of Hippo[5], Thomas Aquinas[6] and Hugo Grotius later codified a set of rules for a just war, which today still encompass the points commonly debated, with some modifications.[citation needed]

    The Just War tradition addresses the morality of the use of force in two parts: when it is right to resort to armed force (the concern of jus ad bellum) and what is acceptable in using such force (the concern of jus in bello).[7] In more recent years, a third category — jus post bellum — has been added, which governs the justice of war termination and peace agreements, as well as the prosecution of war criminals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war

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    Southern Baptists viewed the preemptive strike against Iraq as just and expressed that support of the war in a letter by Richard Land.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Letter


    The Land letter was a letter sent to U.S. President George W. Bush by five evangelical Christian leaders on October 3, 2002, outlining their theological support for a just war pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. The letter was written by Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was co-signed by:

    * Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries
    * Bill Bright, chairman of Campus Crusade for Christ
    * James Kennedy, president of Coral Ridge Ministries, and
    * Carl D. Herbster, president of the American Association of Christian Schools

    The letter asserted that a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq met the criteria of traditional 'just war' theory because:

    * such an action would be defensive
    * the intent is found to be just and noble. The United States does not intend to 'destroy, conquer, or exploit Iraq'
    * it is a last resort because Saddam Hussein had a record of attacking his neighbors, of the 'headlong pursuit and development of biochemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction' and their use against his own people, and harboring al-Qaeda terrorists
    * it is authorized by a legitimate authority, namely the United States
    * it has limited goals
    * it has reasonable expectation of success
    * non-combatant immunity would be observed
    * it meets the criteria of proportionality—the human cost on both sides would be justified by the intended outcome

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    Almost all other leaders of major Christian churches opposed the war.


    Religious opposition

    On September 13, 2002, US Catholic bishops signed a letter to President Bush stating that any "preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq" could not be justified at the time. They came to this position by evaluating whether an attack against Iraq would satisfy the criteria for a just war as defined by Catholic theology.

    US civil-rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson condemned the planned invasion, saying in February 2003 that it was not too late to stop the war and that people "must march until there is a declaration of peace and reconciliation."[60]

    The Vatican also spoke out against war in Iraq. Archbishop Renato Raffaele Martino, a former U.N. envoy and current prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters that war against Iraq was a preventive war and constituted a "war of aggression", and thus did not constitute a just war. The foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, expressed concerns that a war in Iraq would inflame anti-Christian feelings in the Islamic world. On February 8, 2003, Pope John Paul II said "we should never resign ourselves, almost as if war is inevitable."[61] He spoke out again on March 22 2003, shortly after the invasion began, saying that violence and arms "can never resolve the problems of man."[62][63][64]

    Both the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, and his successor, Rowan Williams, spoke out against war with Iraq.

    The executive committee of the World Council of Churches, an organization representing churches with a combined membership of between 350 million and 450 million Christians from over 100 countries,[65] issued a statement in opposition to war with Iraq, stating that "War against Iraq would be immoral, unwise, and in breach of the principles of the United Nations Charter."[66]

    Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine has argued that, among both evangelical Christians and Catholics, "most major church bodies around the world" opposed the war.[67]
     
  5. JustChristian

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    This is the statement of the World Council of churches.



    Statement on the war against Iraq

    by the WCC General Secretary
    20 March, 2003



    With profound sorrow I recognize that the United States, the United Kingdom
    and Spain, three members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, have
    gone to war against Iraq. They have done so without the consent of the UN Security Council, ignoring the voice of civil society, of the churches and of other faith communities in those countries and worldwide. I condemn this rush to unilateral military attack. Non-violent means to solve the conflict have been far from exhausted. Disarmament of Iraq could have been achieved without a war.

    The pre-emptive military attack against Iraq is immoral, illegal and ill-advised.
    The WCC and its member churches repeatedly warned these powers that this war
    will have grave humanitarian consequences, including loss of civilian life, large scale displacement of people, environmental destruction and further destabilization of the whole region.

    The implicit unilateralism, by the US, the UK and Spain, contradicts the spirit,
    ideal and prospect of multilateralism, the fundamental principles laid out in the
    UN Charter, and may damage hopes to create a strong international order in the
    post-Cold War period. By relying on the right of the powerful, including the use
    of threat and economic pressure, to influence other states to support their action,
    these countries undermine the international rule of law that has taken half a century to construct.

    The failure, however, does not lie with the UN, but with those governments that
    chose to go outside of the Security Council. The international community must
    clearly demonstrate, and remind those countries, that the UN Charter and multilateral responsibility are expressions of a civilized, progressive and peaceful international order and that the only sustainable response to terrorism is to achieve rule of law, within the rule of law.

    The fact that the sole superpower, together with old colonial powers of Europe,
    chose to go alone against a country with a Muslim majority is politically dangerous,
    culturally unwise and ignores the growing importance of religion and culture
    for the political identification of many people. We fear that this war will
    only confirm and aggravate stereotypes and, in many parts of the world, add to
    an image of the West marked by colonialism and crusades.

    The military attack on Iraq comes at a point when the UN weapons inspections
    were working and the prospects for disarmament of Iraq with non-military means
    was growing considerably. I, therefore, deplore that the opportunity for disarmament, mandated by the UNSC Resolution 1441, has been lost with this unilateral military attack. The UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors were allowed into the
    country because the UN resolution could invoke military action. However, by
    putting themselves in a position from which war became inevitable, the US, the
    UK and Spain failed to exercise the basic responsibility that follows with the commission of trust to serve on the UN Security Council.

    • I strongly appeal to the Governments of the US, the UK and their supporters,
    to immediately cease all military activity in Iraq and return the full responsibility
    of the disarmament of Iraq to the UN Security Council.

    • I urge all governments to oppose this unilateral action and work for a ceasefire.

    • I call on all parties to the conflict, including Iraq, to abide by human rights
    obligation under international humanitarian law.

    • I ask our member churches to come together to seek God’s guidance and to
    continue theological reflections on the will of God for the world.

    The response from churches against the war in Iraq has been an unprecedented
    manifestation of unanimity. The energy that has been released bears witness to a
    spirituality that calls for peaceful coexistence of all nations and peoples in accordance with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. That energy must not be lost. Churches should continue their united efforts to stop the war, to give assistance to those in need and to cooperate with people of other faiths, especially Muslims, to restore confidence and trust amongst the nations of the world.

    As followers of Jesus Christ, when faced with death and destruction, we are reminded of his words: “I have come that you may have life and that you may have it in abundance”. When violence is unleashed, fear for life and peace increase, but God does not forget his people.

    Though the mountains move and the hills shake,
    My love shall be immovable and never fail,
    And my covenant of peace shall not be shaken.
    So says the Lord who takes pity on you.
    (Isaiah 54:10)

    At this time of repentance, the World Council of Churches prays for all the people
    who will suffer in this war, as well as the soldiers and their families. Although
    this is a day when diplomacy was rejected by some, our call for peace remains.

    Any war comes at a high price of death of soldiers and civilians, destruction of
    property and the environment, as well as division of people, governments and
    cultures. This war is no exception.

    Wars cannot be won, only peace can.

    Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser
    General Secretary
     
  6. JustChristian

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    These are the comments of church leaders.

    Statements by Christian Church Leaders Regarding War against Iraq
    The only major U.S. denominational leader to come out in favor of a unilateral pre-emptive strike against Iraq is the Southern Baptist leader Rev. Richard Land of Nashville, Tennessee. Most other Christian leaders in the U.S.A. and abroad are against any pre-emptive strike. A sample of statements follows.
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (August 30, 2002)
    The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, made the following remarks:
    "While we are fully aware of the potential threat posed by the government of Iraq and its leader, I believe it is wrong for the United State to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein with military action. Morally, I oppose it because I know a war with Iraq will have great consequences for the people of Iraq, who have already suffered through years of war and economic sanctions. I do not believe such a war can be justified under the historic principles of ‘just war.’"
    For the full text see www.elca.org/bishop/iraq.html.
    United Methodists (August 30, 2002)
    General Secretary Jim Winkler of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society has said:
    "The Bush administration has declared its intent to launch a war against Iraq, ignoring the advice of its allies, many members of Congress, key experts, and millions of U.S. citizens. With unprecedented disregard for democratic ideals and with an astonishing lack of evidence justifying such a pre-emptive attack, the President has all but given the order to fire.
    I ask United Methodists to oppose this reckless measure and urge the President to immediately pursue other means to resolve the threat posed by Iraq.
    United Methodists have a particular duty to speak out against an unprovoked attack. President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are members of our denomination. Our silence now could be interpreted as tacit approval of war. Christ came to break old cycles of revenge and violence. Too often, we have said we worship and follow Jesus but have failed to change our ways. Jesus proved on the cross the failure of state-sponsored revenge. It is inconceivable that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and the Prince of Peace, would support this proposed attack."
    For full text see www.umc-gbcs.org/gbpr170.htm.
    The Episcopal Church, USA (September 6, 2002)
    A statement by The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop and Primate, included the following:
    "The problem of Iraq admits no easy solution. However, through diplomatic and multilateral initiatives, we can both serve our common interests and seek to contain the national security threats posed by Saddam Hussein’s rule of Iraq. Our great nation now has the opportunity to express leadership in the world by forging a foreign policy that seeks to reconcile and heal the world’s divisions.
    I believe it is becoming ever more clear that this is the way to proceed, rather than choosing a course that will immediately endanger the Iraqi civilian population and our own United States Forces, that will alienate many of our closest allies, and destabilize the Middle East. We will all be better served to see our national energies and resources expended in resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, such that Israel finds security and peace with its neighbors and Palestinians achieve statehood."
    For full text see: www.stnm.org/news/066.html.
    National Council of Churches U.S.A. (September 12, 2002)
    Forty-eight heads of American Protestant and Orthodox churches and organizations and Roman Catholic religious orders announced opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq in Washington, DC on September 12. General Secretary Bob Edgar of the National Council and former six-term member of the U.S. Congress stated:
    "We do not need to march down the path to Armageddon. Pre-emptive military action now being contemplated by the Administration cannot be morally justified. Among other consequences, consider that a pre-emptive strike by the U.S. presents to the world a model of aggression that may encourage other nations to attack neighboring countries that threaten them."
    Southern Baptists (September 13, 2002)
    A top Southern Baptist Convention official says President Bush would be justified in launching a pre-emptive military strike against Iraq under terms of the classical Christian "just war" theory.
    Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said such an attack would be justified because Saddam Hussein is developing nuclear weapons "at breakneck speed," has broken all the agreements that were a condition of the cease-fire after the 1991 Gulf War, attempted to assassinate the first President George Bush, and that there is "a direct line" from Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorists.
    "If you are looking for just cause, we have already passed that threshold," Land said.
    For the full article, see www.ucc.org/news/b091302.htm#2.
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (September 13, 2002)
    Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote a letter to President Bush on September 13, 2002.
    "Given the precedents and risks involved, we find it difficult to justify extending the war on terrorism to Iraq, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the attacks of September 11th or of an imminent attack of a grave nature.
    We conclude, based on the facts that are known to us, that a preemptive, unilateral use of force is difficult to justify at this time. We fear that resort to force, under these circumstances, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against the use of military force. Of particular concern are the traditional just war criteria of just cause, right authority, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity.
    We respectfully urge you to step back from the brink of war."
    Full text is available from www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/bush902.htm.
    The World Council of Churches (September 19, 2002)
    The following is from a WCC press release on the above date.
    The new director of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Peter Weiderud, yesterday sent messages to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and to the diplomatic missions of the US, UK, France, Russia and China.

    [In its message] the WCC Central Committee calls on the Iraqi government "to respect the resolutions of the UN Security Council, including demands that it destroy all weapons of mass destruction and related research and production facilities, to cooperate fully with UN inspectors deployed to oversee compliance, and to guarantee full respect of the civil and political, economic, social and cultural human rights for all its citizens".

    Weiderud's letter to the US, UK, French, Russian and Chinese diplomatic missions…draws attention to its call to the "international community to uphold the international rule of law, to resist pressures to join in preemptive military strikes against a sovereign state under the pretext of the 'war on terrorism', and to strengthen their commitment to obtain respect for UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq by non-military means."
    Statement of 100 U.S. Christian Ethicists (September 23, 2002)
    "As Christian ethicists, we share a common moral presumption against a pre-emptive war on Iraq by the United States."
    The Christian ethicists who signed the above statement come from a range of institutions and include scholars with pacifist and just war perspectives.
    The statement can be found in The Chronicle of Higher Education on September 23, 2002.
     
  7. JustChristian

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    From the American Baptists. (I can go on and on with the expressions of Christian leaders against invading Iraq.)


    From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ABCUSA: BWA Leader Urges Baptists to 'Raise the Cross, Not the Sword'

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <[email protected]>
    Date Thu, 20 Feb 2003 09:18:12 -0500

    American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 2/20/03)--In his statement "A Tear For Christians in the Middle East" Baptist World Alliance General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Denton Lotz this week has urged Baptists and others "not to raise the sword, but to raise the Cross" and to pray for world leaders "that they will have wisdom and guidance in bringing peace to our world in these very apocalyptic days." Lotz, an ordained American Baptist and former International Ministries missionary in Europe, has led the Alliance since 1988. The organization, which will celebrate its centennial in 2005, includes 206 Baptist unions and conventions worldwide, including American Baptist Churches USA.

    The text of Lotz's message follows:
    "One of the tragic consequences of war in the Middle East, and particularly with Iraq, would be the devastating effect it would have upon the Christian mission, not only in the Middle East, but among Muslim people worldwide. Unfortunately, perception is often greater than reality and Muslims everywhere may well see any war with Iraq as a war of Christians against Muslims. This, therefore, complicates very much the Christian witness of our brothers and sisters who for so many years have been a minority in the Middle East.

    "Many unfortunate and inflammatory statements by Baptists and other Evangelical leaders against Islam and for war has caused untold suffering to our people. Many of our Baptists leaders are on the defensive having to explain to their government who Baptists are and what we stand for.

    "Baptists around the world join with millions of other Christians in opposing war. We worship Christ, the Prince of Peace, who has called us to be peacemakers. It is one of the primary responsibilities of the followers of Jesus Christ not to raise the sword, but to raise the Cross. We must remember that Jesus told Peter to put back the sword and insisted that, 'If I be lifted up I will draw all humanity to myself.' Let us put back our swords and talk of war, and lift up Christ! The president of Fuller Theological Seminary, the largest Evangelical seminary in the United States, Dr. Richard Mouw, asked the question recently whether or not Christians who are engaged in supporting the war have 'thought about their obligation to the Christian community in Iraq. Have they taken that into account?' The fact is more than 600,000 Christians, including Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, live in the country of Iraq which has a population of 22 million. This sizable minority needs our prayers and support. Let us, during these next few weeks, pray for wisdom for all political leaders. Let us pray that all regimes around the world who suppress their people, deny religious freedom and refuse God's call for justice and righteousness will indeed be restrained. Let us pray for the leaders of the circle of democratic nations that they will have wisdom and guidance in bringing peace to our world in these very apocalyptic days.

    "As Baptists, let us raise the Cross of Christ and work for peace! Indeed, with Peter let us follow our Lord's command and put back our swords. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come!"

    K/2003ABNS/03ABN30

    American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
    Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
    / (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320; www.abc-usa.org;
    [email protected]

    http://www.wfn.org/2003/02/msg00231.html
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    The theory of a "just war" is so patently obvious so as to be beyond dispute. Whether or not Iraq was a just war is debatable. However, the comments of the WCC general secretary made me laugh. He called it a "unilateral military attack" just after listing no less than three nations that were involved (and he ignored the fact that there were others). That was just a dumb thing to say. It is also notable how he prejudiced the discussion by saying that these nations failed to listen to "civil society," thereby implying that the nations who attacked or supported the attack were not civil. Of course, he offered no argument in support of that, and in fact has none to offer. But what his comments demonstrated was the politicization of the issue with the use of prejudicial, misleading, and inaccurate statements. These types of arguments do not convince a thinking people.
     
  9. JustChristian

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    Most of these countries provided only token support to the war. They didn't want to face the wrath of the world's supreme military power. It was primarily the US and the UK.

    Approximately 248,000 Soldiers and Marines from the United States, 45,000 British soldiers, 2,000 Australian soldiers, 1,300 Spanish soldiers, 500 Danish soldiers and 194 Polish soldiers were sent to Kuwait for the invasion.[100].

    This is a good source for information about the troop levels in Iraq. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multinational_Force_Iraq

    It probably is not correct to say that this was a unilateral attack. It is probably correct to say that this was a bilateral attack primarily with token support from other countries.
     
    #9 JustChristian, Feb 7, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2009
  10. Allan

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    What is even funnier (or even more sad) is that any christian would even 'quote' the WCC as part of an argument for or against anything. :laugh:
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    Source please
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    More like desperate
     
  13. sag38

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    With the egg heads out there today who have bumper stickers that read, "Would Jesus bomb anyone?", who insist on negotiating with terrorist regimes, and can't understand the difference between good interrogation techniques and real torture, one has to wonder. Would we have been able to win WWII had these folks dominated the landscape as they do today? Sadly, the answer would be no. Our country had to play some very hard ball in order to beat the Japs and Hitler that would not be tolerated in today bleeding heart society.
     
  14. Marcia

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    Alright, but you were denouncing Christians and calling them murderers on the other thread because you believe the Iraq war is unjust. Even if others think so (I discount the WCC because they are so, so liberal that I don't trust them), this does not mean it is true.

    So why not let believers decide for themselves? Do you take back calling Christians murderers who are fighting in the Iraq war?

    (Please note I have never stated a position for or against the war in Iraq).

     
  15. Revmitchell

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    The same false anti-war arguments were made then as they are now.
     
  16. Jim1999

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    Just war? Maybe it's just the lesser of two evils.

    War is hell, no matter which side you are on.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. OldRegular

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    I agree but apparently JC will use any means to dump on President Bush!
     
  18. OldRegular

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    This same mentality results in these bozos dumping on President Truman who saved millions of lives by dropping the A-bomb on Japan. If we had invaded Japan Iraq would have looked like a cake walk.
     
  19. JustChristian

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    When I say maybe that indicates an opinion on my part not a fact.
     
  20. Marcia

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    Just Christian, you did not answer what I asked in post 14 above.
     

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