Catholic Theologian on Obama in Oslo

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David Maguire is a Professor of Moral Theological Ethics at Marquette University, and author of The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy.  This article first appeared in [;] on December 16, 2009.

Opportunity Lost: Obama in Oslo

Whether Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize is not the point. He didn’t. The fact is he got it, and was gifted with the chance of a lifetime to make a classic speech on the politics of peace-making, a speech that in the glare of Nobel could have attained instant biblical standing.

He failed miserably, producing a hodge-podge that resembled the work of a bright but undisciplined sophomore.

He hoisted his petard on the classical "just war theory," a theory that, properly understood, condemns his decision to send yet more kill-power into Afghanistan.

This theory which is much misused and little understood is designed to build a wall of assumptions against state-sponsored violence, i.e. war. It puts the burden of proof on the warrior where it belongs.

It gives six conditions necessary to justify a war. Fail one, and the war is immoral.

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