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Aug-Sept 2002

A patriotic war is just to protect the citizens

Volume I, Issue IX
Best of the Pittsburgh Standard Sections of 2001-2002
SPECIAL                    FEATURE                  


August-September 2002 issues


Pittsburgh Standard presents you Student Government Board candidates' speeches from 'Meet the Candidates'


Constitution supports God and patriotism




Campaign finance reform becomes a crucial platform is

Former Survivor contestant visits Pitt

Athletes train their mind at AIA

Planned Parenthood supports UNFPA

Pitt cheerleaders and dance team rock the Fitzerald Fieldhouse

Bread for the world promotes hunger awareness


Da playas gonna play

Men are from the "O" and women are from "Starbucks"

Mexican exchange student enters a party!

Alcohol visits many faces across lands

Complaints of loneliness can be solved

Inventions of Black America rock

It is a matter of principle and ethics

"Mi casa es su casa": My home is your home


Pitt student assimilates into Delta Zeta

Chi Omega rocks in student's life!


Panthers rise to victory in Orlando

Panthers Tangerine Bowl victory spreads cheer through football players, cheerleaders, and fans!

Pitt finishes at the Fieldhouse with firepower

Knight and Howland receive Big East honors

Pitt's dance team shakes their way into the spotlight

Freshman cheerleader shares experience

Paralympics give hope

Next season for the Panthers looks promising

Prospective teams aiming for the title in 2003


Moral law or religious banter: The debate over the 10 Commandments continues

Court approves peaceful minute

Zultan/Yunich enlighten freshman student!

Start the year 2002 with a new perspective!

Music teaches

Gospel revealed through semantics and word play

Expressions of praise give audience new hope!

Identity can be a complicated matter

My kiss of a lifetime hopes to be special

Jubilee Afrikana rocks the Hilton Hotel in Downtown

Only the right antidote can protect your life

God's love is alphabetically revealed in random languages

God and the Baby


Top 25 reasons behind the origin's of the candy cane

The top 21 responses to 'I have a dream today that....'
Top 14 responses to "A Loving Friend is...."

In celebration of Valentine's Day, the top 50-26 responses to 'Love is....'

In celebration of Valentine's Day, the top 25-1 responses to 'Love is....'

In remembrance of 'Good Friday', the top 25 student responses to 'Loving the world God...'


July 4th fireworks rock Point State Park with a bang


Review of Kuntz Bakery


Finding the sweetest pad in Pittsburgh

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April-May 2002

March 2002

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December 2001

November 2001

October 2001

September 2001

Jeff Jasko
Staff Writer

America’s military response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th is an issue that deserves sober analysis in the minds of those who abide by Christian ethics.  Questions that inevitably arise are:  How can involvement in war be compatible with the Christian faith?  What are the criteria by which we can determine whether U.S. military action is justified?  Should actions that lead to the killing of human beings ever be carried out?  The idea that war should be fought only for a just cause has been argued for over two millennia, since the time of Cicero (106-43 B.C.).  Since then many Christian thinkers including Augustine, Aquinuas, Luther, Calvin, and Grotius furthered and refined the arguments regarding the rightful purpose and conditions of war.  Bernard Ramm notes, “If all of these documents are sifted through and summed up, a just war must meet the following criteria,” which he lists as seven principles (Bernard L. Ramm, The Right, the Good and the Happy).  The remainder of this article is largely adapted from James Borland’s analysis of these principles in light of the events surrounding September 11 (see “A Nation Responds to Terrorism and War” Christian Research Journal 24(2):32-41, 2002).

 Proper Authority.  According to Just War Theory (JWT), war must be declared by a proper authority.  The main intent of this principle is to prevent rogue insurrections.  Given the cowardly and vile nature of the terrorist’s attacks, Osama bin Laden and his followers cannot claim this sanction.  The U.S. Congress, in accord with this dictum, voted to grant the president full power to search out and destroy the perpetrators, their coconspirators, and those who aided and abetted them.

 Real Injury. A second JWT principle is that in order for a country to justify going to war, it must have suffered genuine injury.  Few would question whether the damage sustained by the U.S. qualifies as real injury.  The unprovoked sneak attack resulted in the loss of three World Trade Towers (One, Two, and Seven), four Boeing aircrafts, a section of the Pentagon, and about 3,000 priceless innocent lives from over 80 countries.  What would not qualify as real injury might be abusive speech, character assassination, the burning of the American flag, or the burning of a president in effigy.

Proportionality. A third principle is that the harm to be caused by a war must not go beyond the original injury.  In practice this factor is difficult to assess, but the difficulties involved do not absolve the U.S. from the responsibility of thoroughly evaluating this factor.  If the U.S. kills more people - especially innocent civilians - than the number of those who lost their lives on September 11th, then these actions would not qualify as a just war.  Our nation’s leaders first sought to avert war by diplomatic means.  When the Al Qaeda leader was not surrendered, the Afghan government was warned of an attack.  Even before the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan on Sunday, October 7, perhaps hundreds of thousands fled the nation to nearby Pakistan.  However, many may not have reached an area of relative safety.  Not only is proportionality difficult to gauge, but the factors often used to measure it become skewed in the process or overlooked in pursuit of the larger goal.

Just Means of Fighting. The fourth principle of JWT is that the fighting must use honorable means.  This can involve crippling the enemy’s ground, sea, and air forces but not intentionally killing innocent civilians in order to defeat the foe.  While it is true that wars inevitably kill some civilians, such killing must be an unintended and indirect product of attacks on the military.  Modern-day terrorists and guerilla fighters show a total disregard for this principle.  Intentionally locating their command headquarters or military targets within civilian areas, these groups use civilians as human shields for their acts of terror.  Ironically, when they hide behind civilians in this way, terrorists pay those nations that adhere to JWT a compliment, acknowledging that such nations do not make it a practice to kill civilians intentionally.

Good Chance of Victory. According to JWT, a country should not engage in war unless there is a good chance of winning without greatly endangering the lives of its own people.  Even Jesus counseled in a parable that a king should tally his chances before engaging his forces (Luke 14:31-32).  Hopefully, a nation has allies to assist its war efforts.  When NATO recently invoked Article 5 of its charter, those nations declared that the attack on the U.S. was an attack on all of them and that the forces of all would be used to defeat the enemy.  Friendly aircraft from NATO now patrol the eastern coast of the U.S. in an effort to protect America from further attacks.

Failed Negotiations.  The United Nations charter, Article 33 states that disputing nations “shall first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”  President Bush sought through diplomatic means to bring the terrorists to justice.  Fareed Zakaria also notes, “Every Islamic country in the world has condemned the attacks of Sept. 11.” (Fareed Zakaria, “Why Do They Hate Us?” Newsweek, 15 October 2001, 24).  Secretaries of State and Defense were sent throughout the world in an effort to secure justice by peaceful means.  The Taliban leaders considered the issue in deliberative council.  Pakistan’s president visited the Afghan leaders and urged them to heed the warnings.  Nonviolent means of persuasion should always be attempted for a reasonable amount of time before resorting to war.  It was nearly four weeks before the U.S. launched a counterattack on the enemy’s hideouts, terrorist training camps, and related targets.  America’s attempts to respond through nonviolent measures seemed more than reasonable.

Right Motive.  The final point that Ramm emphasized in his analysis of JWT is that a war must be fought with a right motive.  As Arthur Holmes explains, “All aggression is condemned; only defensive war is legitimate” (Holmes, “The Just War” War: Four Christian Views, 120).  It seems fair to say that the U.S. and its NATO allies are in fact engaged in a defensive war.  To defend oneself sometimes means disabling the attacker.  One must neutralize the enemy’s capacity to kill, maim, and destroy.  This may take years, but it is necessary if one is to preserve and defend an honorable way of life.  Without defending ourselves against the onslaught of terrorism, we will be in jeopardy of losing our most fundamental freedoms.

            In conclusion, the U.S. has properly applied the key concepts of proper authority, real injury, good chance of victory, failed negotiations and right motive to their response to terrorism.  However, Christians should continue to address the issues of proportionality and a just means of fighting, both in our prayers to God, and in our communications with our national leaders.  As a nation founded on Biblical truth, America has an obligation to follow this type of war ethic.  Michael McKenzie insightfully summarizes this reality:

Christians have long recognized that they hold dual citizenship. As citizens of the kingdom of God and ambassadors of Christ, they strive to let their light shine everywhere (Matt. 5:16). JWT is an invaluable moral matrix for Christians so that their faith may influence even the most horrible of humanity’s enterprises. Given the intractability of sin, Jesus says that wars will be with us until He returns (Matt. 24:7). To ignore that fact is to ignore reality. To ignore our moral responsibility is to invite conflicts to continue without the mediating influence of thoughtful Christians. The just war tradition provides no easy answers, but it can help to mediate Christ’s grace in a fallen and tragic world (“Onward Christian Soldiers?” Christian Research Journal, Fall 1996).

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 Bush should not use war as a "wag the dog tactic!" for re-election! (Merrian Brooks, Oct 13,02)