Is Bombing Syria/ISIS a “Just War”?

Is Bombing Syria/ISIS a “Just War”?


Click here to read a brief summary of the Just War theory – then tell us if you think bombing Syria, with a view to eliminating the terrorist group Islamic State, satisfies the criteria for a just war.

Were St Thomas Aquinas alive today and writing his Just War Theory, would he update it to include consideration of the kind of terrorism we know, and fear,  today?StThomasAquinasyoung

Share your thoughts – all things considered, do you think Catholics should support the bombing of Syria.  Are we able to do so by invoking the Just War Theory?

And don’t let’s forget to pray especially this weekend  for those involved in making the decision to bomb Syria. Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for them.

Comments (75)

  • JohnR

    As you may suppose from my comment above, I do think that these bombings are equally as justified as were the Crusades. It is surely obvious to you all that vast hordes of Syrians have fled Syria so when you plead that bombs should not be dropped because innocent civilians will suffer, just how many innocent civilians are there still in Syria? The vast majority there have gone there simply to push Islam forward just as of old. The bombings are aimed at oil trucks and Islamic camps. The bombs of today are far better at hitting specific targets than they could during WWII. Did you complain about us bombing during WWII? Why did the Turks shoot down that Russian bomber? Putin is right. Turkey has indeed been helping ISIS by buying its oil and that is why the Turks pounced on that Russian bomber and shot it down over Syria, not over Turkey.
    By the way, I too urge you all to look at Rorate Caeli’s latest about the justification of the Crusades just as Olaf recommends.
    This bombing is simply a continuation of The Crusades in the 21st Century.

    December 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm
    • editor


      You appear to have missed the key point that the Crusades were a defensive action against a false religion in order to protect the Christian Faith.

      Unless I’ve missed something, Cameron & Crew are not remotely interested in protecting Christianity (hardly a word about the effective wiping out of Christians over there) – his motivation is a mixture of revenge for atrocities committed, against the mantra of preserving democracy (such as it is – we vote in our dictators, that’s, it seems to moi, what “democracy” means here in the enlightened West).

      So, however much you protest in favour of these air strikes, the case for them does not fit the requirements of the Just War theory.

      December 4, 2015 at 10:19 pm
      • Andrew Paterson

        One might argue the “Just War” case against bombing in Syria, and I do not agree with all of RCA Victor’s arguments.
        However, it would be easier to make the “Just War” case for bombing in Leeds and Luton.

        December 5, 2015 at 11:24 am
  • JohnR

    I realise that I am out of step with the tenor of most of you here. So be it. Personally I do not care one hoot what the motives of Cameron and Crew are. The fact is that it is the self-same enemy which the Crusaders fought against and that enemy has exactly the same motive and intention as it did at the time of the Crusades. Because it is that enemy which is being attacked by those with whatever motive they might have, then I am delighted that the attacks are taking place. As far as I can see then I am supporting a just war and it is I who is doing the supporting.
    Do you now understand what my argument is?

    December 5, 2015 at 2:06 am
    • Andrew Paterson

      Bang on! The “liberal” weasels do not understand as they have no clue about Christianity or History. They are under the illusion that soft words will turn away wrath. It won’t work as it has never worked against an enemy that is implacable.
      There are no “good” muslims” or “bad” muslims as the so-called radicalised jihadis are merely living the fulfillment of the q’ran. The others quietly support them and may be quiescent for now.
      The air strikes are in my view quite pointless though as we add nothing to the Russian efforts. A nuclear strike on Medina might work together with the warning to stop now. The military alternative is to establish a cordon sanitaire and kill every male within it. The followers of islam around the world might become a bit fussed about that. Maybe we should face it now and not in twenty years when islam rules Europe.
      There is no theological or traditional reason why Christians should not smite the instruments of Satan.

      December 5, 2015 at 11:20 am
    • Athanasius

      John R,

      Prior to Western intervention in Iraq, Libya and now Syria, Muslims and Christians co-existed in relative peace in these lands. It was only with the removal of the regimes in two of the three countries, with the third now well under way, that Islamic brutality reared its ugly head and took hold in the ensuing chaos, revenging itself on the poor Christians of the region who are innocent of the geopolitical wars sponsored by non-Christian govenments such as our own.

      The middle-ages Crusades you speak of cannot be remotely paralleled with today. These were preached by the Popes to preserve the holy places and their Christian populations from the Muslim hoardes of the time, who hated Christianity and set about an unprvoked destruction of it. In other words, they were just wars of self defence and in defence of divine truth.

      What has that period of history got to do with our apostate governments of today whose unjust interventions have destabilised formerly stable regions resulting in the brutal eradication of the 2000-year old Christian communities of Iraq and Libya?

      You are very seriously mistaken if you think the present war in Syria will somehow weaken militant Islam. All the evidence from Iraq and Libya suggests the opposite, which is that formerly religious indifferent dictatorships are being replaced with Islamic fundamentalist ones. And the Western the world is about to become a whole lot more dangerous as a result.

      As I said before, God is not in any of this.

      December 6, 2015 at 3:08 am
      • JohnR

        Sorry Athanasius, Islam is exactly the same now as it was in the time of the Crusades. When the Islamists are not in control they will indeed live in peace BUT when they they have the upper hand then they unleash their hateful side.
        There was an excellent article on Islam in Rorate Caeli by John R.T Lamont and it was specially written for that Blog. It was there about 2 weeks ago and I do not know how to find it after it is no longer there.
        He criticised the Canadian clergy for being weak on Islam especially Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher the Archbishop of Gatineau in Quebec.
        The main objections were that an article by this Archbishop failed to mention that the aims of Islam are to deny the Trinity, to deny that Jesus died on the cross, to deny that Jesus was no more than the natural son of Mary and to claim that Mohammed was sinless and therefore his life is a model for all Islamists. Hence taking a 7 year old child as his wife is fine and also all women are subject to their husbands and those husbands can divorce their wives just by declaring to her that she is divorced.
        The propagation of Islam is to be instituted by FORCE exactly as sinless Mohammed did.
        Do I need to say more?
        Their aim is to force this rule of life on us all with no exceptions.
        And you want to convince them simply by talking to them nicely!!!
        Wake up!!!
        You can not use reason with these creatures.
        They really are under the thrall of Satan.

        December 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        I agree that it is a difficult task to convert Muslims to the true Catholic religion, but nothing is impossible with God. It has never been the way of the Church to imitate the practices of her enemies in order to crush them. We Catholics don’t do “eye for eye and tooth for tooth,” understanding that “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” and that “those who take up the sword will perish by the sword,” self defence excepted.

        When Hitler invaded Poland he became a clear and present danger to all of humanity. It was right and just, therefore, that we went to war against him. But what clear and present danger did Iraq and Libya represent to global peace when our leaders invaded and destroyed those countries? And what clear and present danger does Assad represent to us now that justifies our fomenting of the present civil war in Syria?

        You will know that it is a very great sin before God to say “let us do evil that good may come of it”? No, we Catholics do not force Muslims to abandon their false religion under pain of death because we have the true spirit of God, which is mercy and compassion for the souls of our enemies. That’s why the Church has in her First Friday and Good Friday prayers a petition for the conversion of those lost in the darkness of Islamism.

        I recall a line from the film “Jesus of Nazareth” which is actually well suited to this debate, and which really sums up the teaching of the Church with regard to bringing about the Reign of Christ the King. The line was this: “Before kingdoms change, men must change”. In other words, Islam will ultimately be defeated by the truth of God and His grace. Has not Our Lady of Fatima already promised us the victory when she will convert the world through the triumph of her Immaculate Heart?

        Until that time comes it is our business as Catholics to detest the present violence between the godless forces on all sides. Our own Western governments permit the killing of babies in the womb and legislate in favour of actions that are contrary to both God and nature. Would you argue that they are any less culpable before God because their transgression of the Commandments is less publicised?

        At any rate. I accept that It is both a right and a duty for our leaders to stamp out this ISIS group at all costs and by whatever means, for it is truly an evil mencace to society. But that’s not what the bombing of Syria is all about. The real action that needed to be taken against ISIS was boots on the ground in Iraq and Libya when ISIS was wiping out the Christians there. It didn’t happen. Why?

        And why are they insisting that ISIS is their target in Syria when all objective experts have said that ISIS is a very small problem in that civil war? I fear this has more to do with countering Putin than countering Islamic terrorism.

        Additionally, it would do us all well to consider for the sake of objectivity the tens of thousands of innocent Muslim women and children who have died as a result of the allied invasions of Iraq, Libya and now Syria. These people did nothing wrong and yet their homes have been bombed out and millions have been forced to flee, all in the name of countering Islamic extremism. We cannot close our eyes to this injustice while deploring the brutality of the Jihadists. Both are evil.

        If our governments had understood the dark nature of Islam from the beginning, then they would not perhaps have opened wide the doors to our Western culture and allowed it to flood in and take hold everywhere. We are now reaping the bitter rewards of that folly, seeing that Islamic leaders in Europe are shamefully very silent in the face of ISIS atrocities.

        In this respect, the Rorati Caeli article you mentioned was spot on. I read the piece and agreed with it.

        Anyway, all this talk of Islam and Middle Eastern conflict may soon be academic. If relations continue to deteriorate between Russia and the West, and they are at an all-time low right now, then it is very likely that nuclear war will come out of nowhere, as some prophecies predict. Then we will all have to face the horrors, and worse, that those Eastern countries are presently suffering. When God is rejected, as He is on all sides right now, then it’s not a case of if war comes but when war comes. Remember the words of Our Lady at Fatima: “War is a punishment for sin”!

        December 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm
  • JohnR

    Thank you Andrew. It seems that you and I have similar views. In fighting Islam we are fighting Satan.

    December 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Maybe if everybody who wants to bomb ISIS wrote to Pope Francis to ask him to consecrate Russia as Our Lady wants, there wouldn’t be any need for bombing.

      I don’t think we should be keen to bomb anyone, especially souls we think are working for Satan. Surely, we risk them being damned without the chance to repent?

      I don’t think anybody is suggesting “soft words” – I see hard action suggested in cutting off their money supplies etc. but bombing Iraq wasn’t too clever and I don’t think this latest campaign will be either. There’s something in the British psyche that needs to be at war with somebody all the time. I think other routes are more likely to succeed and less dangerous including to the souls of the Moslems who we should be trying to convert.

      December 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm
    • Helen

      I agree with you both. Had our forebearers been so weak and p.c. we’d have been under Sharia law 500 hundred years ago or so. Has anybody heard of the book: The Mosque of Notre Dame? Some sober reading! Of course our politicians don’t have a christian thought in their collective heads, but the Moslem invasion has to stop!!

      December 5, 2015 at 6:48 pm
      • Andrew Paterson

        Thanks for the mention of the book. I’ve now read the synopsis, so I may buy it.

        December 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm
  • Lily

    I can well understand the gung ho wish to bomb ISIL but I really don’t think it’s the answer, as Our Lady has given us the answer (Consecration of Russia)

    I think Peter Hitchens, although I don’t always agree with him on everything, has explained it well in this article and I agree with him on this subject.

    December 5, 2015 at 11:24 pm
  • editor

    Seems an attack by ISIS on the Pope has been thwarted. Click here to read more

    December 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm
    • Christina

      That link about the foiled attack on Pope Francis is a brilliant analysis of the Muslim psyche, and I hope all involved in the debate here will take the trouble to read it. Judging from many comments, the nature of Islam seems to be simply not understood here much more than it is in the non-Muslim world. Andrew Patterson, John R and maybe a few others are the exceptions. The debate has thrown up many red herrings that serve to distract from the truth about Islam, which is that no Muslim is ‘peaceful’ and they are our mortal enemies, because they are enemies of Christ. As someome has said, once they are numerous enough in any area, they will all unite to carry out the will of Allah and the instructions of his Prophet.The Koran is readily available in several English translations from Amazon. I chose one that is approved by Muslim scholars to avoid any misunderstanding, and I think it is required reading for anyone who wishes to understand rapidly unfolding world events and the terrible imminent danger they pose.

      December 6, 2015 at 11:05 pm
  • nero

    Is not a war but to stop terrorism

    December 10, 2015 at 3:08 pm
  • realpropheticvoice

    The Fall of Damascus is prophesied in Isaiah

    January 3, 2016 at 11:55 am

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