Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Syria and Just War Symposium, Sept 8 - Agenda

Here is my proposed agenda - a lot to fit into an hour and a half, I admit, but this is only an introduction to the topic.

1. Explanation of the question: Christian faith in relation to making war
        a. Why this question is uniquely a problem of Christian faith
        b. Scriptural evidence
        c. The tension between keeping peace and maintaining justice
2. War and its context
        a. War as a political act
        b. “Intentional lethality”
3. Templates for considering the question of going to war:
        a. Realpolitik
        b. Holy war
        c. Just War Theory
4. Four points of the compass in addressing war v. peace:
        a. Moral-philosophical
        b. Ideological
        c. Prudential
        d. Consequential
5. Just War Theory
        a. Just cause for and beginning of war
                i. “Only resort”
                        1. Self-defense against violent aggression
                        2. Protect innocent third parties, but
                                a. The Peace of Westphalia, 1648
                                b. The UN Charter
               ii. Establish a more just peace
              iii. Prevent a greater evil than the war itself entails
              iv. Reasonable prospect of success
               v. Recognized authority
        b. Just conduct of war
                i. Proportionality of means to achieve the just end
               ii. Discrimination of violence
              iii. Forbidden acts (Hague, Geneva conventions and other protocols)
              iv. Responsibility of moral action
        c. Just ending of war
               i. Enduring peace
              ii. Restraint of the victor
             iii. Reconciliation among warring parties
6. The context before us: civil war in Syria
        a. Demographics of Syria and what they mean
        b. The Assad regime
        c. The insurgents
7. Stated purposes of the proposed war with Syria:
        a. The president’s written request to Congress -- Syria’s use of chemical weapons:
                i. “Threatens the national security interests of the United States”
               ii. “Constitutes a threat to international peace and security.”
              iii. Use of force necessary to
                       1. prevent/deter proliferation of WMDs within Syria or across its borders
                       2. Protect the US and other nations from WMD threat
       b. Prior declarations by the administration about use of force
               i. Not to bring about regime change
              ii. Punish Assad regime for chemical weapons use
             iii. Deter other nations from using WMDs in the future