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The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-war Legacy (Facets Series) Paperback – March 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This slim book is a work that every American should read, whether blue state or red state." --A. Regina Schulte, in Corpus

About the Author

Daniel C. Maguire is Professor of Ethics at Marquette University. He also is President of the Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics. Among his many books are Death by Choice (1974), The Moral Choice (1975), The Moral Revolution (1986), The Moral Core of Judaism and Christianity (Fortress Press, 1993), Sacred Energies: When the World's Religions Sit Down to Talk about the Future of Human Life and the Plight of This Planet (Fortress Press, 2000), and Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions (Fortress Press, 2001).
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Product Details

  • Series: Facets Series
  • Paperback: 103 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800638972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800638979
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth B. on July 10, 2007
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"The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy"

Daniel Maguire, Professor of Moral Theological Ethics at Marquette University, aims "to challenge the seductive power of war that so grips and hobbles our imaginations." A major cause, he argues, is "Just-war" Theory. Its original purpose -- to limit, control, and even avoid warfare -- now is commonly subverted to justify and "baptize" it. The burden of proof intended to rest upon the warrior now rests upon the conscientious objector.

Maguire has the gift of truth-telling in such a way that you can see. Noting how we have sanitized the idea of war, Maguire observes: "War can even be a form of armchair spectator entertainment. It is acceptable for people to become 'Civil War buffs,' or 'Revolutionary War buffs.' If people were to announce themselves as 'prostitution buffs' or 'necrophilia buffs,' their perverted absorption in such human disasters would raise eyebrows."

Rightly used, Just-war theory would insist that international force be deployed only "in a community context with legal and internationally enforceable restrictions comparable to the restraints we put upon our police." [italics in original]

Maguire has hope: "It is in us to outgrow war. The formula is easy enough: put your main trust in justice, not weapons, trust life-power more than kill-power, specialize in diplomacy and imagination, not bludgeoning." Grounds for hope abound: "Military power, even 'superpower' military power, is being embarrassed [by its failure to assure peace], and examples of successful nonviolent modes of resistance are multiplying.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Christofferson on October 29, 2007
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This book is very small and short (89 pgs), but that's all it needs to be. Daniel C. Maguire does a great job of outlining the hypocrisy of our modern, Western-world view of Just-war. While Maguire brings up the fact that early Christians were entirely pacifist, the book is less about religion, and more about the logic behind Just-war theory. And he's not advocating extreme pacifism at all costs. On the contrary, he is entirely behind the notion of defensive force...but only by strict criteria:

Criterion 1. Just Cause: "The only just cause is defense against unjust attack."

Criterion 2. Declaration by Competent Authority: Declaration of war can only be administered by a democratically elected body of government (i.e. Congress). "Police" actions dictated by the President alone is not Competent Authority because it may not truly represent the will of the people and is seldom up for debate.

Criterion 3. Right Intention: "Right intention: insists that the "just cause" you allege for going to war is really why you are going to war. In other words, the just cause must truly be just and not just a mask for oil or conquering.

Criterion 4. The Principle of Discrimination and Noncombatant Immunity: essentially this means - you cannot intentionally target civilians in war. In the modern era, however, this is very difficult since terrorists/guerillas are merged within the population. Therefore, if you cannot conduct war against terrorists/guerillas without killing civilians, then your war does not fit this criterion and must be abandoned.

Criterion 5. Last Resort: War must be a last resort. However, the US "defense" budget is the largest funded budget we have. Our wallet tells us our hearts go to war before any other options first.

Criterion 6.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elsa L. Clark on October 27, 2007
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This is an excellent presentation on the subject of the "just war" theory and how it has been consistently violated in the Iraq war. Though the subject could easily become complex and scholarly, the author makes it highly readable for anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian on July 28, 2011
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"Nonviolent resistance takes a good deal of imagination. Violence, does not: even a raging bull can achieve it."

Dr. Daniel C. Maguire's incredibly moving book, The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking thinking the Just-war Legacy, provides a scathing look at America's traditional warmongering foreign policy, as well as the concept of war as a whole. He critically challenges the idea that war can ever be "just," or righteous, and asks why America seems to love war so much. While Dr. Maguire is a staunch Jesuit Catholic priest, and a professor of Christian Ethics at Marquette University, he does not intend for this to be a religious study or evaluation of the issues of just war. Dr. Maguire wisely keeps religion somewhat in the background of this book to appeal to a larger audience of non-Christians and Christians alike. In doing so, he frames his arguments in a way that people of all faiths can appreciate and come to understand the inherent injustice of the institution of war as a whole. He is almost screaming, "Wake up, America, and realize where your priorities currently lie, and how skewed they are!"

Dr. Maguire informs readers that, "We spend around ten thousand dollars a second on military kill-power in the United States while states go bankrupt and schools close early for lack of funds." This is a travesty that will ultimately lead to our destruction, and too many Americans are oblivious to the sheer magnitude of the problem, believe the lies told by our war-loving government, or just do not care.
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