Armies know all about killing. It is what they do, and ours does it more effectively than most. We are painfully coming to realize, however, that we are also especially good at killing our own "from the inside out," silently, invisibly. In every major war since Korea, more of our veterans have taken their lives than have lost them in combat. The latest research, rooted inArmies know all about killing. It is what they do, and ours does it more effectively than most. We are painfully coming to realize, however, that we are also especially good at killing our own "from the inside out," silently, invisibly. In every major war since Korea, more of our veterans have taken their lives than have lost them in combat. The latest research, rooted in veteran testimony, reveals that the most severe and intractable PTSD--fraught with shame, despair, and suicide--stems from "moral injury." But how can there be rampant moral injury in what our military, our government, our churches, and most everyone else call just wars? At the root of our incomprehension lies just war theory--developed, expanded, and updated across the centuries to accommodate the evolution of warfare, its weaponry, its scale, and its victims. Any serious critique of war, as well any true attempt to understand the profound, invisible wounds it inflicts, will be undermined from the outset by the unthinking and all-but-universal acceptance of just war doctrine. Killing from the Inside Out radically questions that theory, examines its legacy, and challenges us to look beyond it, beyond just war....
|Title||:||Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War|
|Number of Pages||:||161 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War Reviews
This was not an easy book to read, but not because of the historical and theological material shared; rather, the book evoked memories of actual events and associated feelings from my experiences in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq in 2004. An interrogator in Vietnam, I was a Chaplain in the last two. This important volume on the genesis, practicality, and failure of the Just War Tradition has challenged my sense of self as a theologian and a decent man in that work. The sentence that sums it up reflects the Chaplain as "all about caring and affirming, while meanwhile evading real moral and religious issues." (Page 139) The book is not designed to make former soldiers like me feel badly, but to help me discern the path ahead in standing for something other than complicity in violence and the chaos of warfare. I would suggest all religious types read this book, and especially those who seek to provide pastoral care to our soldiers.
Christians permanently went from being “comprehensively pacifistic before Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity to downright warlike after his conversion.” This book is the rebuttal to Just War theory which was created by St. Augustine around the time of Constantine whose Christian Armies bearing the sign of the cross were sanctioned for the first time to kill non-Christians in apposition to everything Jesus taught. “Jesus nowhere teaches that it is right for his disciples to offer violence to anyone, however wicked.” He goes to his own violent death without a fight and “He blessed ‘the peacemakers’ (Matt 5:9) not the warriors, and opposed the exercise of violence, even in self-defense or revenge.” To Augustine not all killing was murder but depended on the ‘intent’, thus, his belief that violence could be good or evil. Unfortunately, that starts the slippery slope to today where there are countless cases of evil violence done by American soldiers even though only they were given license to do only “good” violence. Warriors can only kill when it’s not avoidable, yet our SEAL team’s best men riddled Bin Laden with bullets when he stood before them aged, alone, and totally unarmed. Warriors don’t enjoy killing, but many do. Killing innocent people must not be the norm, yet it is. You shouldn’t take advantage of the weak, but they do. A warrior knows how to control his anger, but many of ours can’t. Warriors kill people in an honorable way, yeah, like My Lai or Fallujah’s white phosphorous deaths. Warriors must purge themselves of anger, hate, greed, enjoyment or malice – too bad our warriors historically tend to purge themselves best through violence rather than avoiding it. Every concern St. Augustine had about Just War being abused has been ignored by American forces in the field, so why continue with the charade of Just War theory when we never have fought a Just War to begin with? (Don’t say WWII, because if that war was supposed to be ‘against fascism’, why did the US fight on the fascist side of the Spanish Civil War?) Augustine never served in the military and so it was easy for him to live in the fantasyland where soldiers killed dispassionately like surgeons. “How could anyone dispassionately kill an attacker?” It’s fascinating that today’s Catholic Church and almost every Christian sect still to this day “fails to outspokenly endorse and publically defend selective conscientious objection to war, much lass pacifism.” “With the gospels extracted and neutralized, there was not enough left in the Bible to make the case against war.” Cornel West calls this the battle between the Constantinian Christian (Just War, St. Augustine style Christian selling out Jesus) and the Black Prophetic Tradition (Liberation Theology, advocating for the poor and non-violence MLK style). Erasmus said, “The whole philosophy of Christ argues against war.” Andrew Bacevich says we won’t be able to reverse militarization of US Foreign policy unless we bring back the draft. Vietnam Chaplain William Mahedy said, “War …is a form of hatred for one’s fellow human beings. It produces alienation from others and nihilism, and it ultimately represents a turning away from God.” In conclusion, Just War Theory was never more than a theory. “The idea that there are rules in warfare,” wrote Sebastian Junger, “probably ended for good with the machine gun.”
In his 2014 book, “Killing From The Inside Out – Moral Injury And Just War”, author Robert Emmet Meagher takes an historical look at Just War theory – its development and practice, and particularly, its fruits. And the fruits have not been good. Meagher’s entire argument can be summed up in these words from the book’s conclusion: “Just war theory is a dead letter . . . It was never more than a theory, and at its worst it was a lie, a deadly lie. It promised at least the possibility of war without sin, war without criminality, war without guilt or shame, war in which men would risk their lives but not their souls . . . Whether or not these promises were first or ever made in good faith is something we can never know, and it doesn’t matter. What we can know is that they have not been kept. We know this from experience, the experience of war, the killing lab in which the theory of just war has been tested for sixteen centuries. It is time to declare its death and to write an autopsy.” (p. 129).Meagher has spent decades counseling veterans of America’s wars. What he has discovered, as the title of his book indicates, is that in spite of Christian efforts over the centuries to delineate circumstances under which war could be justified, war has been killing not only those who receive the arrows, bullets, bombs, etc., but killing from the inside out those who pull the trigger. Meagher has learned “that a great many combat veterans, having followed all the rules, are haunted more by what they have done than by what they have endured in war.” (p. 2). Their consciences find no peace in the rationalizations for killing found in just war theory. Their souls are often poisoned, if not ruined as an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day. “Indeed, many veterans, consumed with irrational and seemingly incurable shame, act plague-ridden, their souls sick unto death, convinced that their dark malaise is contagious and that they themselves, no longer worthy of care, are a danger to everyone they love and to everyone who loves them.” (p. 45). Of course in America “the idea that dutiful service to one’s country in a just war can be simply ‘wrong,’ putting at risk one’s humanity and very soul, is blasphemous and unthinkable to nearly everyone except those who have experienced it to be the case.”From the perspective, then, of the veterans who return ruined from war, Meagher proceeds to dismantle the reasonings of just war apologists such as Augustine and Aquinas. He then points out why the rationalizations of just wars always fail: “How many states or sovereign authorities, we might ask, have ever declared wars that they have not attempted to justify? Enemies in war always see the other side as somehow in the wrong and themselves as in the right . . . we may well share some simmering doubt regarding just how much difference the theories of just war laid out by two brilliant and renowned monks— Aquinas and Augustine— have ever made or could ever make in limiting war as we or any of our warlike predecessors have known and practiced it.” (p. 98-99).For Christians these considerations beg a very important question: if Meagher’s conclusions are correct and war can never be just, can a Christian ever then be involved in any aspect of war without sin? Most Christians would dismiss such a question out of hand. That’s why a well-researched and well-argued book like “Killing From The Inside Out” is important to read and consider. I hope that every Christian will prayerfully do so.
An interesting take on Just War Theory in the 21st Century. I agree with many of the conclusions, although I found the tie between sex and killing in war odd. I guess I get the point (have to read the book to understand), but I think it could've been a lot sharper without that tie (which - interestingly - is totally omitted from the conclusion chapter. Overall, I recommend the book to those who serve and those who send those who serve.
So many quotable passages!