A. Barton Hinkle on the Case for Just War Theory

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Credit: futurowoman / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, both GOP presidential aspirants, recently had what one might call a frank exchange of views on foreign policy. After Paul wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal opposing further intervention in Iraq, Perry suggested Paul is (paraphrasing here) a hopeless naïf whose fraidy-cat isolationism presents a standing invitation for terrorists to bomb America into rubble. Paul replied that Perry is a shoot-first maniac who would send American sons and daughters to their deaths because he refuses to learn from the past. "Any future military action by the United States," Paul wrote, "must always be based on an assessment of what has worked and what hasn't."

That would be a good start. But only a start, writes A. Barton Hinkle. Perry's and Paul's concern over what works and what doesn't ignores an equally important consideration: what's right and what's wrong.

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