History does not tend to be kind to Christian theologians who demand war.
In a New York Times article titled "A Catholic Debate Mounts on the Meaning of 'Just War'" published in April, Peter Steinfels called attention to a contemporary history lesson drawn in an ongoing debate between Catholic neo-cons who have supported the Iraq war and the popes and bishops who have not. In the April issue of First Things, George Weigel revisits his arguments for the justice and necessity of the Iraq war and refuses to admit regret. Weigel instead casts blame for the failures in Iraq in two directions: the U.S. foreign policy community which failed adequately to plan for the war's aftermath, and the Arab Islamic political culture whose "irresponsibility, authoritarian brutality, rage, and self-delusion" has caused them to refuse "the foreigner's gift" of political freedom that we have brought them. (I'm not making that up.)
The history lesson is delivered in a commentary titled "Bishops and Their Critics," by the editors of Commonweal magazine, who remind their readers of Weigel's original well-publicized arguments in favor of the invasion back in 2003. They focus on one key point: In the face of vociferous objections to the impending war by the pope and the U.S. bishops, Weigel argued that Catholics should defer to the president's judgment on whether or not this war, or any war, met the just war criteria.