In 2007, I have been greatly preoccupied by Christian faith, the politics of war, and — above all — torture. I first started hammering away at the issue here, in March.
The Bush Administration, and the Republican Party in general, appeals to the Christian right to support its aggressive militarism, its use of torture, and its refusal to recognize the human and legal rights of detainees in the “war on terror”. The Bush Administration has thereby made its policies a matter of urgent concern for the Church: arguably the issue for the Church in the present historical era.
An argument in support of American militarism
It is fitting, as 2007 draws to a close, that I have been debating the topic with John Hobbins at Ancient Hebrew Poetry. John laid out an argument, from a Christian perspective, for going to war. He supports not merely war in general, but preemptive war in specific.
Preventive wars and pre-emptive strikes are typical military strategies. It is ludicrous to suggest that proactive military action is by definition bad whereas reactive military action may be justifiable. There are plenty of reasons for questioning the wisdom of the US-led intervention in Iraq. By itself, its proactive nature is not one of them.
Much of the violence in Samuel-Kings and Chronicles is pre-emptive in nature. You smash them before they can smash you. The anger of the prophet Elisha on his deathbed says it all (2 Kings 13:14-19).