I am not one that believes that war is never justified. I believe the words of the prophets both modern and ancient are clear on the matter, and so I will not address that point here.
That leaves the question of when is war justified, and does the war in
I will use as the basis for this essay a talk given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in the April 2003 General Conference of the Church. I encourage all to read it. This talk was given shortly after the war started. President Hinckley began by quoting Revelation 12:7-9 about the War in Heaven. He called it a “terrible conflict for the minds and loyalties of God’s children.” He says that most of the world’s conflicts have been fought for essentially the same reasons.
Later, President Hinckley says, “the question arises, where does the Church stand in all of this?”
The following paragraph is in my opinion incredibly important.
“In a democracy we can renounce war and proclaim peace. There is opportunity for dissent. Many have been speaking out and doing so emphatically. That is their privilege. That is their right, so long as they do so legally. However, we all must also be mindful of another overriding responsibility, which I may add, governs my personal feelings and dictates my personal loyalties in the present situation.”
And what is the “overriding responsibility” of which he speaks?
He answers this question in part by remembering a particularly devastating war between the Lamanites and the Nephites recorded in
He goes on to say that, “It is clear from these and other writings that there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression.”
Through much thought I have come to the conclusion that liberty is a God-given right, but there are those that seek to oppress and have succeeded in stealing the liberty of millions of people, and it is our duty and obligation to “fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression.”
This fight does not have to be by the sword, but often it does. Oppressors do not relinquish their ill-gotten power willingly. Saddam Hussein was one of those. Here was a man who mercilessly killed hundreds of thousands of people, if not more. He used biological and chemical weapons without remorse. When asked during his trial if he had ordered the massacre of a village’s entire population of men and boys, he said it was his right and privilege as president. He paid thousands of dollars to suicide bombers. He spent the better part of two decades procuring nuclear weapons capabilities with the intent to use them on anyone that stood in his way of world power. He stole the lives and liberty of countless people. It was, and is, our moral obligation to fight and defeat him and all those like him who seek for tyranny.