Thursday, February 4, 2010


[ Picture on front pages around the world except in U.S. 1-20-2005, President Bush's 2nd Inauguration Day, of child whose parents were just shot in car at checkpoint, in Tal Afar, Iraq by U.S. forces. Uncounted children and parents have been killed there before and since. An untold number of U.S. soldiers have been witness to such unnecessary violence. ]


This idea should be re-introduced each year until we adopt it as a country to celebrate conversion from the way of unnecessary institutionalized wars. It took decades to establish Martin Luther King Day in the U.S., a step towards renouncing racism. It will take probably as long to declare an Unjust War Day of Remembrance, to begin fully dismantling all weapons of mass destruction, and the war mentality. But we need to call for it persistently, and assume world leadership in this cause. Members of Congress and the nations’ churches should start petitioning for this Day, as a national, and even international, holiday. Almost all powerful countries have been compromised by unjust war.

As an abundantly blessed nominally Christian nation, we should be the first in the world’s history to admit the mistake of unjust war, before forced to by defeat or self-depletion. This should happen on March 19th, the day we invaded Iraq in 2003. It would be a day dedicated to disarmament, international justice, and diplomatic conflict resolution.


“It is a sin to build a nuclear weapon.” This was the title of an article by the Jesuit priest, and friend, Fr. Richard McSorley, a couple of decades ago. America has yet to confess this sin. Instead we invaded Iraq to squash an Arab’s attempt to make one, when we’ve built tens of thousands. A nuclear weapon is an ultimatum destined to certainly kill innocents along with combatants if ever used, and already robs the poor, with every rocket built.

President Eisenhower and the U. S. Catholic Bishops—not radicals for sure, but senior statesmen of society and religion. They offered us wisdom--that these weapons and their industry would bring us to our subservient knees, moral and fiscal bankruptcy. But there has been no demand to change behavior, no teeth to the criticism, and no legs of action to stand on. No obligation, no persistent call to conversion. There follows one concrete step that could be taken.

March 19th. I suggest we name this day in the U.S., “Unjust War Remembrance Day.” When we invaded Iraq in 2003 on this day, on the slim possibility of finding even one nuclear weapon, we tried to change our national justification of war, from defensive move of last resort, to preemptive war—a war of convenience for perceived benefits. The people of the United States and the people of Iraq will be paying for this for years to come. It will be redeeming to our true national interests, if we remember that war is a bad tree, and you can never get good fruit from a bad tree. The evil of war is always multiplied, as one side is always unjust, and both sides take up evil means.

[Soldiers who have seen combat will be among the first to pray for an end to all war.]

May we re-dedicate ourselves as we approach this Lenten season, to turning away from the pride of the single super-power. May we place our human and natural resources in the service of the ever merciful Creator God, origin of all the world’s peoples.

For Catholics especially, we ask the continued intercession of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, who would not fight in Hitler’s wars, helping us beat the swords into plowshares, puting an end to war, and our possession of nuclear weapons.

Michael McCarthy, first written in November 2008.


  1. That picture is really powerful - and I think that the lack of these kinds of photos in our media is shameful... we should know what it is that we are supporting in our own military efforts-

  2. Thank you Michael.

    With the passing of Rep. Murtha we are
    reminded of how some people can
    see the wrong headed thinking that
    leads to needless death and distruction.

    Hopfully "Unjust War Rememberence Day"
    will gain some traction. May be way too much
    money and power in the pro war movement
    that will push back on this.

    Peace with prosperity and understanding can be a powerful
    concept as well.

  3. Michael - Calling it "unjust" implies that some wars are "just". On one of your posts you said the early Christians were totally non-violent. Maybe call it "Iraq Destruction Day".