THE RULES OF THE GAME: Just War Doctrine

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Thou Shalt Not Kill—perhaps the most famous moral commandment in the western world. And yet Judeo-Christian religious leaders have also created a doctrine that can justify killing—commonly known as Just War Doctrine. What sort of military action does Just War Doctrine permit and what sort does it proscribe? Is America's campaign against terrorism a just war?

Recorded on Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Peter Robinson: Today on Uncommon Knowledge, War and how to wage it justly.

Announcer: Funding for this program is provided by The John M. Olin Foundation and The Starr Foundation.


Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I'm Peter Robinson. Our show today, Waging a Just War. Thou shalt not kill, probably the most famous moral commandment in the Western world and yet the doctrine of a just war, justified killing, also has a central place in the Judeo Christian tradition. Just what kinds of military action does the doctrine of a just war permit and what kinds does it prohibit? And what does the doctrine of just war have to tell us about the war on terrorism that we ourselves are now conducting?

Joining us today, three guests. Reverend William McLennan is Dean of Religious Life at Stanford University. Rabbi Daniel Lapin is President of Toward Tradition. And Father Robert Sirico is President of the Action Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

Title: Just War, What Is It Good For?

Peter Robinson: President Bush on November 8, 2001, quote, "We wage a war to save civilization itself. We did not seek it but we must fight it." The war against terrorist networks around the world. Rabbi are we justified, clearly justified, as clearly as the President suggests, in fighting this war?

Rabbi Lapin: Uh, absolutely only if we do it deliberately and with resolve and with the intent to (?)

Peter Robinson: Father?

Father Sirico: We're not only justified. I would say that the United States is obligated to pursue this.

Peter Robinson: Reverend?

Rev. McLennan: We have to be very careful as we're pursuing it to not have civilian casualties beyond the kind of casualties that we're--we've seen already.

Peter Robinson: Uh, can I ask you--does it make you at all jittery or nervous or uneasy that the President so directly associates American war and--and--with civilization itself? Does that make you a little nervous?

Rev. McLennan: It does. Civilization, um, has many forms and has historically. And, uh, I'm concerned in, uh, thinking about Islamic civilization as well as, uh, Christian and Jewish civilization.

Peter Robinson: Does it bother you?

Rabbi Lapin: No, not at all. I mean, America is the only country in the whole world, uh, that has an illegal immigration problem. Most other countries are people trying to get out. So I--I don't think in the same way we might, uh, well say look A--Alexis is a better colony. You better go. I feel no difficulty at all saying Judeo Christian based Western civilization is a superior civilization to many others.

Peter Robinson: Father?

Father Sirico: Uh, I would say that, uh, in this particular instance, it is civilization and--and by civilization, I mean a civilization that re--respects a--an authentic form of plurality that would also regard the rights of the Islamic people to practice their faith. Uh, but Islamic people to practice their faith who--who will relinquish the use of coercion and terrorism.

Peter Robinson: Okay. So let's begin with the opening cond--conundrum. Moses come down--comes down from Mt. Sinai with laws graven by God on the tablet and one of them is, "Thou shalt not kill." Solomon's famous verse in Ecclesiastes, "Everything has its season. There is a time for everything under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot the planted, a time to kill and a time to heal." How are we to reconcile this fundamental conundrum, a time to kill and thou shalt not kill? Now Rabbi, since your faith has been working on this one for about three thousand lo--years longer than ours, we'll begin with you.

Rabbi Lapin: Sure. Well, uh, step number one is if--if we are going to quote the--the root of Judeo Christian tradition, the--the scriptures of--of, uh, what are called the Old Testament then I think it's only right to point out that, um, there is an enormous difference between the morality system that is given to individuals and the morality system that's given to governments. For instance, uh, Judaism utterly supports capital punishment. That doesn't mean any individual has the right to go out and kill anybody but governments may execute. That's one of the fundamentals. Nobody can take something from somebody without his permission but governments tax. Now many people aren't too crazy about that but certainly one thing that everyone would agree governments can tax for, um, is for self-defense purposes. So in the same way that there are different sets of moralities for individuals with respect to execution and taxation with respect to governments, similarly when it comes to making war, the fundamental job of the government is to defend its citizens and to proceed to do…

Peter Robinson: A question about Christianity. Is it possible to reconcile the tension between the Christian traditions of pacifism and just warfare?

Title: Give Peace a Chance

Peter Robinson: Within Christianity, we've got a couple thousand years now in which a notion of justified or justifiable warfare coexists with a quite strong, pacifist impulse, elaborated theologically in some traditions, less so in others. In the Protestant tradition, you have to this day, Mennonites, certain Quaker groups would be pacifists. Within the Catholic tradition, the monastic…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Exactly.

Father Sirico: Sure.

Peter Robinson: Now how is it--how is it that Christianity can say at one in the same time, war can be justified, even in instances in which it is, pacifism can be a noble response. Reverend?

Rev. McLennan: Well if you think of the first three hundred years of the Christian church, it was a pacifist church. If you think of what Jesus said in terms of, blessed are the peacemakers, love your enemies, turn the other cheek and so on…

Peter Robinson: Right.

Rev. McLennan: …it's been very hard for many Christians not to see pacifism as a legitimate, uh, response.

Peter Robinson: Isn't that an elaboration of the Rabbi's point? To say--that is to say, for its first three hundred years, Christianity didn't have enough influence in any individual state to face the question of what it--when it is legitimate for a st--up until Constantine converts, Christianity is mostly an association of individuals, right?

Rev. McLennan: Right.

Peter Robinson: So--so is the pacifist impulse acceptable only for individuals or…

Rev. McLennan: No. I mean, the pacifist impulse has also been one that's been seen as a--an obligation of states as well. Certainly from the--the Mennonite or the--the Quaker position.

Father Sirico: It's certainly not the, uh, first three centuries of the Christian church because you have, uh, soldiers who convert to Christianity. There's not admonition of them to, uh, relinquish their positions. Uh, you also have Saint Paul in, uh, Romans 13 saying that--that the government has the sword to execute righteousness. So I think the--this distinction between, uh, the pa--and--and I like the phrase you use when you say the pacifistic impulse. It is a tug and I think that the just war theory emerges out of the acknowledgement of that tug that we have to restrict the use of violence for good aims. It's regrettable that we have to use violence but there's some times where it is necessary and even, uh, required to defend. And so it's never a pacifistic--the nature of the state is that it has a monopoly of coercive force.

Peter Robinson: Okay then let me put this one to you. We know the story of the Good Samaritan. He comes along a road, finds a man who's been beaten by robbers and stops to bind up his wounds and takes him to (?). Okay. Now so suppose he comes along thirty minutes earlier when the robbers are in the act of beating him up. At that point, doesn't he have a positive duty to intervene if he can?

Rev. McLennan: I think you always have a positive duty to try to intervene…

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Rev. McLennan: The question is how you're intervening, what the mechanism of…

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Rev. McLennan: …intervention is, what kind of, uh, weapons you may have on your person…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Okay. If you were the Romans…

[Talking at same time]

Father Sirico: …of prudence and--and that's exactly what the just war…

Peter Robinson: Okay. So even here, there's no distinction in principle. You wouldn't disagree in--in principle…

Rev. McLennan: Pacifism to me is not passive in the sense of not doing anything. It always has to be active and engaged. And pacifists, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and so on, uh, these are--these are activists.

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Peter Robinson: Let's examine the just war doctrine in some detail beginning with the right reasons for going to war in the first place.

Title: Cause and Reflect

Peter Robinson: The just war theory breaks, uh, the notion of just war into two large categories. Jus ad bellum, that is to say, justification for going to war and then, uh, jus in bello, the right way to conduct a war. I will now compress several centuries of thought into television time and click down the fundamental material for jus ad bellum. That is to say, the right reasons for going to war. And you tell me whether the conflict in which this country is now engaged meets these cri--and the way in--way in which the President has reasoned thi--things through and talked about it with the American people meets the criteria. Okay. A just war if defensive. It's aimed at protecting innocent against aggression. It's undertaken with right--right intention. That is, not the intention of conquering or plundering but establishing a just peace. This war qualified so far?

Rev. McLennan: Pretty good.

Peter Robinson: No problem?

Father Sirico: Yes.

Peter Robinson: No problem. Okay. Last three criteria. There are more but I take these as the most important ones. A just war has to be undertaken with the reasonable expectation that the means employed will be proportionate to the ends sought. It must be undertaken only as a last resort and it mu--mu--may be undertaken only when there is a reasonable probability of success. No problems here?

Father Sirico: Bingo. And--and also legitimate authority. This is the entire international community that is speaking out on this.

Rabbi Lapin: I--I have this basic problem with the whole thing, Peter, which is that, uh…

Peter Robinson: We're being too elaborate for you?

Rabbi Lapin: To some extent, yes. What I'd like to know is, uh, if anybody can tell me when was the last time there was a conflict in which the losing side said, that's all right, I--we don't mind losing. They're fighting a just war after all. You know, when was there actually any group of people that bought into this stuff? I don't believe there has been a time, number one. Number two, let's not get dewy-eyed and sentimental about, uh, American, uh, sports fans. When we root enthusiastically for our team, it isn't because of their good sportsmanship and their altruism, darn it. It's cause they're winning that's why! And for the same reason, this notion that our coalition here is going to be sustained because we're constantly assuring them that this is just. That's not what's going to sustain a coalition. What sustains a coalition is conviction that America is in this for the long-term, it's dedicated to win, that we're not going to leave them to hang out to dry along the way.

Father Sirico: But surely Rabbi Lapin, you--you--you will agree that we have to restrain. It's not just a full, anything goes in order to win, uh, that there has to be proportionality that, uh, that innocent, uh--uh, civilians should not be targeted in this engagement.

Rabbi Lapin: Well Father Sirico…

[Talking at the same time]

Rev. McLennan: …Geneva Conventions. It's why we have, uh, U.S. Military code and so on. This is all--a lot of these rules that we talk about…

[Talking at same time]

Rabbi Lapin: Did Stalin fight by the Geneva Convention? Did the North Vietnamese fight by the…

[Talking at same time]

Rev. McLennan: You're talking about civilization…

Rabbi Lapin: And here we have the reason why people write books like, uh, The Suicide of the West and Jean Francois Revel's, How the Western Democracies Perish

Peter Robinson: So now--now--now you're making it. So--so--so do you see…

[Talking at same time]

Rabbi Lapin: Go back to our original founding, Patrick Henry in March 17--1775 spoke to the Assembly and he said the battle is not to the strong. It is also to the vigilant, the active and the brave. I didn't hear him say anything about the just and the righteous. He didn't say that's why we're going to have allies.

Father Sirico: But all of those--all of those qualities are just and righteous qualities.

Rabbi Lapin: For a government, we do not want to hear that our women are being raped and our people are being killed, that our government fought a just war.

Peter Robinson: Rabbi, okay, so as a practical matter, do you see then that the way the war has been conducted so far has been, in some way, over-prudent, that the government has somehow been too hesitant. That is to say, we're permitting our own morality to tie us in…

Rabbi Lapin: No I…

Peter Robinson: …is ineffective…

Rabbi Lapin: …I've got to say that I--I--I do believe it's being prosecuted brilliantly. I think it's been precisely the right combination.

Peter Robinson: Okay. So it's just the conversation at this table that's annoying you at the moment?

Rabbi Lapin: Not annoying me.

Peter Robinson: All right. Okay.

Father Sirico: I think that you look at what the United States is doing in terms of dropping not just bombs but food…

Peter Robinson: Right.

Father Sirico: …and the, uh, spontaneous impulse of American citizens in sending blankets and--and other things to the innocent civil--this is a right and just--and this is the--if there's this superiority of culture, this is it.

Peter Robinson: Let me go on to this second category...

Peter Robinson: On to jus in bello, the right conduct of war.

Title: The Rules of the Game

Peter Robinson: Two big ideas, proportionality, you're not allowed to use any more force than is necessary to achieve the just end. And discrimination which means, no intentional killing of innocent civilians. Now let's take discrimination. During the Second World War, we bombed Dresden, we firebombed Tokyo. Of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I'd like to get to those in a moment. Were those unjust--the very point of the firebombing of Tokyo was to kill civilians. Likewise the very point of attacking Dresden which was also firebombed was to kill civilians. Were those actions in and of themselves unjust? Reverend?

Rev. McLennan: Yes, they did not meet just war doctrine.

Peter Robinson: No question about it.

Father Sirico: Yes, yes…

Peter Robinson: They were unjust?

Father Sirico: They would be injust. Inju--unjust.

Peter Robinson: Rabbi?

Rabbi Lapin: Well I--I don't see it quite as simply as that. I'd like somebody to explain to me, why is it that it's permissible to assault the man who's throwing a bomb on me or throwing a bomb at me and prevent him from doing so but it's not permissible to stop the person back home who's manufacturing the bomb in the first place. All warfare is essentially economic at root. Uh, it takes a certain amount of resources in order to keep men at the front and to produce ammunition and fling it at the enemy. And war--if war means winning then it means undercutting the enemy's capacity to wage war.

Peter Robinson: He makes a basic point, though do--I mean, in the Medieval times, you could tell the peasants apart from the knights but that is not--the difference between civilians and military personnel is blurrier now, right?

Father Sirico: The fact that it's complicated doesn't mean you disregard the distinctions.

Rev. McLennan: Right.

Father Sirico: To--to target a bomb factory is justifiable but to target an entire city much less to drop an atomic bomb on--on a city where you know they're going to be innocents…

Rabbi Lapin: I believe that the, uh, ending of the war in the Pacific by dropping the--the bombs on Japan were among the most just and moral things that were ever done.

Peter Robinson: Okay now this--this would be…

Rabbi Lapin: I'm not sure many of us would here if there had to of been a land invasion of Japan.

Peter Robinson: This would be proportionality and I wanted to ask about this, the Hiroshima, Nagasaki--we have--Edward Teller who's here at Stanford, ninety some years old and still active writing and speaking.

Rabbi Lapin: God bless him.

Peter Robinson: Edward Teller said we did wrong. We should have conducted a--a--a kind of demonstration in the atmosphere…

[Talking at same time]

Rabbi Lapin: Look, if I had a job on a university campus, I'd also say that now. But the fact is, he didn't say it back then. And nobody sensible said it back then.

Peter Robinson: Never reached President Truman. So your point is that given what Truman knew, it was a just thing to do.

Rabbi Lapin: You know, look, um, Queen Victoria obstructed the development of the submarine because it offended her sense of just war. Uh, Pope Irving II in--in--in 1097, I think that was, uh, prohibited the use of a crossbow because it violated his sense of--of a just war. Well the--those people who subscribe to that like Britain in World War I, suffered rather badly for--as a result of these notions.

Peter Robinson: So…

Father Sirico: Well then what's the distinction between, um, the civilization that you say is superior going into war and barbarians? How would you distinguish a barbarous act of military exercise and one that would be a civilized act?

Rabbi Lapin: Uh, a war launched, uh, offensively and for conquest as opposed as a war that is designed to protect its own citizens…

Father Sirico: And no rules in the midst of the war?

Rabbi Lapin: In defending your citizens?

Father Sirico: Everything's legal in--in terms of what you do?

Rabbi Lapin: That there are going to be immoral activities on the part of individual soldiers at certain times…

Father Sirico: No, we're talking about policy. Going in wi…

[Talking at same time]

Rabbi Lapin: Policy, prosecution of the war…

Father Sirico: …principles.

Rabbi Lapin: The object is to and obviously to do so with the least possible destruction and the least…

Rev. McLennan: What about the Geneva Convention? What about the U.S. military code that…

Rabbi Lapin: Well as I asked you before…

Rev. McLennan: Do you torture the prisoners?

Rabbi Lapin: Reverend, see not everybody buys into the Geneva Conventions and so if you're going to hobble yourself by your own morality, it's not going to look pretty…

Peter Robinson: Reverend, let me put it to you. If you believe that it was plausible, it may have been incorrect, but it was plausible for President Truman to accept the estimates that something like one million or eight hundred thousand, huge number of casualties would be involved by a conventional invasion of the home islands of Japan whereas you kill one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand or two hundred and fifty or three hundred thousand by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now the difference is they're civilians. How do you--how do you ti--how do you cut that Gordian knot, that moral knot.

Rev. McLennan: There are certain duties that we--we must uphold regardless of consequences. I mean, when you make a consequentialist argument, you can say torture of--of prisoners of war is always justified because you're able to get information you wouldn't be able to get otherwise, etc.

Peter Robinson: Would you say then there are certain kinds of weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons that are unjust in and of themselves?

Rev. McLennan: I think there's a real issue with especially those weapons, that we will destroy the earth. I think we're at a new time historically now where we have the capability of destroying the entire earth.

Peter Robinson: You don't buy…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Hold on. Let me just ask him--are there some weapons that are unjust in and of themselves?

Father Sirico: Um, no. No. I--I--I…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: It's all context, prudential judgments?

Father Sirico: Yes, I think you'd have to give me an example of it. I could even, uh, I don't like to contemplate the use of, uh, biological warfare but if it was, for instance, uh, used against a particular dictator or military operation…

Peter Robinson: From biological warfare to economic warfare. Is the economic embargo on Iraq just?

Title: No-Fair Zone?

Peter Robinson: Ever since the Gulf War, some--a decade and some years ago, we have enforced and supported an economic embargo on Iraq. The target is Saddam Hussein. He's still in power but hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have suffered as a result of the embargo. Has the embargo been just or does that violate the principle of discrimination? Father?

Father Sirico: Uh, I think that it has not only been unjust, I think it has been manifestly ineffective. I have been against the embargo. I think what you want to create in a situation…

Peter Robinson: You've been against the embargo from day one on principle or…

Father Sirico: From day one on principle.

Peter Robinson: Was it because it's unjust?

Father Sirico: I think--well I think it's imprudent and unjust.

Peter Robinson: Reverend?

Rev. McLennan: Same.

Peter Robinson: Same. Rabbi?

Rabbi Lapin: Well, I--you know, again, I'm in trouble here, Peter, whatever happens. On my left and on my right, I--I'm in trouble. Look here, there's one fundamental issue which--which I think, uh, needs to be clarified. That is certainly in the eyes of God, all human beings are equal. I'm sure we'd agree with that. However, ladies and gentlemen, in the eyes of the United States government, I don't want all human beings to be seen as equal. I want the United States government to view American blood as more precious than anybody else's blood. That's what a government needs to do. That seems to me such a very basic moral issue. That one can hardly go further. It--that is important.

Father Sirico: I--I think if that…

Peter Robinson: Yes, but you don't want the United States government or any other government to have absolute license in defending its own citizens.

Father Sirico: No boundaries, no restrictions.

Rabbi Lapin: If it's a choice between American blood or foreign blood, the role of the government is to make sure that it is not American's (?) blood.

Rev. McLennan: But that's--that's a position for all governments of the world. I mean, what--what about international law?

[Talking at the same time]

Rabbi Lapin: God decides some of these things. That's--that is how the world works.

Rev. McLennan: Might--might makes right.

Peter Robinson: Okay, now let me ask you…

Rabbi Lapin: That--in--in the--from the point of view of--of protecting American citizens, absolutely. It's not a case of might makes right. It's that protecting American citizens…

[Talking at same time]

Father Sirico: And we could say the same about any nation. Or is it because the American experiment is so unique?

Rabbi Lapin: When has any nation said, yep, we're losing but you guys are fighting a just war so we--we accept this.

Father Sirico: I think the reason that America is worth defending is because it's based on principles of law and not might.

Rabbi Lapin: That's true and those laws have to do with the relationships between the United States government and the citizens and also the relationship to--to enemies.

Peter Robinson: Okay. New question although it--it--it--this is hypothetical maybe not hypothetical, certainly it isn't far-fetched. Let us assume that we never discovered information that ties Saddam Hussein directly to the terrorist attacks of September 11th but we get information which is credible, perhaps not beyond a reasonable doubt but credible, that he has his hands on or will soon have his hands on nuclear weapons, biological weapons, chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction. Now, everybody around the table, well Scott, uh, McLennan here didn't make a fire-breathing statement but the two of you came close, said that--that, uh, war can become an obligation, a positive duty. If we know that Saddam Hussein has his hands on weapons of mass destruction, does it become out duty to go after him and take out? Reverend?

Rev. McLennan: It depends on how we do it. Yes, I would like to see those weapons of mass destruction destroyed and that's why the precision targeting capability that we have, the kind of intelligence that we should--we should make sure we have the understanding of international banking and how money moves and so on.

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Rev. McLennan: We need to--we need to--but we--we shouldn't go after the country as a whole.

Rabbi Lapin: Reverend, are you saying that the minute that a--an American puts on a uniform, he's in a different category? He now sort of becomes an official paid gladiator. Everybody else is immune to the impact of war but he now is a legitimate target of the enemy whereas you and I are not. Is that--is that what we're saying?

Rev. McLennan: You can turn it the other way around and say, infants, uh, are--are soldiers just because they happen to have been born yesterday and they're--they're lying in the cradle somewhere and…

Rabbi Lapin: And that's why our obligation to win is so absolutely crucial because to defend infants, we must depend on our strength not on the adherence of the enemy to the Geneva Conventions is how I see it.

Rev. McLennan: But are you--are you saying we should abandon the Geneva Conventions?

Rabbi Lapin: Well…

Rev. McLennan: Abandon international law, abandon the civilized standard…

Rabbi Lapin: Let me put it this way. If you could…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Get in the middle. You're not just…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Notice who's being the pacifist here. He's just letting this one take place.

Rabbi Lapin: If you could save five hundred American lives by torturing one of the, uh, Islamic prisoners currently in custody, would you personally be willing to wield the pliers?

Rev. McLennan: No.

Rabbi Lapin: See I would, absolutely.

Father Sirico: Oh and--and the problem with that is that you don't know that you can really do it because that's precisely…

[Talking at same time]

Rabbi Lapin: Hypothetical.

Father Sirico: But you don't know it. But you don't know it. You see, if we reduce ourselves to this level of barbarism then what is it we're defending?

Peter Robinson: Last, the role of the clergy themselves.

Title: Praying for Victory?

Peter Robinson: Since September 11th, we've heard a lot the gen--I think it would be fair to characterize the general tenor of comments from the clergy as a kind of admission that war is a necessary evil. This is regrettable, it's sad, it is an evil but it is a necessary evil. There is however, when it comes to questions of public morale, a problem. And that is this, you cannot ask men and women in uniform to risk their lives or people here at home to engage in a protracted, difficult, uncertain conflict by saying that you are now engaged in a necessary evil or a sad or regrettable conflict. There needs to be some sense of a trumpet sounding here. So my question is this, isn't it the--the appropriate, indeed the moral message for clergy to be stating from the pulpits and in synagogues of that our cause is just and that waging this war is no just not to be regretted but that this war is actually to be embraced. Reverend?

Rev. McLennan: No.

Peter Robinson: No. How come?

Rev. McLennan: Well because we have a--an obligation, I think, as clergy to present it, uh, as we see the biblical or Koranic or whatever tradition we're in as we see it. We have an obligation to uphold the kinds of standards we've been talking about in terms of just war all along here. Um, we can't simply have a jingoistic, uh, approach.

Peter Robinson: Father? The--one of the biggest churches or so far as I know the--the most prominent Catholic church in the financial end of Manhattan, just a couple blocks from the World Trade Center, it's Our Lady of Victory…

Father Sirico: Yes.

Peter Robinson: Would it not be, let's say refreshing if not indeed useful if Catholic clergy instead of praying for a rapid end for this conflict…

Father Sirico: To pray for victory.

Peter Robinson: To pray for victory.

Father Sirico: Oh yes. And to invite St. Michael the archangel and all of that. Yes, but that's not to say that--that, uh, a good action needs to be engaged in cannot also be regrettable. If you have to have your wisdom teeth pulled, you need to do that but it's regrettable.

Peter Robinson: Yeah but don't you grant this problem of--of--I mean, if you were a military chaplain, how could you--what I'm looking for here is a kind of tone--here--here's one where…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: If you're in a war, you've got to back these people.

[Talking at same time]

Rabbi Lapin: America has been spoiled. We Americans have never known what it is to be truly invaded. And with respect to the Reverend whom I've--I've come to enjoy, um, I bet sir that if God forbid, under the darkest scenario, America was invaded and vicious, cruel, conscienceless, killing barbarians were three blocks away from your home on the Stanford campus, I bet you'd be out there cheering on our boys just as aggressively as you possibly could with no reservations whatsoever. And it's only the luxuries we enjoy here that allow this kind of unrealistic detachment…

Peter Robinson: He's--he's accusing you of indulging in luxury.

Rev. McLennan: Well I--I--I simply don't think it's true. I mean, I enjoy the--the exchange here.

Peter Robinson: Last--last question. Last question. It has to be the last question because it's television. As I've said, there's (?)--I think the general tenor among clergy is nervousness, hesitation and so forth. And in a parish not far from the place where we are shooting this show, a priest refused to permit his people to sing America the Beautiful because he did not want to associate the church with the American war aims.

Father Sirico: There is a danger and there is historically a danger and this is probably the--the core problem with some of the more extreme elements of Islam, of conflating religion in the state. And I understand that concern but to be patriotic, to have a sense of national, uh, justification in this effort is fully appropriate and I think, uh, not as part of the liturgy but in the context either before or after…

Peter Robinson: Right.

Father Sirico: …the service. Yes.

Peter Robinson: Rabbi Lapin, Father Sirico, Reverend McLennan, thank you very much.

Rabbi Lapin: Thanks Peter.

Peter Robinson: And for Uncommon Knowledge, I'm Peter Robinson. Thank you for joining us.