Readers Write: War fueled by defense lobby; Attack on Iran is legal; Catholics can't change faith for individual wishes
Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of April 30, 2012: The 'appetite for war' is fueled by the arms lobby's appetite for profit; there's a key legal difference between a 'preemptive' and a 'preventive' attack on Iran; and Catholics don't force others to follow their beliefs, they simply demand First Amendment protections.
Arms lobby's appetite for profit
In "Call of duty: the rising toll" (April 2), US Naval Capt. Ronald Smith states that the only way to prevent wartime tragedies is to reduce our "appetite for war." The appetite for war will diminish when the appetite for huge expenditure on combat equipment is eradicated.
Political leaders in Europe and the United States must not be swayed by the lobbying of arms industry executives, who perceive a reduction in military spending as a threat to their profit margins. Cuts in defense budgets will allow revenue to be channeled into more constructive areas and contribute to a more balanced distribution of resources.
Preemptive vs. preventive attacks
L. Michael Hager's April 9 commentary ("A preemptive attack on Iran would violate law") confuses two terms: "preemptive" and "preventive" strikes on foreign countries. Misusing them blurs a key distinction in international law: Preemptive attacks are legal under international law, not preventive attacks.
A preemptive attack occurs when a country in immediate danger of being attacked, attacks first. If enemy troops are amassing on the border with a high likelihood of invading, the threatened country has the legal right to strike first.
Preventive attacks, on the other hand, are illegal. A preventive attack occurs when a country that fears it may be attacked in the future attacks first to prevent an attack that may occur years later. Had Mr. Hager used "preventive" instead of "preemptive," his argument would have been clearer.
Religious freedom vs. individual choice
Regarding the April 2 cover story, "The faith factor": As Roman Catholics we do not force anyone to subscribe to our beliefs; all we ask for is respect for our First Amendment-protected right to practice our faith as we see fit.
There are many public institutions available to provide contraception and abortion. Accessing those is an individual's free choice. Just do not expect the Catholic Church to adjust its faith and morals to accommodate that individual's wishes.