Today is the commemoration of the Bombing of Darwin.
On the 19th of February, 1942, the first and largest air raid on Darwin took place. This was the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia that we know of.
On that day 242 Japanese aircraft, in two separate raids, attacked Darwin. Many people died in that attack.
Glorifying war is never good.
However, the sacrifices that people have suffered as a result of war, need to be gratefully acknowledged.
Those who gave their lives in the defence of freedom for their fellow country men and women need to be thanked and remembered.
I grew up with ruins of World War II still around even though I was born seven years after the war had ended. I remember so many stories that my parents told me, living as young adults and teenagers in one of the most heavily bombed areas during World War II in Malta.
What is a just war?
So many wars have been fought because of economic advantage. So many powerful leaders waged war for the sake of power.
The just war theory takes into account a number of factors:
Taking human life or injury is a serious matter.
States have a duty to protect their citizens and defend justice.
Defending important moral values sometimes requires a willingness to use force. A war is only a just war if it is both justified and carried out in the right way. Some wars fought for noble causes have been rendered unjust because of the way in which they were fought.
As Christians we need to keep reflecting on violence and war. There are no easy answers.
The Church says ‘just wars’ are allowed as long as certain conditions are met. Those conditions include ensuring that all other peaceful means have been exhausted, and that force is appropriate, and will not lead to worse violence.
Modern warfare with its huge destructive powers, have raised serious questions as to when a just war can truly take place.
We need to keep praying and reflecting.