Regular readers of ContraCelsum will know that we are both strongly anti-war, and strongly war, at the same time. We believe that to maintain the capability to make war--and under certain conditions actually go to war--is one of the fundamental duties of the state. A state is denying its responsibilities if it fails to do so.
The Christian faith has long maintained the doctrine of "just war". Some have objected to the concept being artificial, since to have a "just" war implies that some body actually would sit over the nation-state to determine whether its warring was just or not. Others, running with the objection, have argued that the doctrine of just war necessitates a global body, like the United Nations, sitting in judgment upon the war-making of nations to assess whether each nation respectively is acting justly. The International Court of Justice in the Hague has been constituted partly in the attempt to ensure that all wars are justified; where they fail to comply, legal and criminal consequences for national and military leaders can follow.
When Augustine mooted the doctrine of a "just war", however, he was not so much implying nor requiring some "uber" state to sit in judgement upon nations.
Rather, his focus was upon wars were were holy, righteous, and good--that is, justified in the sight of Almighty God. Augustine's doctrine was grounded in and derived from Scripture. In summary, the just war concept referred to
one's moral obligation to provide for the defense of others, such as the weak, infants, children, etc.. Augustine argued that Christian rulers had such an obligation to make peace for the protection of his subjects even if the only way to eliminate such a threat was through force of arms. The thirteenth-century theologian St. Thomas Aquinas later adopted Augustine's writings on Just War for his development of the concept in which he defined three necessary conditions for war including, legitimate authority, just cause, and right intention. (Crusades-Encyclopedia)The state has an obligation to protect and defend its citizens by force of arms if necessary. Internally, the just state these days maintains professional police forces to defend citizens from criminals who would wage war upon them. The defence necessarily entails use of weapons and summary killing of aggressors when the threat demands them. Externally, states have a duty to maintain military capability to protect its citizens and nation from armed attack by pirates, brigands, or other nation states. Defensive war is just war. Non-defensive wars are wicked and murderous. It's important to get the distinction clear and for nations to act accordingly.
In this light it would appear that the state of Israel has a duty eventually to go to war against Iran (whatever form that might take). The President of Iran has repeatedly called for the destruction and annihilation of Israel. Such behaviour crosses the line, as they say. Here is a report of his latest bellicosity:
In a speech published on his website Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the ultimate goal of world forces must be the annihilation of Israel. Speaking to ambassadors from Islamic countries ahead of 'Qods Day' ('Jerusalem Day'), an annual Iranian anti-Zionist event established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini and which falls this year on August 17, Ahmadinejad said that a "horrible Zionist current" had been managing world affairs for "about 400 years.". . .We do not mean to imply that Israel is a holy nation, nor that, as a nation, it has any special significance in current world history. The nation state of Israel has nothing to do with a fulfilment of biblical prophecy or an unfolding of redemptive history--at least no more than Iceland does. But it does have a clear prima-facie just cause to go to war against Iran. The latter's development of nuclear capacity makes it a necessity.
Ahmadinejad added that "liberating Palestine" would solve all the world's problems, although he did not elaborate on exactly how that might work. “Qods Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems," he said.
He added: "Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.” The Iranian president said that Israel reinforced "the dominance of arrogant powers in the region and across the globe" and that Arab countries in particular - he cited Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Turkey - were affected by Israel's "plots."
Ahmadinejad, who has called the Holocaust a myth, has previously called for Israel's annihilation, in a 2005 speech in which he used a Persian phrase that translates literally as "wiped off the page of time."