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The Land letter was a letter sent to U.S. President George W. Bush by five evangelical Christian leaders on October 3, 2002, outlining their support for a just war pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. As its foundation for support, the letter refers to the "criteria of just war theory as developed by Christian theologians in the late fourth and early fifth centuries A.D." The letter was written by Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was co-signed by:
The letter asserted that a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq met the criteria of traditional 'just war' theory because:
- such an action would be defensive
- the intent is found to be just and noble. The United States does not intend to 'destroy, conquer, or exploit Iraq'
- it is a last resort because Saddam Hussein had a record of attacking his neighbors, of the 'headlong pursuit and development of biochemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction' and their use against his own people, and harboring al-Qaeda terrorists
- it is authorized by a legitimate authority, namely the United States
- it has limited goals
- it has reasonable expectation of success
- non-combatant immunity would be observed
- it meets the criteria of proportionality—the human cost on both sides would be justified by the intended outcome
- ^ a b Stephen R. Rock (2011). Faith and Foreign Policy: The Views and Influence of U.S. Christians and Christian Organizations. Continuum. ISBN 9781441166845.