And yet neither JPII, nor Benedict, nor the world’s bishops ever admitted how wrong they were

And now *this* Pope seem even less inclined to slaughter thousands of innocents in wars for DemocracyWhiskeySexy and concentrate more wealth and power in the hands of our Ruling Class as they trample the weak.  What is *wrong* with him?

  • HokiePundit

    At least at its outset, the Iraq War fit the requirements for a Just War. As far as I can tell, it maintained that (with limited, non-sanctioned exceptions such as Abu Ghraib) throughout. It may (or may not) have been unwise, either in its inception or its execution, but it wasn’t morally wrong.

    • Dan C

      This war had no conditions for a Just War. It was a war of choice, on grounds of cooked evidence and decsit, the UN expert and inspector was routinely and shamelessly derided on conservative blogs and Catholic conservative blogs (unrepentently)- he turned out correct, the country who wisely avoided war and protested against it (France) received enormous criticism, and it seems that Abu Ghraib was perhaps closer to the routine than not.

      Both Cardinal Ratzinger, and the Pope at the time noted this. Professional neo-con, hired to seduce Catholics to thik tank conservativism, Michael Novak, had his arguments rejected by the Vatican when seeking its support. The USCCB rejected the moral underpinnings of this war.

      The Church criticism was so stinging and so true that atbthe time, First Things and George Weigel cooked up a story about a political charism that bishops and cardinals and popes didn’t have, so, basically, they should just “shut up” on such matters.

      And the usual suspects, Jonah House, Plowshares activists, Pax Christ, the Catholic Worker, and the Catholic Peace Fellowship all denounced the war, many seeking non-violent civil disobedience as a way to engage the matter.

      There were plenty of individuals who showed the way away from violence and death and the horrid consequence of war. The arguments against the war were clear, prescient, and based both in reality and moral theory. The hippies were proved right and they were prescient also. The war was obviously unjust and was named so by the pope and the future pope.

      • Noah D

        the UN expert and inspector was routinely and shamelessly derided on conservative blogs and Catholic conservative blogs (unrepentently)- he turned out correct

        Scott Ritter?

        • Dustin

          Hans Blix, I think.

        • Dan C

          Hans Blix. And his “foreign-ness” European origin was part of the way to make him out to be weak. Such was the discussion.

      • Wolfwood

        No conditions? None at all?

        Just Cause: Grave Public Evil? Check.
        Comparative Justice: Are you saying the US was at fault?
        Competent Authority: The US is a democracy, and Bush and Congress were duly elected.
        Right Intention: Enforcing an armistice and sanctions meets this description. If we were there for the oil, we did a pretty awful job of ensuring we got it at a good price.
        Probability of Success: The removal of Saddam Hussein was not difficult, nor was it expected to be.
        Last Resort: What other options were there? We tried sanctions, which were flouted. We offered to pay Hussein to leave, which he didn’t. Short of removing the regime through military force, please give (realistic) suggestions.
        Proportionality: Just because we didn’t anticipate the rise of the militias doesn’t mean that we didn’t calculate that this would be proportional. Again, we may have miscalculated, but it’s clear by our actions that we didn’t plan for the country to descend into madness. Germany and Japan didn’t do that, and Iraq had a much bigger cultural history to draw on that either of those.

        • Dan C

          I am saying that not just that the US was at fault, that those of us eager to promote the war and that those who gave special theological support for it hold personal responsibility. I am not one who thinks that collective responsibility denies my personal responsibility.

          The war failed just war theory. The conditions were not present. Nor was it a last resort.

          In terms of proportionality, the rise of internecine violence was acknowledged as likely during the first Iraq War in the 1990′s. This was a clear, predicted possibility.

          Yes, not only am I saying the US was at fault, I am saying individuals who promoted the war are gravely at fault. Additionally, at this distant time point, I am also noting that willful ignorance accompanies most Catholic support of the just-ness of this intervention at this time point.

        • Dan C

          Preventative War, as this was rightly called, is not in the catechism. As one dismissed theologian noted.

        • jacobus

          “Last Resort: What other options were there? We tried sanctions, which were flouted. We offered to pay Hussein to leave, which he didn’t. Short of removing the regime through military force, please give (realistic) suggestions.”

          Uh…do nothing? Since Iraq wasn’t a threat to the United States…. We would have saved ourselves, and the Iraqis, a lot of wasted blood, money, and effort.

        • Mark Shea

          Wow. What a farrago of Bourbon rationalization for a manifestly unjust war. It’s guys like you who will make certain the GOP remain in the wilderness for years and years to come. Insane.

        • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com Robert King

          “Grave public evil”? So military action is justified to effect regime change in Hollywood? Vegas? Chicago? D.C.? Any abortion clinic anywhere?

          “Competent Authority” What authority does the U.S.A. have over Iraq? What gives the U.S. government the authority to invade a sovereign nation to resolve the “grave public evil” there?

        • “joe”

          “Just Cause: Grave Public Evil? Check.”
          there are lots of these, and greater ones than the regime of the iraqi baath party. by what rubric does one decide which ones to attack?

          “Comparative Justice: Are you saying the US was at fault?”
          for invading iraq? yes, of course. it was a choice. but you must add the role of the UN. do you consider them to be comparatively just?

          “Competent Authority: The US is a democracy, and Bush and Congress were duly elected.”
          so as long as a country is a democracy, it has the right to invade any country anywhere in the world that isn’t? are you serious?

          “Right Intention: Enforcing an armistice and sanctions meets this description. If we were there for the oil, we did a pretty awful job of ensuring we got it at a good price.”
          enforcing whose armistice, and by what authority to do so?
          and btw, are you really sure that that was the intention?

          “Probability of Success: The removal of Saddam Hussein was not difficult, nor was it expected to be.”
          you just said that the reason for the invasion was “Enforcing an armistice and sanctions meets this description”. now you’re talking about “The removal of Saddam Hussein”. but it was the government, not the individual (who eluded execution for three years iirc). and would you call the aftermath a “success’? iran now has more direct influence than ever before in the affairs of the iraqi state.

          “Last Resort: What other options were there? We tried sanctions, which were flouted. We offered to pay Hussein to leave, which he didn’t. Short of removing the regime through military force, please give (realistic) suggestions.”
          “we” had no right to set any of those terms on a sovereign nation.

          “Proportionality: Just because we didn’t anticipate the rise of the militias doesn’t mean that we didn’t calculate that this would be proportional. Again, we may have miscalculated, but it’s clear by our actions that we didn’t plan for the country to descend into madness. Germany and Japan didn’t do that, and Iraq had a much bigger cultural history to draw on that either of those.”
          i don’t see what ‘cultural history’ has to do with any of this, but you do know the political history of the area? that it’s a fabrication of british imperial administrative interests, that there are many and competing confessional and ethnic groups in the area?

          really, we’re back in the last decade with posts like Wolfwoods, looking for any reason not to take full responsibility. the basic message here is “i have a superior ideology and that gives me the right to control you.” not a good lesson for the youth of america.

      • Matt S

        The idea of the charism of political leaders wasn’t cooked up, it was based on the Catechism. After a brief description of the just-war criteria, it says “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” While the choice of the word “charism” is unfortunate because it seems to suggest something like divine inspiration, the point Weigel was trying to make is that legitimate authority requires a certain level of deference, both of its very nature as authority and because only those who make the decisions are fully responsible for the consequences. Of course everyone has the right to criticize the authorities’ decisions, and I think it is false to say that Weigel was suggesting otherwise, since I am sure he has plenty of criticisms of the decisions our government authorities have made. His point is that the judgment of an authority is by its nature different from that of a commentator.

        • Mark Shea

          True. But it does not mean “When the President orders it, it can’t be wrong.” Speaking of deference to due authority, how about the authority of two Popes and all the bishops in the world saying, “Don’t go to war with Iraq”? What is that? Chopped liver? Or doe we have no king but Caesar?

        • Dan C

          Mr. Shea is correct. Your argument is about the charism of the political class. What I am criticizing is that Neuhaus and Weigel attempted to indicate that their was both a level of infallibility granted the political class’s role in this decision and that bishops and priests and cardinals and popes have no role or “charism” in making moral pronouncements on war.

    • Mark Shea

      “Preventive war is not in the Catechism” – Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The war was unjust: http://www.mark-shea.com/jwd.html

  • Seamus

    If Iraq was a just war, then it would be just (and would make a lot more sense from a geopolitical viewpoint) to invade Cuba to throw out the Castro brothers. Anyone up for that?

    • Wolfwood

      Why’s that? Are they currently sponsoring terrorism, acting in violation of an armistice and international sanctions, or threatening to use WMDs on someone? Iraq was doing all of those things; Cuba may have done some of them before, but they don’t seem to be doing them now.

      • Dan C

        Iraq was an unjust war. Catholics eagerly promoted an unjust war.

        • HokiePundit

          Keep repeating that. Just a few more repetitions and your ipse dixit assertion is sure to be convincing.

          • Dan C

            Preventative war is not in the catechism. When that dismissed theologian made that declaration, he said all there was to really say about Just War Theory’s application to the Iraq War. But many many other words have been spent on this instead and can be found.

            I am not doing extra leg work for a long-defined declaration of the injustice of the Iraq War. One can do their own internet search. There are plenty of arguments that are valid from BEFORE the beginning of the war.

            As anyone who has read this blog or others over the years could have picked up, there are substantial serious arguments that are voluminous as to the problems with the just-ness of the Iraq War. Mr. Shea made note of one such argument above.

            • Matt S

              Preventive war is not in the catechism because the catechism’s statement on war is not meant as an exhaustive summary of the issue. If you look at the more comprehensive Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church it says this:

              “Therefore, engaging in a preventive war without clear proof that an attack is imminent cannot fail to raise serious moral and juridical questions. International legitimacy for the use of armed force, on the basis of rigorous assessment and with well-founded motivations, can only be given by the decision of a competent body that identifies specific situations as threats to peace and authorizes an intrusion into the sphere of autonomy usually reserved to a State.” (#501)

              In contrast, paragraph #500 says that “A war of aggression is intrinsicially immoral.” They could have said the same thing about preventive war but chose not to, instead only saying that it raises questions. In fact the rest of the quotation suggests that preventive war can be justified if it has UN approval.

              Catholic teaching recognizes the new situation raised by the nexus of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, that it might in fact be immoral to wait until an attack is imminent, since the attack might be done in secret and lead to catastrophic loss of life. The question is how to regulate this preventive use of violence, and the question raised by Iraq was what to do when the UN system itself had been corrupted by the state in question.

              • Mark Shea

                Your argument that *because* preventive war is not in the catechism, *therefore* it is licit is utter and complete crap. Here’s why.

                • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                  Mostly it’s crap because the Iraq war is a continuation of an existing war launched to reverse an illegal invasion of Kuwait and a threatened invasion of Saudi Arabia. Since we’re about to get into this all over again with Korea (who has loudly announced, again, that it’s withdrawing from the cease fire of 1953), it really would be useful to go over what the just war process is when there’s a long-term cease fire that has deteriorated and is being regularly violated. I suspect that it’s just jus in bello and not jus ad bellum which had been already established at the beginning of the conflict but I haven’t seen anything authoritative either way.

                  I’d go to my bishop with this but he just thinks that just war itself is a load of garbage (I have the most anti-war bishop in the US).

                  • Timbot2000

                    John Michael Botean of the Romanians? He used to be my bishop.

    • DTMcCameron

      I don’t think that necessarily follows, but whatever the case, the time for that, had there ever been one, would have been when people we’re being lined up against a wall and shot.

  • http://vox-nova.com/author/juliahildegard/ Julia Smucker

    One angle on the Iraq war that hasn’t been considered much, if at all, is its effect on Iraq’s (very ancient) Christian minority. I’ve recently been hearing about the situation there from an Iraqi priest, who has told me that since the US invasion, the persecution of Christians has intensified because they are being associated with the foreign occupation, despite their ancient roots.

    Often we American Christians need to be reminded that the Church is bigger than us. We should be considering the lives of our brothers and sisters ahead of any nationalistic interests.


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