Francis wants to avoid war

Francis wants to avoid war September 10, 2014

Pope Francis says war is senseless slaughter, can always be avoided

The pope’s message was presented Sept. 7 to people taking part in the International Meeting of People and Religions, organized by the Rome-based lay Community of Sant’Egidio and hosted by the Diocese of Antwerp, Belgium.

So much for “Pope calls for US to Launch Iraq War III” narrative of last couple of weeks. Also, there’s this:

Abtahi (Ali Abtahi Sayyed Mohammad, a former vice president of Iran and current president of Iran’s Institute for Interreligious Dialogue) said the radical religious groups, al-Qaida and fighters for the Islamic State, developed because of support from the West, “especially from the United States,” in order to carry out Western interests.

“Those who blew up the Twin Towers were the ones America armed to fight against communism” spreading from the Soviet Union, he said, “and those who are killing Muslims and Yezidi in Iraq are those who received financial support in Syria” to counter the regime there.

Make no mistake, I think ISIS obviously must be stopped. So does Francis. So does the Iraqi Church pleading for help from these monsters. How he imagines that can be done without war, I don’t know (and I don’t really expect the Pope to be leading a KILL KILL KILL cheer squad.)

Personally, I think we need to approach this a good deal more humility than we have in the past with our Machiavellian belief that we can juggle nations and bring about the kingdom of heaven on earth through democratic capitalism administered by hot lead and cold steel. We are not the saviors of mankind, Jesus has that job. Nor are we the geopolitical masters of the earth. ISIS will have to be destroyed by locals and with coalition of interested nations with the US in a supporting position. This seems to be what is emerging as the US leadership, thank God, refuses to listen to fools, war criminals, and false prophets like Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, and Lindsey Graham who created this catastrophe and are now back on the air posing as the only experts who can save us. In the words of the architect of this disaster:

Iraq and Syria are not our 51st and 52nd states. They are sovereign nations. And Iraq, at any rate, approves of the current approach. It is their opinion and not Bill Kristol’s that matters since this is their fight.

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  • KM

    Said Pope Francis on August 21st when returning from Korea:

    “We should be “frightened at the level of cruelty that has become the norm…“

    “Today children do not count….today a bomb is sent and it kills the innocent, the guilty, children, women – they kill everybody. No! We must stop and think a little about the level of cruelty at which we have arrived. This should frighten us.”

    “[The Pope] added that strong measures were “justified” – so long as these were not the acts of only one country. “In those cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor,” he said.

    ““I underscore the verb ‘stop’,” [said Pope Francis]. “I don’t say ‘to bomb’ or to ‘make war’, but to ‘stop’.””

  • D.T. McCameron

    “They are sovereign nations”

    ISIS doesn’t seem to think so. Or, at least, care very much at all.

    (Pope Francis) “Another way can always be found: the way of dialogue, encounter and the sincere search for truth”

    I…I think the Holy Father might be overestimating people, and our love of truth.

    God bless him for it.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      “They are sovereign nations”
      ISIS doesn’t seem to think so. Or, at least, care very much at all.

      Neither do most of the people in the region. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine are creatures of the French and British, set up during the confusion of partitioning the Turkish Empire after WW1. To them, they are all Shamsi.

      Libya was created by the Italians. Tripolitania was usually part of the Tunisian province and Cyrenaica was usually attached to Egypt. But when the French took the former and the British foreclosed on the latter, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were left over and the Italians put them together.

      None of the various strongmen were willing to fight over this, preferring the big frog/small pond model. But starting with the Shah and continuing to the present effort to out Assad, we have managed to replace nasty authoritarians with nasty democracies. Only Tunisia seems to have pulled it off; probably because only Tunisia has a proportionately large middle class. We should have encouraged republics rather than democracies; but then we haven’t had much practice with republics here at home lately.

      • chezami

        Our foreign policy is not set by ISIS though. So we live by the treaties we’ve made with the local governments. Ultimately, it’s the Muslim world that’s going to have to confront ISIS. We can’t fix this problem internal to Islam.

        • Joseph

          What I’ve been saying all along.

        • Feeling safe in opening your front door to a certain extent depends on westphalian assumptions holding, in that nobody from ISIS is realistically going to be on your stoop with a pistol to shoot you in the face.

          Ultimately, that’s the national security interest that the US has, that we want to maintain the sense of safety in our internal space that we’re not dependent on confusing pre-westphalian style overlapping jurisdiction politics and our internal space *is* largely safe for the vast majority of people.

          Challenges to westphalianism are very serious, even when they’re done by people who are ultimately unable to carry out systemic threats. The next guys are likely to be more competent.

  • In November, we’ll see which viewpoint wins out. And in January, if the Caliph’s viewpoint wins out, we’ll be having another conclave.

    If Pope Francis wins out, we may be witnessing a modern retelling of St. Francis visiting Saladin…

  • Marthe Lépine

    “They are sovereign nations” IMHO this is the wisest way to look at the current situation. Undertaking to “correct” past wrongs, such as trying to return to Pre-WWI patterns, or other, would certainly create even more strife. It might not be a bad idea for the long term, but it should be done by the actual people (and peoples) concerned, in their own way. Of course, if they request advice or help, they should receive it, but not in some authoritarian way. As a foreigner to the US, I often perceive the US attitude as “WE know best”, which is rarely the most useful.

    • The bundle of policies that are wrapped up in the modern political term sovereignty is ultimately what is at stake. It is what permits us to have a relatively clean separation between domestic policy and foreign policy and reap the benefits of a well protected internal space subject only to laws under which the people both understand and have assented to.

      That is one of the major targets that both Al Queda and IS are aiming for because that arrangement disproportionately advantages the West and interferes with their vision of a worldwide caliphate.

      The westphalian system does not work with major military players who do not subscribe to it. It’s something of an existential problem.

  • Elmwood

    we may live occasionally at peace with certain flavors of islam, but history more or less proves islam to be an old enemy of the church.

  • Joseph

    So, it wasn’t a conspiracy theory. In speaking about ‘ISIL’, the POTUS stated that there will be action carried out in Syria… after making his feelings on Assad known. ISIL has served it’s purpose to the United States in many more ways than just this one.
    The US funded, equipped, and supported what has become ISIL (which is really just a rebrand of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood). They stood by idly while ‘ISIL’ wiped out Christians and other religious minorities in the Muslim lands they inhabited. Only when the time was right, one year after Putin exposed the US for supporting terrorists to remove the soft dictators in the Middle East and the Malaysian airliner that was shot down by the Ukrainians (also supported by the US) as a means of discrediting Russia, has the US finally responded to the terror. The catalyst being two American reporters who had a soft spot for the ‘rebels’ who inevitably sold them to the terrorist groups the US was supporting having their heads removed at the hands of the very group the US created for their own means.
    It’s disgusting that the world is repeating the POTUS’ speech on air as if it is honest and truthful. The government he represents has no concern with the people their pet project has destroyed and oppressed, make no mistake. This is all about ‘completing the puzzle’ and removing Assad, leaving a vacuum where more Christian slaughter can continue without ceasing.

  • Imagine a kurd in the US whose uncle is a colonel equivalent in the peshmerga. He buys ammunition in large lots to send to uncle because they’re running low. The FBI gets a ping off this from an intelligence source (let’s even stipulate it’s a source that doesn’t violate the US Constitution so we avoid that conversational snake pit).

    Here is the question we cannot really avoid. Does the US kurd get arrested? Why or why not?

    Under conventional westphalian policy and the current law of the land, he gets arrested, just like cuban exiles have gotten arrested for that sort of thing for decades.