Just who is ignoring facts?

Just who is ignoring facts? September 24, 2008

Joel Legget over at Southern Appeal accuses me of “talking out my a**” when I insist that John McCain’s enthusiasm for war is incompatible with Catholic teaching:

I Challenge Mr. Iafrate to set out in detail A) what McCain’s views are on war and B) how they are inconsistent with just war theory. I sincerely doubt he can do it. In short, he is talking out of his A$$

Once again we see another example of sloppy (malicious?) thinking. Without any evidence to support his outrageous claims Mr. Iafrate claims that Palin is enthusiastic about war and that McCain’s foreign policy will UNDOUBTEDLY lead to more war. Either Mr. Iafrate has been given the gift of divine sight such that he can claim there is no doubt that McCain will embroil us in another war or, (more likely) he is talking out of his A$$.

Rather than talking “out my a**,” let me talk straight from facts and from Catholic tradition.

This is not only a matter of predicting what McCain might do in the future, but what he has already done. Let us start with the obvious: McCain was one of the main architects and is a continued supporter of the war in Iraq and the War on Terror, wars which McCain was in favor of long before an excuse emerged which would enable them to sell the war to the American people. He was an active participant in the lies necessary to “sell” Iraq. Neither the Iraq War or the War on Terror meet just war criteria, as articulated time and time again by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

But this is no matter of McCain making a “mistake” in supporting the War in Iraq, nor is it a matter of McCain making a “prudential judgment” which contradicts the teaching of the Church, both of which might theoretically be something a Catholic might overlook when deciding whom to vote for. No, the matter is much deeper, and goes to the roots of McCain’s approach to foreign policy as a whole and his vision for what can only be called U.S. empire. McCain worked in cooperation with the Project for a New American Century in the late 1990’s pushing for “regime change” in Iraq, long before 9/11, as one small part of an overall vision of “extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.” Readers who are not familiar with the PNAC are encouraged to read up on it. Start with “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century” (PDF) from September 2000. This document and the overall work of the PNAC directly influenced the National Security Strategy of the United States and provided the blueprint for ongoing wars of aggression for global domination that McCain promotes. This is no conspiracy theory: read the PNAC and NSS documents yourself. They outline the real goals behind the War on Terror and Iraq in plain black and white letters. The excuses “Bush botched the war” or “it was based on the faulty evidence we had at the time” do not stand up to these important documents which continue to be ignored by most commentators. As much as he insists that he “hates war” (and as much as foolish, ignorant Catholics believe him), McCain’s very philosophy on foreign policy is driven by a vision of global dominance and war as a means to secure it. His stance on war is absolutely incompatible with Catholic teaching.

In light of these documents which express McCain’s approach to foreign policy, let’s say it straight: Certainly, in Catholic teaching prudential judgments made regarding particular wars are debatable. Often there are no clear answers. But this does not make all possible viewpoints acceptable. Some approaches to war are simply out of bounds for Catholics. “Regime change” is not an acceptable reason to start a war according to Catholic teaching. Global dominance with war as a means to secure it is, for Catholic Christians, unacceptable and unsupportable. Wars started in the interests of U.S. interests and prosperity are demonic. McCain’s views on war directly contradict Catholic just war tradition and bear no relationship to it, save for one of the clearest demonstrations of what precisely an unjust war is. Just war tradition does not include the possibility of the war-centered foreign policy that McCain represents. McCain’s stance regarding Iran shows that he has no plans to change his foreign policy of instrumental and perpetual war.

If anyone is “talking out his a**,” it’s those who, like Joel, want to downplay McCain’s blatant disregard for human life through a clear-as-day war-driven foreign policy whose aim is global dominance. He says he “hates war,” but his record shows something else. Open your eyes and read the documents that show where the man is coming from. This is no misstep in making prudential judgments. It is the very animating spirit of the Culture of Death. War is McCain’s very lifeblood. War is the foundation of his personal history, and it will likely be our future should he be elevated to the White House.

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