‘The Absurdity of War’

I have had a subscription to the weekly English edition of L’Osservatore Romano ever since it began. It is a most valuable printed source: While many papal statements can now be found online at the Vatican Web site, having these at hand, in print, made the journal worthwhile.

 
Pope Benedict XVI, a man of prodigious intellectual enterprise, appears much less frequently in its pages these days than did his predecessors, also men of great capacities. (I preferred the earlier edition where I could regularly consult printed materials of the popes.) The current English edition is more like a newspaper, or a journal of opinion, where the editor and a host of other writers cover subjects more or less related to the Church.


 
Some of this commentary is all right, I suppose. But it is less useful than when each edition was mainly devoted to papal statements of various kinds. Benedict speaks less, though he has written more.
 
In any newspaper, we sometimes run across odd headlines. For example, the August 5 edition of L’Osservatore Romano carried the following headline: “Priest Who Served Without Distinction Killed in India.” The story is a tragic one: A Mangalore priest is found murdered by a roadside in southern India. What the headline meant to say, I suppose, was that here was a good priest who calmly served his people. But in English, “to serve without distinction” is not exactly a compliment.
 
Two items from the September 9 edition I found particularly perplexing. The pope was in Viterbo, “the City of Popes.” At the centerfold was the Holy Father’s brief “Angelus” reflection. The headlines say: “Memories of War Warn against Future Violence.” This is just after September 1, the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland. The text of the pope’s talk says nothing about war but rather speaks about the popes who were born in this area.
 
At the end, in only 40 column lines, the pope noted a congress beginning in Krakow. World War II was “one of the most terrible wars in history.” He acknowledged the Holocaust and other deaths. Talking to all sides, he hoped it is a warning not to “repeat” such conflict. He proposed a culture of love and solidarity: We are to foster “forgiveness and reconciliation against the violence, racism, totalitarianism and extremism that disfigure the image of the creator of humankind . . . .”
 
Nothing is found on whether the war resulting from this infamous Polish invasion was necessary. “Violence, racism, totalitarianism, and extremism” are abstractions. The headlines could have more logically read, “Memories of War Warn against Failure to Stop Unjust Invasions.”
 
The pope’s Wednesday audience of September 2 is also found in the same edition. The printed text of the audience is about St. Odo of Cluny (880-942). As far as I can tell, not a single word about war or violence is found in this discussion of St. Odo, who was concerned rather with “the fragility of the world.” He was devoted to the Eucharist. For “the immensity of vices widespread in society, the remedy he strongly recommended was that of a radical change of life, based on humility, austerity, detachment from ephemeral things and adherence to those that are eternal.” This is not war talk.
 
Above this exhortation on St. Odo, the L’Osservatore headline reads: “The Absurdity of War: Benedict Remembers the Tragedy of World War II During His General Audience Catechesis.” What is more, smack in the middle of the papal text on St. Odo, we find a reprint of Marc Chagall’s vivid 1964 painting called War. Something seems amiss. Odo of Cluny and Chagall speak to different issues.
 
Several writers note a kind of pacifism in certain Roman circles. I can hardly think that this pope, of all people, would judge that World War II was simply unnecessary. Rewriting history back into abstractions like “violence, racism, totalitarianism, and extremism” will never do.
 
Perhaps some sub-editor of the online text got mixed up with another address? Poor Odo of Cluny busied himself not with the “absurdity of war,” but with forming a new monastic system under his jurisdiction as the second Abbot of Cluny.
 
September 1, 1939, forces us to ask another question: Which was more “absurd,” finally — to fight that war or to capitulate by not lifting a finger to stop it? It strikes me that blaring headlines like “the Absurdity of War” are themselves silly, especially when used to introduce Abbot Odo of Cluny.
 
By identifying “war” with an abstraction that makes no distinction between invasion and defense, just or unjust, we do not make war “absurd.” We do, however, render ourselves unlikely to make the distinctions necessary to prevent everything from becoming unjust. War is not simply “absurd.” Not thinking about it surely is.

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.

By

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., taught political science at Georgetown University for many years. His recent books include The Mind That Is Catholic from Catholic University of America Press; Remembering Belloc from St. Augustine Press; and Reasonable Pleasures from Ignatius Press. His newest books are A Line Through the Human Heart: On Sinning and Being Forgiven (2016) and the forthcoming On the Principles of Taxing Beer and Other Brief Philosophical Essays (2017). His most recent book is Catholicism and Intelligence (Emmaus Road, 2017).

  • Rich

    I felt that the title of this piece is poorly stated.

    Perhaps it should have been something about the Vatican paper misusing headlines. Is there something here about a nefarious movement at the paper trying to subliminally change public opinion on war? The article didnt really get to the meat of this.

    It is only in the final paragraph of this piece that we really get to the title.

    Personally, I know there is a time when we must fight. Most often, however, we should try to avoid war. Most often, just my opinion, we dont HAVE to fight. Yes, sometimes, we certainly will.

    I dont know if war is absurd, I have not experienced it. To me, most of the reasons that people start them do seem absurd. Wanton killing surely is.

  • Londiniensis
  • Dr Pence

    I think there is a very dangerous pacifist ideology rife anoung European statesmen and Vatica diplomats of a common ilk. I wish that Pope Benedict were a more forceful voice against this tendency but I think it wishful thinking to enlist him in the cause of a more robust view of the duties of Christian nations and governments in the use of legitimate force. He is more a Bavarian of Empire diplomacy than a German nationalist amoung Christian nations. Most of his statements about the intercourse of nations seems more handwringing than astute. This from an incredible writer and thinker and our Holy Father. I believe the failure of Pope Benedict and much of the orthodox and faithful Catholic hierarchy to exercise correction toward a deeply corrupted priesthood is in some profound way also linked to the radical dicontinuity of the hierarchical emphasis on “capital punishment and war as life issues.” There is here a lesson to be learned from Alistair McIntyre’s After Virtue about the kind of personalities created by certain communal cultures. While our deep church culture is on a steady course with faithful Benedict—the disciplining of clergy and the pertinence of Vatican statements on war and relations amoung nations remains in an emasculated fog. Doctrine is orthodox but applications are suffering not from doctrinal errors but character deficits. The example Fr Schall points to exemplifies the tendency to utter ethereal pieties and pacific sentiments in the face of the real facts of a particular situation which may require either more realistic analysis or a respectful silence. The example is not the Pope’s doing so that lets Fr Sckhall take after a huge problem in the present church without aiming directly at our Holy Father.

  • Austin

    There are times when war is the only alternative, such as WWII. There are other times, when war is not the best option, such as Vietnam and Iraq. You only go to war when you have no other option. War is not Option A on a Powerpoint presentation.

    We should avoid war, only fight when we absoutely have to. We cannot be Pacifists however. The best alternative to to seek peace, but be armed and dangerous. If we can deter the bad guys, we have won without a fight.

    Finally, no more Texans in the White House: LBJ and Vietnam, Bush and Iraq. No more phony, balony, macho Texas bull scat.
    Both men were puffed up noncombatants, anxious to show how tough they are. No more phony tough guys please.

  • Katom

    L’Osservatore is thought of as “The Vatican” and it can be far from what the Holy Father actually is saying or thinking. It is time to cut it off from church support so that it is not thought of as really representative of the Vatican or especially the Holy Father. It is too hard to know. One can download all actual talks of Benedict xvi at vatican.va in English, and just print them. Also, many wonderful Catholic blogs cover his homilies and speeches, particularly whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com.

    War–another matter! and one needs to consider the just war theory and all the factors involved for and against each particular war–Afghanistan right now. Probably a Pope cannot know all factors, though the Catholic communities (if any) of the area involved can give him great insights.

  • Nick Palmer

    Austin, change the record, please. LBJ, however heinous a person, did not get us into Vietnam. St. Kenned the First did.

    Second, what does “Texan” have to do with anything? If one had said “Japanese” or “Muslim” there’d be cries of racism and religious intolerance (with you in the vanguard). I’m not Texan (Massachusetts-an, actually), but this is unnecessary and pointless. Perhaps some readers value your God-given ability to see into men’s souls. I’m not one of them.

    Finally, are you capable of uttering or writing more than a sentence without a swing at GWB? It’s tired. He’s moved on, you should, too.

  • Brian English

    Austin:

    If you had been President in early-2003, what would your next step have been instead of going to war?

    Saddam had violated 23 or 24 U.N. resolutions; he had fired on Allied aircraft enforcing the No-Fly-Zone; when he was not denying access to U.N. inspectors, he was clearly playing games with them. He certainly was not acting like a man who did not have WMDs.

    I know people like to talk about sanctions, but the only ones suffering from them were the people of Iraq, especially the children. Between coutries like Germany and Russia violating the sanctions and the U.N. “Oil for Food” travesty, Saddam’s palace building regimen was not slowed at all.

    I do not understand your objection about Vietnam. The U.S. and its South Vietnamese allies had the war thrust on them by the North Vietnamese communists and the Viet Cong.

    People can have legitimate disagreements over whether the U.S. had a sufficient national interest to commit its troops to the war, or whether the strategic approach to the war was fatally flawed, but I do not see how you could label it an unjust war.

    Look at the atrocities committed by the communists after they took over, including a ferocious persecution of the Church that has continued to this day, and explain to me how attempting to prevent them could be considered unjust.

  • Judy

    Also a long-time subscriber to L’O.R., I have been a bit upset not only by the slanted headlines (esp. the St. Odo one that could have been an honest mistake) but also by the new tendency to condense the Pope’s approach in this or that visit. A priest from another city has complained to me about this new editorializing. We can make our own summaries from reading the Pope’s words. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that such headlines are geared toward influencing busy, over-busy priests who often don’t have time to “read the whole thing.” For a few years now, my husband and I have been getting two gift subscriptions for priests, and if this editorializing tendency grows worse, we will reconsider…. On the other hand, some of the printed speeches by others have been most helpful– I’m rereading the Holy Father’s new encyclical in the light of Cardinal Bertone’s speech to the Italian Senate. Is there a way to get our calm questions and objections delivered to the offending editors? I’m 70, and my activist years are over! Thank you, Father Schall!

  • Dienekes

    This is what you get when you replace Scholasticism with sloppy, childish thinking. [smiley=tongue] The proof: cable tv.

  • Austin

    JFK [who was no saint] sent a few thousand advisors to Vietnam. Johnson sent hundreds of thousands of combat troops in 1965, two years after the death of JFK. Ike sent a few hundred advisors in the 1950’s to Vietnam, should we blame him? Vietnam was Johnson’s baby and it was a big mistake. 60,000 dead Americans 2 million dead Vietnamese [north and south]. Don’t tell me that it was a just war, because anyone with an IQ over 90 knows it was not. I have friends who died in Vietnam. Don’t tell me it was a good idea.

    Take a swing at GWB? Yes indeed! this wretched man got us into an unnecessary war with 4,000 American dead, thousands more maimed and tens of thousands of Iraqi dead for NOTHING. I cannot forgive him or move on? Move on? What a stupid statement and an insult to all the dead.

    My statement about Texans in the White House was meant to be funny.

  • Nick Palmer

    ’nuff said.

  • Administrator

    Let’s keep it civil, folks.

    Thanks.

  • Nick Palmer

    The death of a single soldier, sailor, or Marine is a tragedy. We should all pray for them, their families and their friends. Nevertheless, Austin, they are in the military of their own choosing. Even in 2004 the lion’s share of the military vote went to GWB. In 2008 to McCain. These brave men and women are adults, perhaps more so than most of us here at home, regardless of age. My guess is that some of them even approach your intellectual plane, and may even pick up your humor.

    It is an insult to these patriots to suggest that their free choice is somehow flawed. Any military out there in IC land?

    And, if we grant you your moral judgment, should we include those who voted in favor, like Senators Clinton and Kerry, among many others?

  • Nick Palmer

    I’ll sign off on this topic, as I just received today’s meditation from the Hazelden Foundation. It bears on the discussion:

    ” ‘Self importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it – what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.’
    –Carlos Castaneda

    Were we offended by someone yesterday? Do we harbor resentment for remarks, oversights, or unpleasant mannerisms? Do we feel tense or uneasy about how someone else has treated us? We can probably make a good case to justify our reactions. Perhaps we are in the right and they are in the wrong.

    Yet, even if we are justified, it doesn’t matter. We may be puffing ourselves up and wasting energy. When we are oversensitive, we take a self-righteous position which leads us far from our path of spiritual awakening. Our strength is diminished.

    How much better it is to let go of the lightness, let go of our grandiosity, and accept the imperfections in others. We need to accept our own imperfections too. When we do, we are better for it, and our strength and energy can be focused on richer goals.

    I will accept others’ imperfections; I do not need to be right.”

  • Brian English

    Austin:

    You still have not answered what you would have done with regard to Iraq if you had been President.

    I would recommend that you read some of the books written by or about our troops who actually have fought in Iraq. They do not believe they are fighting in an unjust war and, regardless of the motives you ascribe to President Bush, the troops themselves believe they are helping the Iraqi people.

    I also do not think ridding the world of Saddam Hussein and his two psychotic sons constitutes nothing. Since 1998, before the Evil Texan became President, the United States had pursued a policy of regime change in Iraq. The achivement of that stated goal is certainly not nothing.

    Finally with regard to Iraq, I think the real insult to the dead is found in the belittling of what the troops accomplished there, despite horrendous circumstances and sometimes incompetent civilian leadership.

    With regard to Vietnam, it is terrible that your friend was killed there, but that certainly does not make the war an unjust one.

    As I stated in my earlier post, you can argue the war was not America’s business, but you cannot pretend that everything would have been fine if we had just let the communists overrun the country in 1965 instead of 1975. Creating a Workers’ Paradise has always required a high body count, and Vietnam would not have been any different.

  • Ted Seeber

    In his first, admittedly primitive, Just War theory put forth in _City of God_, Augustine too would have agreed that War is Absurd. But he gave us the one example of a Just War that *everybody* can agree with:

    1. Fought against an invader
    2. Only within one’s own borders to repel the invader, without revenge of invading another person’s country
    3. Showing Love for One’s Enemy by using weapons as likely to harm one’s own civilians as enemy soldiers.

    Personally, I think if we stuck to these three original rules, we’d be a lot better off. We wouldn’t have the level of international trade we do, but nor would we have war.

    The only country today holding to these rules for Just Warfare, is Switzerland.

  • Ted Seeber

    Austin:

    If you had been President in early-2003, what would your next step have been instead of going to war?

    Saddam had violated 23 or 24 U.N. resolutions; he had fired on Allied aircraft enforcing the No-Fly-Zone; when he was not denying access to U.N. inspectors, he was clearly playing games with them. He certainly was not acting like a man who did not have WMDs.

    I know people like to talk about sanctions, but the only ones suffering from them were the people of Iraq, especially the children. Between coutries like Germany and Russia violating the sanctions and the U.N. “Oil for Food” travesty, Saddam’s palace building regimen was not slowed at all.

    I do not understand your objection about Vietnam. The U.S. and its South Vietnamese allies had the war thrust on them by the North Vietnamese communists and the Viet Cong.

    People can have legitimate disagreements over whether the U.S. had a sufficient national interest to commit its troops to the war, or whether the strategic approach to the war was fatally flawed, but I do not see how you could label it an unjust war.

    Look at the atrocities committed by the communists after they took over, including a ferocious persecution of the Church that has continued to this day, and explain to me how attempting to prevent them could be considered unjust.

    The qualm I have with these wars is that they don’t fit the original definition of a Just War.

    They fail step 1 because they weren’t on our soil against an invader (Augustinian Just War theory doesn’t include “allies”, except in material support, you don’t reduce your own country’s defense to help somebody else).

    They fail in step 2 (especially taking out Saddam Hussien) because they succumb to the sin of vengeance.

    They fail in step 3 because we use force multiplying weapons that show great hatred for our enemy instead of love.

    Can you justify Vietnam and Iraq based on the stringent Just War of Augustine of Hippo? Because I can’t.

  • Ted Seeber

    Extend unconditional love and forgiveness to nasty people who despise you and want to harm you. Desire their happiness. Do not cultivate bitterness against them. Fight their evil actions, where necessary and possible, but do not will them ill.

    That comes from Mark Shea’s article from this morning. Can we say the same here, where the execution of Saddam Hussein is defended as part of a Just War?

  • Austin

    I would not have invaded Iraq. Yes, Saddam Hussein was a very bad man, but are we to invade and occupy every nation on earth ruled by evil men? Saddam was being contained, it was not necessary to invade Iraq. This was a ploy by the Neo-Cons to obtain a US base of operations and puppet nation in the Middle East. The performance of the US troops in defeating the Iraqi military was outstanding. No argument there. We won the war and lost the peace with incompetent US officials such as Paul Bremmer. Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the United States, thus we should not have gone to war.

    Regarding Vietnam, the people of South Vietnam did not support their government, which was corrupt and incompetent. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were more determined and ended up taking over the South anyway, so how can one think that the whole affair was nothing more than a huge waste of life and money? 60,000 Americans and 2,000,000 Vietnamese dead and the same outcome as if we had never been there. Johnson’s intervention in Vietnam may have been well intentioned, but that does not make it a good idea. It was a terrible idea.
    Ho Chi Minh was a Communist and a Vietnamese nationalist. He wanted a united Vietnam. If we had treated him like Tito he could have been useful to us.

    Finally, our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen are volunteers, that is true. This does not mean however, that the commander in chief should be cavalier about their lives. walk through Arlington National cemetery and scan the row upon row of white markers. Every one of them was somebody’s son, father, daughter, etc. You only go to war, when you have to. Only a fool would think otherwise.

  • Ted Seeber

    It is an insult to these patriots to suggest that their free choice is somehow flawed. Any military out there in IC land?

    And, if we grant you your moral judgment, should we include those who voted in favor, like Senators Clinton and Kerry, among many others?

    The free choice of human beings is always flawed- if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be free.

    Wise choices are somewhat different, and are usually quite expensive, having to be purchased with experience.

    Perhaps instead of referring to the votes of men who have not yet completed the experience, we should refer to the words of men who saw the totality of the action and ended up rejecting the concept:

    I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting

  • Brian English

    Ted:

    The problem with relying upon Augustine’s initial Just War theory is that the U.S. would not have fought in either WW II or Afghanistan.

    On the execution of Saddam, the Iraqi government executed him, not us. However, there is a case to be made that Saddam was one of those rare instances where the death penalty would have been appropriate. Even if secured in a prison, he would have served as a rallying point for Baathist insurgents and would have inevitably led to rescue attempts that would have caused more death.

    Finally, all of the military officers you quote realized how terrible war is, but fought them anyway. Wars are terrible, but sometimes not fighting them is worse.

  • Austin

    Some wars are “Just Wars” but not all wars are just wars. It is not always a black or white thing, there are many shades of gray. I don’t see where we really had a choice with WWII. I think Vietnam and Iraq were another matter however. Lyndon Johnson doubtless thought that he was doing the right thing with his escalation in Vietnam. Of course, good intentions are not enough. Pacifists counel diplomacy is better than military force, but diplomacy without a credible threat of military force usually does not work. The trick is to get the other guys to bend our way without actually resorting to force, which is difficult.

    There are a lot of evil men running other countries. We cannot fight all of them, so we must pick and choose our fights very carefully and avoid actual combat if possible. War is a fallback, not an opening position. We don’t seem to understand this.

  • Brian English

    Austin:

    I think we will have to agree to disagree on Iraq. However, I think asserting that Saddam was contained overlooks the fact that sanctions were clearly being circumvented. Even if you could have tightened those up, that still does not alter the fact that the Iraqi people were suffering, not Saddam’s regime.

    I also would not limit criticism to Bremmer. Bush and Rumsfeld both failed to provide for properly garrisoning the country and did not react quickly enough to modify their strategy once it was clear there was a serious problem. Bush also should have spent more time explaining exactly what we were trying to do. “Stay the course” does not mean anything to people unless you explain what course we are on.

    With Vietnam, the South Vietnamese did not love their government, but they also clearly did not want to be ruled by the communists. The Tet Offensive was meant to spark a general uprising in the South, which did not happen.

    People also forget that the South Vietnamese fought off the North for two years after direct U.S. military involvement ended. The South was only conquered when Congress refused to allow any military support, despite the North’s violation of the Peace Accords, and refused to provide desperately needed fundings. It appears the South Vietnamese preferred a corrupt govenment to a murderous one.

  • Austin

    One of the more curious outcomes of the North Vietnamese take over of South Vietnam was the treatment of the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong, or “VC” were South Vietnamese Communists who fought for a unified, Communist Vietnam. They assumed that when the North would take over the South, that the VC would be put in positions of power by the North Vietnamese. This frequently did not happen. Many former VC were very disappointed by the North Vietnamese who did not fully trust the VC, who were after all “southerners” albeit Communists. Many former VC were told to get lost after the North Vietnamese takeover in Spring 1975.

    Johnson did not undertand what a long, bloody slog the war would be in 1965 when he escalated. The North Vietnamese did not have to “win” just hang on long enough for the Americans to leave. These kind of wars are not neat and sanitary; they are long, bloody and nasty. We would do well to keep that in mind before we jump in with both feet.

  • Brian English

    “These kind of wars are not neat and sanitary; they are long, bloody and nasty. We would do well to keep that in mind before we jump in with both feet.”

    Agreed.

  • Ted Seeber

    The problem with relying upon Augustine’s initial Just War theory is that the U.S. would not have fought in either WW II or Afghanistan.

    I have no problem with that- as long as the alternative response was a strengthening of our borders instead, and a solid line of resistance to invasion. In other words, I would have been fine with just shooting down and sinking the Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor- and leaving it at that.

    Resist invasion, but don’t take revenge. The end of WWII should have taught us that lesson- when our revenge released the monster of nuclear weaponry upon the world.

    On the execution of Saddam, the Iraqi government executed him, not us. However, there is a case to be made that Saddam was one of those rare instances where the death penalty would have been appropriate. Even if secured in a prison, he would have served as a rallying point for Baathist insurgents and would have inevitably led to rescue attempts that would have caused more death.

    I have a tendency to agree, but on a lower level: Iraq, at the time of Saddam’s execution, due to our invasion, no longer had the technology to avoid the death penalty in his case.

    But I would point out that *before* the invasion, we already had Saddam Hussien in jail- a jail consisting of his entire country, which he was unable to leave or escape.

    Finally, all of the military officers you quote realized how terrible war is, but fought them anyway. Wars are terrible, but sometimes not fighting them is worse.

    Agreed. But we Catholics have a blueprint for Utopia in the writings of the saints. Should we not follow that blueprint first, instead of following the cults of politicians?

  • Ted Seeber

    Austin claims that pacifists prefer diplomacy, Brian claims that pre-emptive war is sometimes the only option.

    I put it to you both that Augustine’s original Just War theory offers us a third way- one that has worked for Switzerland since the end of the cantons and the beginning of nationalization in that country:
    Armed isolationism.

    Nobody dares invade Switzerland- they may be neutral and pacifistic from the outside, but on the inside every human being is required to serve two years in the army starting at age 18 and only becomes non-active; nobody is ever discharged and they are allowed to bring their military issued gun home with them at the end of the two years. Any invader would be facing expert snipers at every window.

    With our current technological expertise in robotics, we could easily achieve the same here- by using another tactic from Sun Tzu and Ghenghis Kahn- the kill zone border, through which anything moving is destroyed.

    There’s no need to ever invade one’s neighbors, if one has adequate defense.

  • Mark

    Ted, nuclear weapons have all but rendered “just war theory” obsolete. One nuke into Geneva and it wouldn’t much matter how well the Swiss are prepared in hand-to-hand combat.

    Also, just as Russia is behind the nonsense going on in Iran today, they were the puppet masters behind Sadam Hussein… Check out some relevant news our MSM doesn’t dare touch:

    From Ynet News:

    “A Russian security official denied on Tuesday reports that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu handed Moscow proof that Russian experts were helping Iran build a nuclear bomb.

    Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev told local Interfax news agency, “As of yet, I have no knowledge of any secret services or other agencies providing us with information on companies or individuals from among us.

    “If they have such information, we will certainly address it. But we have not received anything.” Patrushev is the former director of the Russian Federal Security Service.

    Earlier this week, the Sunday Times quoted a source close to the Russian defense minister as saying, “We heard that Netanyahu came with a list and factual evidence showing that Russian scientists are helping Iran develop a bomb.”

    The source added that this is why the trip was kept secret: “The goal was not to embarrass Moscow, but to push it into action.”

    It was also reported that Israeli sources said the September 7 meeting was short and tense, and that the prime minister gave the Russians the names of scientists helping Iran.

    On the day of the meeting, Israeli media reported of Netanyahu’s “disappearance”. His office initially reported that he was visiting a security facility in Israel, but it was quickly revealed that he had in fact traveled to Russia.

    Moscow at first denied the meeting ever took place, but were later forced to come clean. President Dmitry Medvedev said at the time that “the Israelis asked to maintain secrecy, I don’t understand why, but it is their prerogative.”

    Remember, before the first Gulf War back in 1990, after many warnings for all non Iraqis to leave the country, there were still over 400 Russian scientists in Baghdad.

    It’s likely that Netanyahu justifiably told Medvedev that if Iran launches one into Israel, Moscow will be the second target of retaliation. But don’t worry, we have a Commander in Chief who, when asked for more troops by his General in Afghanistan, waited a couple of months and then wandered off to Copenhagen with Oprah to unsuccessfully beg for the Olympics to come to Chicago.

  • guardian2samson

    Unfortunately, too many Catholic minds fixate over the combatant sides alone, or the unfortunate innocent victims of the resultant conflict. How infrequently the liberty of the innocent non-combatants – which is the indirect object of the conflict – is considered. The suffering, inhumanity, torture, rape, and murder committed on these innocent growing-children-outside-the-womb-of-their-mothers, is hardly considered, as moralists wrangle over whether it is “Just” to intervene on their behalf.

    God & man know that the victims are not the least bit better off under their subjugators. Otherwise, it wouldn’t break conscious thought or broach discussion in the first place – proof positive that perhaps there’s some well-formed conscience behind the notion of intervention after all. As I believe Churchill noted, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly”. May these words console anyone’s remorse that flawed men, flawed processes, and flawed strategies, affect imperfectly, or often fail to achieve that charity that was sure to be some portion of the intention, which, in spite of any other intentions, alone is worthy of the noblest efforts.

    I am puzzled by those who are quick to cite

  • guardian2samson
  • Mark

    The left and other daydreamers frequently attack
    W and his father as warmakers. They got us into Iraq after
    all, and they may have caused 9/11. Better to pursue a
    policy of disarmament and world social justice.
    I wonder what muslims saw in Bill Clinton and his wife?
    Bill commits adultry. Not just with any women but a Jew.
    I suppose Allah cursed Bill Clinton that day. Next, around
    the time Jaunita Broderick came forward, Bill Clinton and
    the democrats rattled the saber at Iraq and Husseins
    nuke program. Allah cursed the adulterer Clinton as well as
    Pelosi and Tom Daschle. (The intelligence was good then.)
    Next, many Clinton supporters cheered when Clinton wasn’t
    impeached. What did Allah say, in the opinion of muslims?
    When the UN with the Clinton administration tried to
    impose family planning on the world, including muslim
    nations, muslims did not consider this social justice.
    Yet all this time, many people will tell me that
    Clintons years were years of pursuing peace. I think
    the outrages of this administration caused providence to
    allow 9/11 and Iraq. Not all peacemakers are genuine.

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