The drumbeats for war are getting louder, especially in the wake of Secretary of State Colin Powell's appearance before the Security Council of the United Nations on February 5, 2003. No matter what position we take, either for or against the war, we have an obligation as American citizens to pray for the safety of our troops as they carry out the mission assigned to them. War with Iraq seems inescapable.
An earlier article of mine, "The Real Enemies are Within," detailed why I believe our pending war with Iraq does not meet the test of the Just War Theory. Even though Saddam Hussein is a nasty, brutal man who has been supervising the amassing of various weapons of mass destruction and deceiving the Keystone Cops who work for the United Nations' Hans Blitz, it has yet to be proved that Iraq poses a credible, imminent threat against the safety of the United States of America and its citizens. President George W. Bush, who has been using all sorts of hyperbole to justify our pending war, is the son of President George Herbert Walker Bush, whose administration we have learned recently used false propaganda (such as the claim that Iraqi soldiers were taking Kuwaiti children out of incubators in hospitals and killing them) to whip up support for the Persian Gulf War. All of the hyperbole, however, and all of Iraq's obvious lies and deceptions simply do not rise to the level of posing such a threat that the United States has to engage in a sort of pre-emptive war that is forbidden by the Just War Theory.
To be sure, taking such a position places one in the company of very unsavory people, including the professional peaceniks who never met an enemy of the United States they did not want to appease or simply endorse outright. A principled position, however, does not depend upon who happens to agree or disagree with it. One can be a patriot who wills the good of his nation while disagreeing with the policies of his government. A line must be drawn, however, between disagreeing with the policies of one's government and providing actual aid and comfort to the enemies of one's country. That is why, as far as I am concerned, there is more than a little bit of discomfort in taking the same position as the professional peaceniks, some of whom, such as the actor Sean Penn, have given aid and comfort to Saddam Hussein and his henchmen in Iraq. Nevertheless, I do not see how the United States, which subjects its own unborn citizens to weapons of mass destruction in abortuaries under cover of law, is going to be made more secure by a "regime change" in Iraq.
As was the case in the aftermath of the death of Yugoslav dictator and mass murder Joseph Broz Tito in 1980, there is no clear successor to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The various Iraqi dissident groups are not united on a clear course to follow if our pending war with Iraq results in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. (As I noted in my earlier piece, if we lived in a just world, a coalition of Catholic nations would be considering whether the conditions existed to justify "regime change" in this country because of the daily slaughter of the unborn under cover of law. We kill more innocent human beings in this country each year than Hussein is alleged to have killed in his thirty-four years of brutal rule in Iraq.) With such disunity in the various Iraqi dissident or "resistance" groups, what is to prevent a relative or ally of Hussein from rising on the scene to engage in acts of terrorism against the troops of the United States that will by necessity have to stay in Iraq for years on end if we are successful in ousting Hussein from power? How many billions of American taxpayer dollars will be spent on the vast project of social-engineering known as nation-building? Has anyone noticed how well "nation-building" has worked in Somalia or Haiti, for example, to say nothing of the Balkans?
As we focus on efforts on a tse-tse fly, Hussein, North Korea, which has gone so far as to expel United Nations' weapons inspectors, is breaking the pledges it made to the fraud known as James Earl Carter, Jr., in 1994 in order to start full-scale production of nuclear weapons. (I don't suppose that Carter, an appeaser as President and an appeaser as an ex-President, is going to return his Nobel Prize for Peace.) North Korea poses a far more serious, real, legitimate, imminent threat to the security of the United States than does Iraq. However, the Bush administration has said that it will use "diplomacy," not military action, to deal with North Korea. Why the disproportionate response with respect to Iraq? Could it be that, of all people, Martin Sheen had it right that at least part of the reason for our focus on Iraq is that Bush the son wants to exact justice on the man who had plotted to kill Bush the father while he was visiting Kuwait in 1993? As Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus Foundation noted to me in a phone conversation several months ago, that is perhaps more true than most Americans want to admit. There is a blood feud between the Bushes and Saddam Hussein.
No civil government, including that of the United States of America, is endowed with the charism of infallibility, although many Americans, including a lot of Catholics, such as Sean Hannity, ascribe to our government a status of something approaching infallibility and invincibility. The actions of those who hold elected and appointed office can be critiqued by people who dearly love their nation and who want to see their national boundaries protected and the common good promoted. It is not to be a "self-hating" American to oppose the policies, both domestic and international, of the government of the United States of America. Indeed, our national government could do much to advance true national security and the common good if it excluded certain categories of people from entering the nation entirely and if it put its military on the borders to prevent against illegal immigration.
Alas, it is easier to go after a strawman than it is to "offend" various constituency groups in this country who would be aghast if efforts were actually made to protect ourselves against the scourge of Islam, that "religion of peace," as it is termed by the man who knows next to no real world history named George W. Bush.
What the President doesn't realize is that the "religion of peace" spread throughout Arabia, North Africa, Asia Minor, and into the Balkans by the use of the sword, a weapon many of its adherents want to use today in order to vanquish the infidels who export the evils of contraception and pornography and horrible music and motion pictures and television programming around the world. The Mohammadan enemies of the United States will not be stopped simply because one dictator, who isn't even a seriously observant Moslem, is removed from power. They will use the removal of Saddam Hussein as the means to recruit more terrorists to their ranks.
While Pope John Paul II is right to oppose the pending war with Iraq, he is wrong to place trust in the ability of international organizations such as the United Nations to provide the framework for a peace founded in justice and a respect for the rule of law. There can be no peace, either in the souls of individuals or in nations or among nations, without Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. The fundamental prerequisite for peace in the world is for individual souls to be at peace with the Blessed Trinity by means of being in states of habitual or sanctifying grace. It is the Catholic Church, not any international organization, that has the means to build up souls and hence to subordinate all human endeavors to man's eternal end. The surrender of the Church to the forces of one world governance, dating from the time of Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris to the present pontificate, has only emboldened all of the forces of evil in the world, both from secularist and false religious influences.
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