CATHOLIC PewPOINT:

What if they tried to peddle a war and no one was buying it!

     That's actually the scenario that took place in the Buckeye arena on the campus of Ohio State University a few days ago. Can you say "debacle?" That's what it was. What the Clinton administration had hoped would be a slick selling of the war against Iraq by the trio of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen, and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to the gullible American people, turned into more of a Jerry Springer-like charade on stage with catcalling, protesting and a mood of insubordination. And the audience wasn't much better! Students chanted protests from the upper echelons of the bleachers as CNN television anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff looked as lost, flustered, and angry as the Clinton's people who were noticeably taken aback by the negative reaction to the president's private war crusade he's trying to foist on the world.

     Noticeably lacking was any rational or reason on the part of the three stooges, or should we say three administrators brought in to sell the war in mid-America. They say if it sells in Peoria, it'll sell anywhere. Well, folks, it didn't sell in Columbus and we doubt it would ever sell in Peoria where Bishop John Myers is the shepherd. In fact another shepherd of Myers' stature is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput who is fast becoming the American spokesman for Roman Catholics totally loyal to the Holy Father and the teachings of the Church. Today we bring you a special article on this very subject which the Archbishop has written and will be published in Nuntium, the cultural review of the Pontifical Lateran University and made available through the Catholic World News Service. You can find it under Miters that Matter Because of this timely article by such a respected prelate of the Church we are running this in place of VATICAN II VERIFICATIONS which will return next week.

     Despite the overwhelming opposition to bombing Iraq, the administration is dead-set on carrying through with their threat of bombing the Iraqi people. That is not the intent but everyone knows Saddam Hussein will use women and children as human shields in his weapons plants to sacrifice lives and gain the sympathy of the rest of the countries. Speaking of women and children, Cohen displayed photos of a dead Iraqi mother and child who were poisoned with gas along with tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people. He labeled the grim photo "Madonna and Child, Saddam Hussein style." It was gripping but do you think a member of Clinton's administration would hold up a like photo of an aborted fetus? After all, many more of these innocent children have died than the Iraqi holocaust. What does Clinton say about the aborted babies? He and his administration gush forth the platitudes that this war is necessary to "preserve our children," "to make it safer for our children." We could buy that if they truly did care about children but it's all a smokescreen coming from an administration strongly promoting the culture of death through abortion. Now Clinton is promoting the culture of death in Iraq via bombing and trying to sell this bunk to the American people. Some are being hoodwinked but, thankfully, most Americans are coming to their wits and saying, "Whoa, hold on a minute. Not so fast!" One questioner at the Ohio State "Town Meeting" asked if we have the moral right to attack Iraq which provoked no direct answer. As protesters, reminiscent of the Vietnam war years, shouted down Albright with taunts of "one, two, three, four, we don't want your racist war!" she implored the people with the plea, "We just want your support." To that some in the audience cried out, "You don't have it!" It was that simple.

     Perhaps, with Clinton riding such a high crest of popularity, he thought he could send his cronies in and push his "wag the dog" agenda on the people but they must be scurrying about in the oval office today with plan B or C because plan A did not work as they so foolishly thought. Each day more and more leaders from former President Jimmy Carter to former military generals, politicians and religious leaders speak out strongly against bombing. Those in the Church almost unanimously oppose attacking Iraq. The Minister General of the Franciscans has circulated a letter written to Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair beseeching both not to follow through with his threats. In part it says, "We firmly believe that peaceful and long lasting solutions to political conflict can only be achieved by having recourse to dialogue and diplomacy. The struggle for peace, reconciliation and harmony among the men and women of our world has never been an easy nor a hitherto fully attainable goal. However, it continues to be God's mandate and an objective which must motivate all people of goodwill. We believe that violence only begets more violence and "the one who lives by the sword, dies by the sword" (Matthew 26:52)." The letter, signed by the Minister General (Father General of the Order of Friars Minor) Father Giacomo Bini, OFM, the Vicar General Father Estavao Ottenbreit, OFM, and eight highly-placed Definitors of the Order, emphasized that, "A bombing campaign would only kill more innocent people and worsen their already desperate plight. There must be plenty of intelligence resources, experience and diplomatic skills within the international community that can be mobilized to resolve this crisis peacefully. Invited by the beatitude "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:9), we encourage you to redouble your diplomatic efforts, to be patient, more resourceful and to continue to use dialogue as the preferential means in hopefully achieving a mutually acceptable and dignified solution to this ongoing crisis."

      We all know that the problem lies with Saddam, not the people of Iraq. That is the common theme and rationale among those rejecting a military strike. So here's a few solutions to consider: Short of a peaceful settlement and since Bill Clinton has so many friends and cronies in Hollywood, why doesn't he turn to the celluloid clan there and dust off Batman, Superman, the IMF Forces, James Bond, Rambo, the Terminator, or the Saint - to name just a few - and enlist them to steal into Baghdad and silence Saddam without the people even being aware. Short of that he can always call on the CIA, KGB, or perhaps the most efficient stealth force in the world today - the Israeli secret service - the Massad. The latter has been successful in the past, and, after all, it's their future that is truly at stake for the true target is Israel as public and private revelation point to.

     But we strongly suspect Bill Clinton will do an end-run and try to push this war down America's collective throat, the results or consequences be damned. It will take the public's mind off the lurid affairs he is being accused of and evidence mounts each day that more and more of the many stories coming out have credence. It does matter what the highest leader in the land does in his private time for moral leadership is primary and one cannot be moral one minute and immoral the next. For more on this, we refer you to Sister Mary Lucy Astuto's excellent column today on this very concept titled, An Open Letter to the President . Albright, Berger and Cohen - Clinton's "ABC team" - have more of these "town meetings" at other universities this week and next week, trying to peddle a war with Iraq, but with each one more and more the American people are waking to Clinton's tactics and rejecting them. We wonder if Clinton ever thought ahead about the consequences of what would happen if we were not as successful in Iraq as the first time. Our Lady has foretold that this would happen, that the neighboring Arab countries would gang up on a pro-Israel ally; afterall blood is thicker than water and the bitterness of Arab and Jew, Syrian and Jew, Babylonian (Iraqi) and Jew, Persian and Jew go back millenniums. From his actions and rhetoric it is doubtful Clinton grasps this fact. From his bullheadedness in sending his cronies to these town meetings, it's also unlikely he ever considered the question of what if they [the administration] tried to peddle a war and no one was buying it?!

Michael Cain, editor


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Daily CATHOLIC          February 20, 1998