Monday, April 14, 2008

Pope Opposes War: Catholics Plug Their Ears


ALTHOUGH POPE BENEDICT XVI and his predecessor, John Paul II, have been strong opponents of the current US-started war in Iraq, some Catholics refuse to even listen. In what "Catholic theologian" Michael Novak self-righteously proclaimed in the National Review to be the "low point" of Benedict's 2007 Easter message, the Pope said that, "nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees."

I researched that statement and made an interesting discovery which shows the unfortunate divide among Catholics today regarding the war in Iraq. On the forums of popular war-loving Catholic talk-show host Sean Hannity's website, I found a thread discussing the Pope's aforementioned statement on Iraq, and I found a wide range of opinion. Here are some examples.

Why does the Pope hate the troops?

Why does the pope speak out against
the effort in Iraq when he can't even effectively speak for his own Church?

He sees the killing of anyone as a bad thing, no matter how bad that
person is.

He must read the NY Times.

Aside from the profoundly stupid claim that the Pope is an anti-American, chai-drinking, NY-Times reading liberal pacifist, I found one comment that quite interested me and perhaps sums up the situation felt among war-supporting Catholics and the Pope:

It has always amazed me how selective some people are when it comes to their
religion. The Pope --- the spokesman for his religion --- is anti-death
penality, anti-Iraq war, etc... and yet so many "religious" Americans run around
ignoring him. I don't get it. When the Pope condemns abortion or gay marriage or
another right-wing bugbear, he is the Vicar of Christ on earth.When he questions
capital punishment or the Iraq War, hey, it's just one guy's opinion.

In order to see a blatant example of such behavior, we must look no farther than Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the magazine First Things, and ironically, a Catholic priest. This is what he had to say last year regarding the Pope's easter message:

In the context of his Urbi et Orbi address on Easter Sunday, Pope Benedict
observed that “nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual
slaughter as the civil population flees.”

I ask you to carefully notice how Neuhaus describes the Pope's statement as being "In the context of his Urbi et Orbi address." He follows up this dismissal of the Pope when he proclaims that:

Admittedly, it is galling when Catholics and others who are usually blithely
indifferent to church teaching seize upon a papal opinion with which they agree
and, suddenly becoming hyper-infallibilists, elevate it to dogmatic status.

Neuhaus would be more effective if he did not label all those against those against this war as "blithely indifferent to church teaching." Whether the Pope would count as such a person, Neuhaus does not make clear. Naturally he does not mention his own indifference to Church teaching in supporting an unjust "pre-emptive" war, which the Pope has said is mentioned nowhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He does, however, go off into rambling, with this unique opinion:

traditional just-war doctrine adequately provides for the use of military force
in the face of a clear and present threat of aggression. Such a use of force is
more accurately described as defensive rather than preemptive, and it is worth
keeping in mind that in 2003 all the countries with developed intelligence
services agreed that Saddam Hussein had or was quickly developing weapons of
mass destruction that he intended to use in aggressive war.

Again, Neuhaus does not explain. If "all the countries with developed intelligence services agreed that Saddam Hussein had or was quickly developing weapons of mass destruction that he intended to use in aggressive war," then why was the U.S. the only country to commit any sizable number of troops?

In 2003, Iraq was a nation that had been crippled under 12 years of U.S.-sponsored sanctions, which helped cause some of the highest unemployment and child mortality rates in the world, a situation of justice which Fr. Neuhaus never deemed worthy to comment on. He says that Iraq was a "clear and present threat of aggression," although it had never threatened the United States in any way.

"Catholic theologian" Michael Novak has gone a step further in his support for the Iraq war, arguing to no avail at the Vatican in 2002 that "A limited and carefully conducted war to bring about a regime change in Iraq is, as a last resort, morally obligatory." Novak claimed that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had "disrupted international order by refusing to disarm and that Iraqi weapons risked falling into the hands of a new breed of international terrorists eager to strike countries around the world with no advance warning."

As was proven by the C.I.A., Saddam Hussein had destroyed his nuclear weapons a dozen years earlier, and the subsequent war in 2003 turned out be anything but "limited" or "carefully conducted," as evidenced by arrogant and vain conduct by Iraq "administrator L. Paul Bremer, which is a totally different story.

Novak's credibility in his Iraq war argument to the Vatican was perhaps under-mined by his employment at the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-war think-tank funded by oil companies, some of whom began advertising in the Houston Chronicle for employees to work in Iraq even before the war began, which brings to mind the statement by Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz that "we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."

After the Vatican listened to Novak's arguments for war, Pope John Paul II, sent a special envoy to the White House, although President Bush refused to see him. Those who claim that the current Pope's opposition to the war is nothing but mere "opinion," may be interested to know that Benedict has repeated many times over the years that "The concept of a 'preventive war' does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

Pope John Paul II called this war "a defeat for Humanity" which could not be morally or legally justified, a point which Benedict XVI has constantly re-iterated. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the compendium of official Church teaching, and clearly does not contain any approval of "pre-emptive war," the kind which "Catholic theologian" Michael Novak claimed to be "morally obligatory."

Pointless bloodshed for non-existent reasons against a nation that never threatened us is the situation which the U.S. was led into with disastrous results. We now have more troops in Iraq than ever, and hundreds of innocent citizens die every week with no end in sight, and no percievable plan or purpose.

The popes were right. War creates hell on earth, such as we are now seeing in Iraq. I mentioned before that the National Review, so lost in their make-believe fantasy world of cheerleading for unjust aggression, called the Pope's call for peace a "low point," although any sane, clear-thinking Catholic can easily see otherwise.

ADDENDUM: For those who haven't seen it, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Palm Sunday address this year, denounced the five-year Iraq war and passionately appealed for peace in Iraq (and also indirectly conveyed his wish that the occupying forces withdraw) :

Enough of the killings, enough of violence, enough of hatred in Iraq! At
the same time, I raise an appeal to the Iraqi people, who have borne for
five years the consequences of a war which has provoked such disorder in
their civic and social life: Beloved Iraqis, lift up your heads and be
yourselves the primary rebuilders of your national life!

If we continue to ignore the fervent desires of two successive popes that we end this war--- two remarkably wise and saintly men, I might add, whose unique prerogative it is to make such moral judgements---I'm afraid we do so at our own peril.


SC&A said...


See Bill Clinton's remarks here:

Excerpt: "Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons...Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again."



That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team -- including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser -- I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.

They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors."

Mr Clinton was clear- Saddam did not have to possess WMD's- he just had to have the ability and the desire to develop them.

Anonymous said...

"Mr Clinton was clear- Saddam did not have to possess WMD's- he just had to have the ability and the desire to develop them." That is kind of the whole point. Who really cares whether or not Saddam had WMDs at the time of the invation. Just ask any Kurd if Saddam had ever used chemical weapons. The anti-war movement can use several agruement to promote their cause, but when they use the kanard about WMDs, they miss the whole point and are no longer argueing from an intellectually honest positions.

Pro-War Catholics are not plugging our ears to the POPE, we are plugging our ears the some of the silly arguements promoted by the Left.


Anonymous said...

If the U.S. took out every dictator who killed his people, we would be bankrupt and have no army left to speak of. Use your head, please, Ohio J.

PASCENDI said...

I remember the first time I realized that both John Paul and Card. Ratzinger had condemned the war in Iraq. I had to read each of their several comments over at least 10 times because I could not believe it. I can provide links for anyone who wishes to read them! But Neocon's will have to get their fingers out of their ears in order to type and aske me for the links!

I could not believe that I, a serious Tradition loving, bible thumping Eucharist adoring Catholic had fallen into the trap of thinking that the war was somehow morally OK.

It was not until I reread the Catechism several more times on Just War theology and then reread what John Paul II SAID to president Bush after we started the war... and then the Cardinal Prefect's (Ratzinger's) disdain for the 'pre-emptime' doctrine that I realized that my opinion, my support of the war... was against conservative Catholic morality.

There is no room for preemption in Catholic just war doctrine as set out by Thomas Aquinas. There is nothing new about terrorism. It's as old as a stone club! Somehow, may modern dat so called 'conservative' Catholics think they must invent some new doctrine in lieu of a very old problem called terrorism.

I had to write all my family & friends and provide links to the Holy Father's (and the PRESENT HOLY FATHER'S) condemnation. I did this to support my reversal!

Boy, some of my neocon friends really flipped out when I came to my senses! Some of them STILL can't bring themselves to consider that Bush went wrong here.

It has been a learning experience for me though.

Peter, keep up the good work. We need to return to authentically conservative values which are based largely on Catholic theology.


Anonymous said...


With regards to the fact that we'd be bankrupt if we went after every tyrant, that may be so. But then, do cloud the issue with silly arguements such as Bush lied about WMD. That kind of arguement is not using logic, nevermind one's head.


Amy Proctor said...

Self righteous Catholics oppose the war? Are Catholics who disagreed with Pope John PaulII about evolution also self-righteous even though Popes throughout history like Pope Pius denounced evoluton and the Catechism itself only endorses creation?

If the Pope, whom I adore, can make an anti-war platform canon law or somehow elevate it to the same directive prohibiting Catholics from using contraception, I would have no choice but to submit, but this isn't the case. This is his opinion.

The Pope isn't directing all Catholics in uniform, including the hundreds of priests who serve their country, many in Iraq, along with active duty and reserve monsignors, Catholic priests/chaplains WHOM I KNOW PERSONALLY AND SUPPORT THE WAR EFFORT to exit military service. He is POPE and must extole peace over war. This is part of his office.

I don't plug my ears and your entry is incredibly condescending. We don't use birth control, submit to all the Church's demands and obligations in as much love and joy as possible AND we support the war effort. We also have raised over $20,000 to support Iraqi Christians, many of whom are our personal friends now.

War is not unique to history. God sanctioned certain wars in the Old Testament times and this is about defeating terrorists who want to exterminate Christians, Jews and anyone else who opposes their ideology. The Pope has been very clear on his stance condemning terrorism.

I think we should wait to hear what he has to say about it during his visit this week.. hear HIS words, not yours, not some Vatican representatives, but Pope Benedict's words. He didn't speak infallibly when he said there was "nothing good coming out of Iraq" (which wasn't true, but he's not boots on the ground, is he?) anymore than PJPII spoke infallibly about evolution.

Peter said...

But why is it that you listen to the Pope on abortion and birth control, but dismiss his views on the war?

Remember, the Pope himself said that pre-emptive war was nowhere to be found in the Catechism. That's hardly an "opinion."

And, something does not have to be a "dogma" for Catholics to obey it. Has there ever been a "dogma" on abortion or gay marriage? No.

I hope you are not naive enough to think that God "sanctioned" the Iraq war. Don't tell me that all the talk against is done by "Vatican representatives." The Popes have been very clear about their opposition, but unfortunately it has been dismissed as mere "opinion" by people like you who are always complaining about the "cafeteria Catholics" who "pick and choose."

Looks like they've got company.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being aburd, where does it say in the Catechism that I am allowed to eat Strawberry doughnut? Some people may say that I am in mortal sin because I do so. On the other hand, the Church makes it position clear on such issues as abortion.

Peter, I understand that you feel strongly about a few issues as do some of the rst of us, but please be careful when throwing about term like "cafeteria Catholics." This kind of talk does not help your cause.


NY Catholic Mom said...

Dear Amy,
If you don't know what the Pope has said about the war in Iraq, I would direct you to his address on Palm Sunday of this year. Here's the link describing it:

In his address,Pope Benedict
"denounced the 5-year-long Iraq war, saying it had provoked the complete breakup of Iraqi civilian life."

The Pope also made this poignant appeal at the end of the Mass: "Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq!"

I think this makes it pretty clear how he feels about the war in Iraq.
Catholics may not be strictly obliged to agree with the Pope on this, but he is certainly taking a very strong stand on this.

Any Catholic that disagrees had better be VERY sure of their facts, and that means they ought to be reading more than the National Review.

I hope they have also read, as Pascendi recommended, 1)the just war doctrine as explained in the Catholic Catechism,
2) Cardinal Ratzinger's statements on the war which he made as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and 3)Pope John Paul II's thoughts on the same.

For those of you interested, Pascendi will give you links to these for you to read.

By the way, Amy, Pope John Paul II's single, brief, almost off-the-cuff remark on evolution cannot be compared in any way to the many very serious statements and addresses made by Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and the Vatican officials on this war the past eight years.

I know this is a painful issue, and I understand the dilemma it poses to American Catholics, but we must give our Holy Father our serious attention on this important moral issue. We are talking about killing and wounding thousands of people and the destruction of a sovereign nation, after all, and not just about some abstract scientific discussion.

James H said...

I think this is a thoughtful post and does deserve a thoughtful repsonse. SOmething that is a tad hard to do it comment section.

I think there are two issues that often get confused. That is was the initial entry in the war just and second what do we do now.

I think it is tempting to look at the Pope's recent statements and just think it is aimed toward Americans. I don't think it is. Also I ahve to think if the Vatican was for immediate Withdrawal of US troops we would hear more indications of that.

The latest US Bishops statements, that no doubt had some Vatican Consulatation is much more cautionary.

I as a Catholic that has prayed over this issue and tried my best to see what the actual Chruch teaching is and not what I want it to be have come to the conclusion that our current policy is align with Catholic ethics and teaching.

However I can see that those that are just as honest with themselves as I try to be can come to an opposite conclusion.

I suppose my view is that Catholics such as I that view a withdrawal from Iraq as unleashing unimaginable horrors, and those that have the opposite view do nothave a clear black and white offical Catholic Answer to back either of their positions. THus this dialouge , in which you are doingyour part in, is not only needed but imperative.

Mom said...

Church teaching on birth control and abortion are not on the same level as Church teaching on war. Abortion and birth control are always wrong. War may at times be justified.

When the pope teaches against birth control or abortion, his conclusions are based on unchanging truths. But when a pope or any other bishop cautions against a particular war, we are to understand that he is basing his statements on his best information concerniong that particular situation. According to the catechism, the ultimate resposibility for deciding whether a war is justified or not lies with those to whom the people have entrusted the management of military affairs, like our president. While, as I have said, the Pope's conclusions are based on his best information, those in command may have different information, and may not be at liberty to disclose all of it.

"The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitamacy belongs to the prudential judgement of those who have resposibility for the common good." CCC 2309

foutsc said...

It's funny how people latch on to the Pope to serve their own means. The Pope is anti-war; I wouldn't want it any other way. Who wants a bellicose pontiff? Any war is a crisis of humanity,and he is reflecting that.
To those who would treat every word out of the Vatican as iron law, I have a question: Do you observe each and every Friday as a day of penance, a "little Lent?"

NY Catholic Mom said...

Dear Mom, the Pope is certainly entitled to make judgement on the moral dimensions of a conflict like the war in Iraq, and has done so on many occasions in history.

If you will recall, Pope Benedict XV deplored World War I and tried everything he could to bring about peace, to no avail, and most people would agree now that WWI was a particularly senseless, needlessly destructive war, which only set the stage for even more bloodshed and devastation a generation later. If only they had listened to their Pope Benedict!

As Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI in 2002 confirmed Pope John Paul II's judgement that the Anglo-American conflict in Iraq did not meet the criteria for a just war, as outlined in Catholic Church teaching:

"The Holy Father's judgment is also convincing from the rational point of view: There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq."

The Pope may not have had access to all the technical information that Bush did, but, being Polish, be could certainly recognize an invasion when he saw one.

There is simply no justification for the notion of "preemptive war" in Catholic Church teaching, as the past two popes have labored to explain to us.

Anonymous said...

It's priorities.

More than 3,000 a day are killed in the U.S. by abortion. It took about 4 years in Iraq for our death toll to equal one day's worth of abortions in our country.

Funny how the media never reports how staggering abortion numbers are. If they gave abortion casualties any halfway similar kind of attention that they did Iraq casualties, well, I think you may see a faster trend towards pro-life and greater abortion declines. On the bright side, the pro-life segment of the population is around 40-45% currently, up about 10% from 20-30 years ago.

So, in the U.S. alone, it's 40 million plus deaths from abortion-- I believe it's at least 47 million-- and counting...

Anonymous said...

Dead G.I.'s don't matter as much as dead babies because there aren't as many of them?

That's insane. Trying to justify 4,000 dead American soldiers is traitorous.

Peter said...

Ignoring the toll from Iraq by comparing it to abortion is reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and aren't we forgetting the 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians?

Anonymous said...

I am not ignoring the death toll from Iraq. It is grave.

However, perhaps you should open your mind to the amount of abortions committed instead of making assumptions regarding what other people think.

Anonymous said...

"Dead G.I.'s don't matter as much as dead babies because there aren't as many of them?

That's insane. Trying to justify 4,000 dead American soldiers is traitorous."

I do not think that the person who mentioned the comparision between abortion and the dead soldiers was justifying their deaths. I do not see anybody on our side celebrating their deaths. With respect Mr. anonymous, I fear that you are the traitorous one. C'mon, how many thousands of Americans have died because of canoe accidents, nevermind car accidents and like? We do not call you a traitor for not mentioning this, but you on the Left try to say the number of Abortions in this country is nothing. By trying to minimize the number of Abortions in our country and trying to minimize what the Church teaches about innocent life, you actually harm your case, sir.


Peter said...

We shouldn't be "comparing" the toll to anything. 4,000 dead is alot of people, yet none of our war-supporting politicians have ever clearly defined what those boys died for beyond the same old vagaries.

Anonymous said...

Peter, please understand that nobody is saying that 4000 dead Americans are nothing, some of are respectfully pointing about some other tragedies in our country like Abortion. While I know that you are very Pro-Life with regards to abortion in reality, you have given the impression that it is not a very important issue, otherwise, you would not be afraid of comparisons.

As for Pro-War politicians not explaining why we have 4,000 dead, perhaps you could also consider at least unplugging one of your ears.

I am sorry if I sound harsh, but this time you have really wound me up.


Anonymous said...

Since when has it come down to the idea that if you are against immoral wars, you are somehow soft on abortion?

Since when have we gotten the idea that "a little" killing (i.e. 4000 dead U.S. soldiers) in an enterprise not supported by Catholic "just-war" teaching, is somehow not a big deal?

Lastly, do we really have to apologize for the fact that we're trying to follow the teaching and recommendations of the Holy Father in such a serious matter as killing people in war without having to be attacked as pharisaical and hypocritical?

Doesn't it stand to reason that if we're going to listen to the Pope in matters such as birth control and abortion, we should also listen to his pronouncement about the morality of our actions in this war?

When has it ever been accepted by Catholics that we follow the teaching of the Church in only those matters that are acceptable to us? I thought there used to be a maxim, "Roma locuta est; causa finita est." (Rome has spoken; the matter is ended.)

So, which is it for Catholics? The Holy Father or the Bush White House?


foutsc said...

Every utterance and writing that issues from the Vatican is not doctrine. Having said that, Catholics ignore any church guidance at their own peril. The Catholic Church is not a cult, and there is room for though, discussion and diversity of action on many issues. Until the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra on the war issue, it is still open to personal interpretation.

Anonymous said...

To suggest that the only time we should listen to the Pope is when he issues an ex cathedra statement, like the dogma of the Assumption, for instance, would limit Catholic teaching to less than ten propositions.

So, we're obviously not talking about dogma in this situation. What we are talking about is the morality of a particular action, in this case, an action that both kills people and destroys national economies.

Do you seriously mean to propose to me that the Vicar of Christ has no business and/or competence in pronouncing whether our actions in this regard are moral?


Maggie's Notebook said...

I don't see this as Catholic or Protestant or political. I do think much good has come out of Iraq. I don't know how the good will be weighed, in the end. We are no where near the end, but there are women and young girls, and young boys who are not terrorized, who have a vision of a future. Saddam and his boys are gone. There can be some dignity, and it looks like those oil funds might get to the people. It's a good thing, considering...

Thanks so much for the visit to my place.

Maggie's Notebook

Peter said...

A future of daily car-bombings and kidnappings by rogue militias is hardly one to look forwards to. Please look beyond what you're told in the media. The Baghdad morgue used to get 1 body or less per month under Saddam. Now they get in the hundreds.

The number of Iraqis killed as the result of our occupation is so great that it will never be known. The whol country lives under constant terror and fear.

foutsc said...

JASNA GORAK: In my post, I say that Catholics should not take Vatican pronouncements lightly. My point is to ask if people who scrupulously follow the pontiff's guidance on Iraq do the same for all others. For example, do you observe Friday as a day of penance, per Vatican guidance?

Peter: I have no way to know how busy the Baghdad morgue was during the good old days of Uncle Saddam. None of us do, unless you trust statistics from a Stalinist government. Anyway, from the evidence gathered so far, it looks like he preferred to dispose of his victims in mass graves.

A larger point is, what is the most humane action for us to take at this point, regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the invasion. What would be best for the Iraqi people? Many people smarter than I have argued our withdrawal would be a humanitarian catastrophe that dwarfs that country's current miseries. I think even UN functionaries have said as much.

Anonymous said...


You make a great point, while we debate the morality of the war, people are forgeting that Iraq is better off today than it was under Saddam.


Peter said...

Do the hundreds of people who die every week count as better off? How about the millions living in bombed-out cities without water or power?

Would YOU consider yourself "better off" if you had to live like that?

Anonymous said...

If you want to play the numbers game, hundreds of people dead is not as bad as before the war. So yes, most of Iraq is better off than it was and it is better off than many downtown areas in some of our major cities, so let's look at the glass half full for once.

Let us also celebrate a Conservative victory is Italy also. So much for "the whole world hates America."


Peter said...

I don't see any of our cities being bombed and ruled by militias.

Anonymous said...

How many Iraqi cities do you see that are actually ruled by militias? Sure there are gangsters running around just like Philadelphia, Detroit and other cities run by the Democrat Left.


Peter said...

How about all of Southern and Northern Iraq? Crime is not a "Democrat" problem.

Anonymous said...

Boy that takes the cake; with respect, it is now clear that the only thing you know about Northern Iraq is fed to you by the Liberal media. Oh well.


Peter said...

Ever hear of Baquoba?

foutsc said...

Baquba is a little north of Baghdad, hardly Northern Iraq. Not only have I heard of it, I have seen it with my own eyes. Look, you're a smart guy, but you don't know Iraq. Regardless of how one feels about the situation, the only question that matters now is, how do we fix it? A rapid withdrawal could cause a humanitarian catastrophe of biblical proportions. We can all scream against the war until we're blue in the face. How do we fix it? Hint: It involves help from the UN, regional neighbors and Europe. Think about it and write a blog addressing that issue. I would enjoy reading it. You're a good writer.

foutsc said...

Here's a map:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have heard of Baquba too and as Foutsc said, that is not in the heart of Northern Iraq. I tried to read the article from the Mail & Guardian but I could not get it open. I am sure that there are a few rough neighborhoods in Northern Iraq, just as there are a few good neighborhoods in Philadelphia, but in reality, Northern Iraq is a very peaceful part of the country and of the world now.


foutsc said...

Ohio Joe: Indeed. You are a thinking man. Respected news agencies from Japan, Germany, France, and England collaborated on an Iraqi opinion poll last month. The responses were very positive, which is why we didn't hear about it on the news. The closest the libs can come to criticizing it is to say the data is skewed because the Northern Iraqis' responses were overwhelmingly positive. Please check out my blog, where I talk more about the subject:

foutsc said...

The link got cut off:

BTW: When you see Guardian, think NY Times only more liberal and anti-western values.

Peter said...

"Rough neighborhoods?" When was the last time you saw car bombs in Philadelphia? Now I know you're listening to too much Sean Hannity. Ignoring reality is not the way to find solutions in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

No I have not seen a bomb go off in Philadelphia, nor do I want to, but when was the last time you have seen a bomb go off in NORTHERN IRAQ? Kindly explain to me why the per centage of violent death is much higher in Phili than Northern Iraq. Then we can discuss reality


Anonymous said...

I might respectfully add that in Dahuk, (various spellings) Iraq's northern most province, only one person to me knowlege has died due to war and or military related activities. There could have been many other killed up there in recent months and I am well aware that the other Iraqi Provinces (even Northern ones) have not had it quite so lucky, but then again, I would not want to walk in many Philadelphia neighborhoods later at night for fear of being shot. Talk about a real war zone.


Peter said...

If Philadelphia is more dangerous than Iraq, why are hundreds of people not dying every week? Please get a handle on things, Ohio Joe. Too much talk radio is not a good thing.

Peter said...

By the way, do you see funerals being broken up by suicide bombers in Phily?

Anonymous said...

Yes there are a few provinces in Iraq that are more dangerous than Philadelphia, but I don't think very many of them are in NORTHERN IRAQ (Please look at a map.) Again, when was the last time you saw a funeral disrupted in Northern Iraq?

Yes I listen to talk radio, but my knowledge and even much of my opinions of Iraq was formed way before I ever heard about Mr. Hannity, Mr. Limbaugh and you.

Frankly, I feel sorry that your bitterness against Talk Radio, our government officials and the Iraqi people is not allowing you to see the whole story.


Peter said...

I'm not going to get into a firefight over what constitutes "Northern Iraq," but please, look at this picture, do you ever see anything like this in the US?,8599,1731473,00.html

Anonymous said...

I received and error message when I tried to pull up your last link, but I did see your last arcticle and I thus have no problem conceding that Northern Iraq is not perfect. Although I did not get to see the last picture, I will take your word that it was not pleasant. I will further take your word that I would not see such a picture here in the U.S. However, if you are willing to look, I am sure you can find some pictures of Saddam's Iraq. If you find such pictures, please don't show them to me. I am a father of small children and I do not have the stomach to see such pictures.

Perhaps, you do know the geography of Northern Iraq better than I do; to the best of my knowledge, I do not have a drop of Iraqi blood in me, but again I could certainly be proven wrong on this point as well. Nevertheless, as a Human Being (nevermind whether or not my DNA can be slightly linked to Iraq) I am rather insulted that you sugguest that Iraq was better off during the Saddam days than it is now. I could not dream of insulting Philadelphia to this degree.


Peter said...

In terms of civilian deaths, Iraq was much better off under Saddam than it is now. The Christian population has left Iraq in droves after we invaded and is now almost non-existent due to persecution by militias, a situation that did not exist under Saddam, who, at least, kept them protected.

Anonymous said...

I might remind you that some of these socalled Iraqi Christians, (and Sunnis for that matter)have left town because they are ashamed that they have raped women and children, at the risk of getting into geography, Saddam did not protect the people of Northern Iraq or Southern Iraq for that matter. Perhaps you have never seen the mass graves or even heard them described.


Anonymous said...

The Christians left because they were targeted by militias that rose to power with the instability created by our invasion.

foutsc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
foutsc said...

Your mistake in saying Baquba was in Northern Iraq calls into question your knowledge about the situation. You advised Ohio Joe that too much talk radio was a bad thing. The same could be said of too much Time magazine and the Guardian.

I keep asking you what your solution is and you haven't answered. Arguing over how we got here, or whether it was right or wrong does nothing to solve the current Iraqi crisis. The important question is, what is the humane course of action from here. So, what's your solution, besides throwing rocks?

Peter said...

Regardless, of what we do, people will die. We should our boys be among the body count? The insurgents kill us because we are occupying their country, as they have said.

Like it or not, we can not afford to invade every country and depose every dictator. While we are stuck in Iraq, China and Russia are building up their armies, growing rich on the loans that we contract from them in order to continue our fight in Iraq.

The war is destroying our dollar abroad as we must spend and borrow beyond our means and print money with no collateral. US influence wanes as the dollar go down, and new powers such as China rise to take our place.

Our leaders speak of things like "winning the war" "staying the course" and "achieving victory in Iraq" but fail to define them, as our occupation drags on and on and on.

Those who said that this war would be a "cakewalk" and that everything is going well are those who say it would be a disaster to leave.

So, in other words, we can not leave when things are going well, and also can not leave when things are going badly. Why would you trust leaders lead us around in circles like this?

If we can't leave when things are going bad or when things are going well, WHEN CAN WE LEAVE???

foutsc said...

Unless you're an old veteran, they're not "our boys." They are Men and Women who volunteered to serve their country. We should all thank God Almighty our feminized culture still produces such warriors.

Here are some links to help counterbalance your current "news" sources:
Michael Totten is a real journalist, unlike the pretend ones who report on the war from New York. He is imbedded with the troops and tells it like it is, good and bad.
A good source of information on what is happening in Iraq. Not all happy talk.

I understand and appreciate the point you are making. This is a humanitarian crisis. Congratulations, you've reached the same conclusion millions of other have.
Once again, you failed to answer my question on how to resolve this humanely.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought:

1) The country of Iraq has essentially been demolished. The right-wingers keep saying the answer is continued large-scale military action. That’s like if someone got into a car accident, went into a coma, and the doctors believed the patient could be healed by more car accidents. So they just keep putting him into cars and sending him off cliffs.

2) I’ve heard people say that being against Bush or Petraeus or the war in Iraq is equivalent to being against the troops. That’s like if I knew someone who repeatedly sent brave puppies out into traffic. I called that person a jerk for abusing the puppies and abusing their power. Then you accused me of being anti-puppy.

3) The administration talks about the success of the surge because violence has decreased, but we’re in fact paying the militias not to kill each other or our soldiers. It’s like if you were treading water, two sharks approach and begin biting you, you give each one a small piece of fish to distract them. While they take a moment to eat the fish, you sit there treading water and yelling, “Problem solved!”

4) At the Petraeus hearings, he refused to give any sort of definition for “victory” in Iraq. That’s like running a foot race, you’ve gone 30 miles, you’re exhausted, and when you ask your coach driving along next to you how much farther, he just keeps saying “You’ll know it when you get there.” He keeps saying that until you collapse and die.

5) We claim to be “fighting the terrorists” in Iraq, but in fact our presence is helping to create more terrorists. The disaster in Iraq serves as a great training and recruiting tool for an entire generation of terrorists. It’s like trying to kill a gremlin by dousing him in water.

6) KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies have huge pull in our government (such as the vice presidency). So essentially they decide when the war is over. They also happen to be making millions upon millions of dollars from the war. So asking them to decide when the war is over, is like asking an ugly guy cast in a movie where he gets to kiss the beautiful girl to decide when the scene is over. Chances are the scene would go on for months, if not years. The entire crew would be standing around asking, “It’s not over yet? When will we know when it’s time to end it?” And the ugly guy would respond, “Um, it’s a bad idea to set timetables. Just trust me on this.”

NY Catholic Mom said...

Anonymous, loved your analogies. They are perfect.

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