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November 07, 2006



Being a "Respect-for-Lifer" who has marched the March For Life many a time, I applaud Mr. Card's analysis.


Realist, this could be an historic day. We finally agree on something. (Actually, I also liked the blonde joke you posted about a year ago).


Mr Card talks of changing Muslim countries into liberal democracies. But I don't think Islam and liberal democracy are compatible. Democratic elections in Algeria and in the Palestinian territories have resulted in Islamic fundamentalists being elected to office. Secular Muslim countries - Turkey, the Shah's Iran - have been able to remain so only by being brutally authoritarian. Forcing liberal democracy on Muslim counties could succeed only by riding roughshod over Muslim beliefs and traditions and replacing them with western decadence. In my view, too high a price.

I have an alternative proposal. Divide Iraq into three, then get out. Get out of Afghanistan. Leave the Israelis to fight their own battles, they've got the A-bomb after all. Leave the Muslims alone, and - this is my honest view - they'll leave you alone. Western Catholics should concentrate on restoring Catholicism in the west, instead of crusading to make the world safe for Hollywood, Coca-Cola and pornography.


"Leave the Muslims alone, and-this is my honest view-they'll leave you alone."

"Peace in our time"-Neville Chamberlain, 1938.

If the Islamo-faschists were rational people, that might work. But if they were rational people, they wouldn't be Islamo-faschists. It's been my experience that evil respects nothing but superior force.

Joy Schoenberger

As a faithful Mormon, Orson Scott Card has some obviously non-Catholic views on a number of matters, as evidenced most clearly in his novel Stone Tables, an attempt to tell the story of Moses from the LDS perspective. He does have an excellent grasp on certain topics, though:

"The argument...that homosexual tendencies are genetically ingrained in some individuals is almost laughably irrelevant. We are all genetically predisposed toward some sin or another; we are all expected to control those genetic predispositions when it is possible."

Tim J.

I also don't think that the policy of "ignore it, maybe it will go away" will work with the Islamo-fascist-jihadi-wackos.

But I do think it is obvious that what we are doing in Iraq is no longer productive. We have reached the limits of our usefulness in trying to engineer the internal politics of another country. We should remain long enough for the new government to have a fighting chance, and then pour all of our strength into Afghanistan - turn it into a big ole' military base.

I posted this at Mark Sheas yesterday -

"I, for one, am ready to take responsibility for supporting the Bush administration in its decision to invade Iraq.

Against the advice of critics of the "preemptive war" strategy, I backed Bush, figuring that he and his advisors were elected and paid to know about these things and to make the tough decisions. I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

I was wrong. Preemptive war is a bankrupt strategy. The benefit of the doubt should never fall on the side of armed aggression, and we should never go to war again until it is forced on us. Otherwise, there simply will never be the political will needed to WIN a war.

I now believe that this was not a just war. President Bush may have sincerely believed it was, but I now have to disagree.

I apologize to the families of all those killed and injured in Iraq, that my credulity helped to put your loved ones in harm's way.

I am now with those who said before the war that sanctions were working... HOWEVER, before anyone begins to pat themselves on the back for their humanitarianism, I want to clarify what "sanctions" mean in this context. "Sanctions", as they were used against Iraq between the Gulf Wars, are another word for what used to be called "seige warfare".

We laid siege to Iraq for a decade or so, cutting off trade and supplies, laying waste to their infrastructure and economy, and resulting in the deaths of about a half-million Iraqi children, not to mention adults - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira.../ Iraq_sanctions

In addition, Saddam managed to buy off those at the UN who administered the program, so that although his country was wrecked, his regime was sitting pretty.

One (perhaps the only) worthwhile effect of the sanctions was that Iraq was rendered practically incapable of military aggression. Saddam was neutered.

So, yes, sanctions were working in that sense. But they are not pretty, they are not much more humane than all-out war, if they are at all.

What they do have going for them (over military action) is that they do not cost American lives, they are cheap to administer, and they can be engaged in while preserving critical alliances and maintaining our international image as the "good guy". They leave open certain diplomatic possibilities.

Those who supported continuing sanctions over against the idea of a military invasion ought to understand the effects of that policy before clucking over civilian deaths.

Sanctions ARE preferable to all-out war, but they are still a dirty business.

We should stay in Iraq until their government has a fighting chance to stabilize, and then pour all our strength into Afghanistan.

We should also seriously restrict immigration (especially from unfriendly regions), build that fence along the entire southern border, and take a hard look at the northern border, too.

And we ought to double troop strength ASAP, IMHO."

Tim J.

The above comments are not to say that I think the Dems ought to be in charge... I plan to cheerfully vote against them again this year.

Hand them the reigns and we'll likely be speaking Arabic in a few decades.

But the GOP has been a sore disappointment.



I agree with you.
I am very disappointed with the job the Republicans have done.
But I still voted GOP for two reasons:
1.The War...it is essential that we not lose
2.I am very pro-life



We have reached the limits of our usefulness in trying to engineer the internal politics of another country. We should remain long enough for the new government to have a fighting chance, and then pour all of our strength into Afghanistan.

That is a serious point of view, which also happens to be the consensus Democratic policy. This, however, is neither:

Hand [Democrats] the reigns and we'll likely be speaking Arabic in a few decades.

Please. If we have been that successfully -- what's the word? -- terrorized, then well ...

M. Archangelo

It all solidifies my conviction that what the two-party system has become is a choice between "Dumb" and "Evil." Please assign the titles as you see fit.


Here are my thoughts and ramblings.

The Eternal Principles that Christ taught not only apply to individuals, they apply to nations as well. It seems that people believe governments are exempt from them.

If we're to be pro-life shouldn't we oppose war, as Christ did?

If as a nation we're to espouse the philosophy of life and freedom shouldn't we prohibit the killing of the innocent here at home before we claim some moral high ground and talk the talk without walking the walk? A certain political party claims to be pro-life but never mentions a Constitutional ban on abortion yet they'll dangle another carrot before good Christian people by talking up a ban on gay "marriage." Abortion is illegal in most Islamic nations, I wonder how they feel when Westerners who "harbor and legally protect killers of the innocent" go there and try to tell them how to run their show?

It is said that backing out of Iraq would dishonor our real heroes, the troops. Our troops, unlike politicians are carrying the load here and my prayers go out for them. Here's something to think about when you hear about dishonoring our military personnel. If a trade agreement is signed with Communist Vietnam so somebody can obtain the cheapest of labor, would that also dishonor the 58,000+ troops that died fighting said Communists? Remember when we cut and run from Vietnam and called it "Peace with honor?"

Would Christ take care of the greedy at the expense of the needy? Would Christ look down on the poor and say they're poor because they're immoral, lazy, etc.?

It was said here that the Democrats were h*llbent on losing the war. Strange, because the current administration has chosen to ignore sound advice from not only the military but the people with knowledge and experience in the region. Even the biggest proponents of this war of convenience have done 180° on this Iraq thing. If you don't change the leadership and give another solution a chance you'll end up with the same "stay the course" mentality which has and will continue to take valuable human life and foster ill will towards the country. If leadership is h*llbent on ignoring sound advice isn't that also dishonoring our troops?

I don't think that Christ would retaliate like a drunken sailor; swinging and connecting with parties who were known not to have any connection to the initial act of provocation. I don't think that Christ would swing without giving serious thought to all of the facts and listening to others who are in the know.

But, Christ wouldn't take a swing and we think that nations are somehow magically exempt from His principles. With whom and what are your allegiances? Christ then a temporal entity or the disoriented reciprocal? Blessed are the peacemakers.

Christ's Church must not use political solutions as a crutch in spreading and protecting the Gospel. Good people are elected and most often change their stripes after they're in office. When re-election time comes around they'll go back to making the same campaign promises they made the first time around. Proof that man's solutions never work and that our Lord and life's purpose transcends what worldly politics can ever dream to achieve. Good government or bad, Christ's Church has to do His work.

R vs. W may never be overturned and Fr. Robert Spitzer gives some interesting background on the issue of abortion. Legalized abortion is a way to nullify God given rights of life, dignity etc. This nullification is a totalitarian's best friend. What's interesting in relation to this is that the mechanations for totalitarianism seem to be manifesting under the guise of "security." Our security is with Christ, remember?

Terrorists, terrorism and terror cannot take away freedom. Terrorists can only engage in extreme behavior with the hope that their targets will react in a terrified and radical fashion. It seems that they've been able to scare people into giving up check and balances, accountability, compassion and reason. Freedom is taken away by invading armies and intrusive legislation. Our spiritual apathy and leaning on crutches of man have made the ground fertile for all the wrong things to flourish.

Life, abortion and war are important issues but it is our duty as Christians to spread Truth without the help of politics and governments. We need to understand where our strength really comes from and who we can really trust.

If we won the war on global poverty we'd most likely not even have a war on terror. I think it's greed that is listed as the most deadly of sins.

If radical Islamists or some other group took over the country or world, who is to blame? A lack of man-made legislation? Christians need to - really be and act like Christians - and do the hard spiritual work necessary to be Christians. Kingdoms and nations come and go but God and our duty to serve Him His way will never change or cease to exist.

If we don't take up The Cross and do Christ's work, the best government we could ask for still wouldn't sufficient in the eyes of God.

Tim J.

"If we're to be pro-life shouldn't we oppose war, as Christ did?"

Except he didn't.

"Would Christ take care of the greedy at the expense of the needy?"

No. Who is doing that?

"Terrorists, terrorism and terror cannot take away freedom."

They sure took it from about 3000 people at once on 9/11.

Look, I agree that we can't really count on government to fix society's problems or do the work of the Church. I am a Catholic first, and everything else comes after.

But if you actually believe these old canards about Republicans victimizing the poor, I think you need to get out more. Republicans have done more to actually help the poor than all the misguided "charity" of the left. We have the highest employment rate in the developed world, which works a darn sight better than Johnson's "Great Society" ever did. It was the left that gave us "the projects".

I actually agree with a good bit of what you said, but the whole "Republicans hate the poor" thing is just a Democratic fantasy, trotted out every time some bureaucrat is about to have his/her bloated budget cut.

There hasn't been much of that under this Congress, though, which is the problem. They have been spending money like... well, like Democrats.

And though I now think that the Iraq war was a mistake, I don't see how pulling out like we did in Mogadishu (which delighted Osama Bin Laden) is going to help.

But, the Dems have their hands on the purse strings, having won the House yesterday. Congratulations. Let's see what they DO, now.

Dan E.

Tim J.,
Your note, IMHO, sounds disingenuous. How can one believe for three years or so that the war was just and only now come to the realization that it is unjust? What was your rationale at the time we invaded and how has that changed? Just because it wasn’t an in-and-out cakewalk made the war unjust?

Sanctions weren’t working as is evidenced by the recent news that Saddam was continuing his nuclear program. Don’t forget that Saddam violated UN resolution after resolution (17 in all) since the Gulf War designed to ensure that Iraq did not pose a threat to international peace and security. Saddam Hussein repeatedly violated each of the following resolutions:

UNSCRs 678, 686, 687, 688, 707, 715, 949, 1051, 1060, 1115, 1134, 1137, 1154, 1194, 1205, 1284, (and the infamous) 1441.

To recall just what UNSCR 1441 stated:
• Called for the immediate and complete disarmament of Iraq and its prohibited weapons.
• Iraq must provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA full access to Iraqi facilities, individuals, means of transportation, and documents.
• States that the Security Council has repeatedly warned Iraq and that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations.

Also, as you hinted in your note, the oil-for-food scandal at the UN curbed any effect sanctions were having.

Most importantly, and something everyone seems to have forgotten:
According to the Justice Dept. indictment of Nov. 4, 1998, charging Usama bin Ladin (UBL) with murder in the two African US Embassy bombings, “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.”

September 11 Commission investigators also confirmed that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with UBL himself in the Sudan as early as 1994. To quote commission chairman Tom Kean, “Were there contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq? Yes, some of them were shadowy, but they were there.”

An often overlooked statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was/is against the US war in Iraq also lends some justification to our being there. Putin said, “After September 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services…received information that officials from Saddam’s regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the US military and other interests.”

This is a just war. Saddam had to go. Fundamentalist Islam (I won’t call it radical) must be confronted. Terrorism must be defeated.

Dan E.

Eastern Christian,

To argue against the Battle in Iraq, which is a front in the War on Terror, on a pro-life basis is dangerous and does a great disservice to those who honestly espouse the Just War theory and support the anti-abortion cause.

Let me put things in perspective here:

We have lost approximately 2,500 military personnel in a war that has been waged for the better part of four years.
6,821 Americans died in a little over one month of fighting over an 8 mile square uninhabitable island called Iwo Jima, in 1945.

Granted, many civilians have also died, a tragedy which infects all wars.
But the abortion holocaust cost America alone 1,312,990 innocent lives in one year alone (Statistics for year 2000. Alan Guttmacher institute, Planned Parenthood’s special research affiliate monitoring trends in the abortion industry.)

This idea that we who are pro-life should be against war for the same reason flies in the face of reason itself. Imagine what the world would look like if the United States laid down its weapons. I have no doubt that the celebration of Christmas this year would be forbidden by our Muslim rulers. And Easter? Forget about it!

We must do all we can to end abortion. Unfortunately, the election of Democrats this year has created a huge stumbling block in our way. But let us not claim that being anti-war is the same as being anti-abortion.

Tim J.

"Your note, IMHO, sounds disingenuous. How can one believe for three years or so that the war was just and only now come to the realization that it is unjust?"

Believe me, Dan, I understand that perspective. I have written a few posts on Iraq, and have echoed your sentiments almost exactly.

I have not changed my mind suddenly or without a certain amount of indigestion.

I am trying to apply the Catholic understanding of Just War to the situation, and admittedly, the criteria may not always mesh exactly with what we Americans see as legitimate security concerns. I think that President Bush did what he thought needed doing, I just think that he and his advisers, and those who supported them, made a mistake.

Preemptive war sounded more reasonable after 9/11, with the prospect of WMDs being circulated by nefarious governments. Saddam carefully crafted the appearance that he was still a threat because he didn't want to lose face in the Islamic world, or even in his own country.

The red flag that I missed was the fact that this was clearly an optional war. We could have dealt with Saddam through other means, covert and otherwise. I have already given my perspective on sanctions. Iraq's ability to make war had been completely eroded.

One of the requirements for a just war is that it be unavoidable, another is that the effects of the war are not worse than what is being defended against. There also needs to be a clear and reasonable likelihood of success.

Removing Saddam is an objectively good thing, but it must be admitted now that the tremendous expense, loss of life (on both sides) strained relations with allies and loss of esteem overseas make its necessity debatable. We already had a military presence in the Middle East (in Afghanistan) and ALSO had the cooperation and even the admiration of many who now see us (mistakenly) as an expansionist empire.

I trusted the Bush administration to calculate correctly the risks and benefits of such an undertaking. I believed in the necessity of the war, and so I take responsibility for being part of that large majority who did likewise. Dems who voted to support the war (like John Kerry) need to take responsibility, too, if they are going to attack Bush. I don't think he misled anybody, I just think he (and we) made the wrong call.

Now that we are IN Iraq, we need to do everything we can to leave the place in better shape than we found it, politically and otherwise, so the job our military is doing is still very, very important and we owe them all a tremendous debt. They have shown, again, that they will put everything on the line when called to do so.

Iraq may have been an optional war, but just bugging out now is not an option, or at least it is an option without honor.

You and many others may disagree with me, and I may be wrong, but right now, this is how I see it.

Now, if Saddam's WMDs turn up in Syria, we will have a different conversation.

Tim J.

Oh, and I should point out, I still think the Republicans, on the whole, are going to be much better against the terror threat than the Dems, many of whom seem to think that the first thing we should have done after 9/11 was to apologize for our Mideast policy.

We'll see, won't we?


I have to say that I am with EasternChristian almost 100%. I think it is delusional to think that Republican pro-life pandering is any more than that - pandering. I am sure there are in fact many sincere pro-lifers in politics, but as a Party, it is just pandering.

Abortion is a monstrous and God-mocking practice that is in no way or at any time justified. However, it is not the only SERIOUS issue out there nowadays. If we pulled our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, no, the Islamist terrorists would not stop their war on the West because those military conflicts are only part of the problem. There are many issues that these extremists and other peaceful, disaffected Muslims have with us - Republican or Democrat. Our support for Israel, our involvement in the oil industry, our support for the Saudi royal family, our hypocritical dealings with dictators throughout the past several decades - all conducted under Republican AND Democratic governments.

But the "stay the course" mentality is only worsening the situation in the Middle East and destabilizing a region that is a powder keg in the best of times. The present Administration's unwillingness or inability to listen to experts or admit mistakes has sunk our reputation on the world stage, and our civil liberties have been steadily under attack since 9/11/2001. We have had to weather the disgusting "debate" over whether torture is legal. TORTURE? In the USA? What happened? Attacks on habeas corpus (a legal concept that goes back at least to the Magna Carta), prisoners held without charges indefinitely, rendition to torture-friendly countries - our country is a mess.

I know that you cannot simply list abortion as one issue among a hundred others, but we also have to be realistic about what we can change. We have had a Republican government for years now - and yet there has been no significant challenge to the abortion status quo. I don't think anyone, Republican or Democrat, will ever actually do anything about abortion. They may talk the talk and publicly support pro-life lawsuits in the courts, but they will not risk their political careers by actually doing anything.

With abortion being held up as a constitutional "right", it will take a very long time to reach a point where the SCOTUS will overturn that. So I believe that there are very weighty reasons why someone doesn't have to toe the Neocon Catholic/Republican "Party of God" line. It is not permissible to support a pro-abortion politician because he is pro-abortion, but when circumstances require, you might have to accept the lesser of two evils in order to exercise your civic duty to vote. Whether those circumstances actually exist, I honestly believe that people of good will and orthodox Catholicism can disagree.

Kyrie eleison.

Dan E.


Let me share a quote with you from Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick:
"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Read that last sentence again. Abortion is THE issue. The battle in Iraq, which may be argued was unnecessary or critical in the fight against terrorism, has cost thousands of lives over the course of nearly four years. But abortion has killed millions of innocent children over that same time span. Millions.

Republicans, especially President Bush, have done a lot over the last six years to try to end this holocaust. Have you forgotten about the Partial Birth Abortion ban that W signed into law, or the banning of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research? Or most importantly, the selections of John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court? These are great steps in the right direction that would not have happened under Democrat administrations.

You wrote: "It is not permissible to support a pro-abortion politician because he is pro-abortion, but when circumstances require, you might have to accept the lesser of two evils in order to exercise your civic duty to vote." After reading the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger, can you tell me what evil is greater than abortion that would allow you to vote for a politician who supports it?

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