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The Pope and Iraq(24 posts)

The Pope and IraqCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 7:12 AM
I am very disappointed in the Pope's comments on Iraq. He stated that war against Iraq is immoral without U.N. approval. So just when is morality defined by acceptance? Since not even 1/2 of the world is even Christain, does that necessarily make Christianity immoral?
"peace for oil"?DougSloan
Mar 14, 2003 7:31 AM
If that's the standard, I'd say then just disband the UN right now. I think NOT doing something about a murdering dictator is immoral. Some people's sense of perspective is really screwed up here.

If the UN existed at the time, I wonder how long it would have taken to "allow" military action against the Nazis, or even voice disapproval? Think France would have vetoed? Probably. I just can't understand the world's acceptance of freedom hating, murdering (even genocidal), ruthless dictators. "Yes, we agree he is evil, but let's keep negotiating with him," (while he prepares himself for war) is the party line. It really makes me want us to be isolationist again.

I have a strong suspicion there is an ulterior motive here on the part of some countries. They are either making a lot of money trading with Iraq, or they have some sweet black market oil contracts they don't want screwed up. If that were true, do you think many of the Bush opponents would change their minds? Maybe some countries have a "peace for oil" incentive?

Doug
Jaques friendship w/ SaddamCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 7:50 AM
I know it is off the beaten path from my Pope question, but I picked up on your comment about ulterior motives. FoxNews (admittingly it is a conservative station) has been talking about Jacques personal friendship with Saddam. When France built two nuclear reactors for Iraq in the 1970's, Saddam visited Jacques in France on two occasions. Also, even during these diplomatic negotiations, shipments of military parts have been flowing into Iraq from France, although Fox admits that they do not kow if the French government is directly involved.
Morality and Ulterior MotivesJon Billheimer
Mar 14, 2003 8:25 AM
You guys and your morality lectures! In 1983 Rumsfeld was in Iraq personally schmoozing Saddam (newspaper photos show him grinning and slapping Saddam on the back!)on behalf of the American gov't and business community. The U.S. licensed American companies to sell toxins to Saddam. The U.S. military was training Saddam in the military use of gas warfare and supplying him with weaponry. He was a murdering dictator then and is a murdering dictator now. So where's our national morality? Short term tactical expediency and long-term strategic stupidity seem to me to be the driving motives, not morality.
Slow down, HossCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 8:46 AM
The thread STARTED as a morality question, and we have not started discussing France. I think you are combining these two distinct ideas.

Please post evidence that the U.S. trained Saddam in the military use of gas warfare and supplied him with chemical weaponry.
Slow down, HossJon Billheimer
Mar 14, 2003 8:55 AM
The declassified government documents obtained by the press (I forget just who) were shown on CBC National News a few nights ago, along with press photos of Rumsfeld schmoozing Saddam on behalf of the U.S. business community. The report documented the fact that the American military was training the Iraqi military although the public line from the Reagan administration was that they knew nothing of this.
Conventional or chemical?Captain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 10:35 AM
I am aware that we supplied conventional armaments to Iraq; I just question your comment that we supplied chemical weapons and actually trained Iraq in the use of them.
Conventional or chemical?Jon Billheimer
Mar 14, 2003 10:54 AM
According to the CBC report and based upon the obtained documents there was some U.S. military training that involved chemical weapons. The report also stated that although the U.S. didn't officially condone the use of chemical weapons against Iran they turned a blind eye, simply because they feared Iranian expansionism was the greater evil.
It's not just a personal friendship...Dwayne Barry
Mar 14, 2003 8:39 AM
from what I've gathered. It's that Iraq has been France's strategic ally in the Middle East since they were rejected by the Israeli's (who in some sense picked us as their main ally) in the '70s. Much in the same way the Saudi's are are main muslim ally in the middle east now. My understanding is that the Bush administation F'd-up when they decided "disarming" Saddam was no longer the end-game but rather regime change was. I think the French see it as having too much invested in Iraq to throw it away. Add to this they're very large muslim population, and their inferiority complex, etc. and you get the current diplomatic debacle.

To put the shoe on the other foot. What do you think would be our response if the Soviets decided they needed to remove the Saudi Royal family because of their support for chechnya terrorists? I'm sure they could probably produce as much support for that as we have for al-quaeda link to Iraq, and what about the oppressive nature of the Saudi regime? How can the world stand-by and allow this immoral situation to go on?

Clearly, the Saudi's aren't as bad as Saddam, but let's not kid ourselves we ally ourselves with some pretty unsavory characters as well and we wouldn't hesitate to defend them if it was in our national interest (that's all the French are doing with Saddam).
There is somewhat of a differenceCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 8:51 AM
The relationship between France and US is way different from US and "Soviets". In this case, the French are alienating a supposed close ally.

Don't you think it is odd that they (France) are being so adament about not approving any more resolutions (in the name of peace), yet if there are no additional resolutions there is 100% chance for war (no piece)? It makes no sense.
The parallel situation...Dwayne Barry
Mar 14, 2003 9:53 AM
I was drawing was more to indicate to those that think this is justified on some moral grounds, rather than perceived national interest benefits, are kidding themselves.

Make sense? Well, I think war has been a forgone conclusion since we started the military build-up, the French are just trying to score as many points as possible on the world stage with everyong else. Remember this war is moderately unpopular here, largely unpopular in Europe, and overwhelmingly unpopular everywhere else.

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I can't imagine there is anything that can be done to avert the war (and it's been that way for awhile). I doubt even Saddam going into exile but "the regime" staying in power would prevent the war. We want to establish an islamic democracy in the middle east, by hook or crook, we're going to try it in Iraq. 9/11 and Saddam's continued disregard for the UN resolutions provide a somewhat justifiable excuse for doing so.
No disagreements from meCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 10:41 AM
I would add that the latest polls show that 74% of people in the U.S. now favor military action against Iraq.

Also, Bush stated that he was committed to a regime change one and a half years ago. There was no public outcry back then. And the U.N. did nothing back then to try to avert a war.
There is somewhat of a differenceFredrico
Mar 14, 2003 10:24 AM
One thing the French have always had in common with the US is a certain moral certitude, or "arrogance." The French political leaders, as well as most of their constituency, believe very firmly that attacking a country which poses no imminent threat, that is, who is not preparing to attack you, is against international law. The more evidence comes in, the fishier the US case becomes. Where are the biological and chemical weapons? Hussein claims they were destroyed after the first Gulf War. The aluminum pipes aren't necessarily evidence of nuclear armament. A British analyst points out that biological as well as chemical weapons lose strength in storage, and that after ten years aren't very effective. We may very well find out soon.

A "pre-emptive strike" sets a dangerous precedent, an uncivilized flaunting of the rule of law, a regression to violence from negotiations and non-violent working out of problems, not to mention a slap in the face of the international community (the UN). The French leaders are saying of Bush, "This guy has no respect. We must take a moral stand against him."

And you know what? They're right.
What happens if...Captain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 10:44 AM
...we attack Iraq, and either Saddam uses WMD (which he claims he does not have) or we find evidence that he has been hoarding them. Would you back track and say that Bush was right?
Back-track?Fredrico
Mar 14, 2003 3:48 PM
Not really. By international law, a sovereign nation has the right to defend itself when attacked by another nation. In this case, the US is the aggressor. That makes the moral question relative: who is worse, the US for attacking Iraq, killing thousands of Iraqis, destroying millions of dollars of Iraqi property, or Iraq for unleashing WMDs on American troops?

Even if Bush is right, and Hussein has WMDs, to warrant retribution, he must use them. Starting a war with him is sure a dangerous way to find out.
That's not our stated objectiveCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 7:12 PM
We said FROM THE BEGINNING that the purpose was to DISARM Iraq. They AGREED to do it in 1992. If you are saying that we are immoral because we are enforcing their agreement with the U.N., then why have the U.N. and why pass resolutions in the first place? It just seems to me that the Liberal stance on this issue just does not hold water, and no one can make me think otherwise.
Back-track?purplepaul
Mar 14, 2003 7:44 PM
You must be joking. You are joking, aren't you? You must be.

Iraq a sovereign nation. Okay. Then why has the UN permitted military flights over northern and southern Iraq? Why has the UN sanctioned Iraq repeatedly? Why is Iraq not allowed to sell its oil on the open market? Why is Iraq not allowed to buy Sony Playstations? Sovereign nation indeed.

Who is worse? Well, America was attacked Sept. 11th and we didn't respond with nukes or other WMD. Do you truly see no moral difference between Sadam and Bush?

For the record, the US did supply Iraq with biological and chemical weapons in the 1980's. As did France and Germany and, later, Russia (even after Sadam used them on his own people). That was a really bad thing (unconscionable, really) and our leaders have not stepped up and taken responsibility. But I don't see how that's relevant to the current situation other than to prove that Sadam has WMD and knows how to use them.
Back-track?Fredrico
Mar 15, 2003 8:10 PM
No joke, man. Nobody's told Hussein Iraq is not a sovereign nation. Iraqis may be hurting from the trade sanctions the UN has imposed, but Hussein has merely tightened his grip on power. He still sells oil through backdoor deals with several middlemen, and I wouldn't doubt some of that oil makes it to US refineries.

If the stated objective is for Iraq to disarm, why is Bush now going for "regime change?" That's what makes the world suspicious. Bush doesn't just want to destroy Hussein's weapons. He wants to take over Iraq. For one thing, thar's a bunch of awl over 'ere, and we can't git enough of that awl. The wells are pretty much dry out in Texas. I wonder how those Texas oil magnates feel, now reduced to natural gas.

Hussein had nothing to do with the handful of terrorists who flew the jets into the World Trade Center. In fact, he gassed and burned Muslim fundamentalists in the war with Iran. Many pundits are wondering how Bush's war on terrorism got sidetracked to war on Iraq. They aren't in the same ball of wax, unless you are Arab and consider this the start of a war on Muslim nations in general.

Getting rid of Hussein is the first step in Bush's grand design, according to some pundits, to re-engineer, one by one, the rest of the Muslim countries surrounding Israel, so that little country the size of Houston, can breathe easier--and not suck up billions a year of the US foreign aid treasury. That's an honorable goal, but the general consensus outside Bush's little circle of Christian conservatives, is that its totally unrealistic. The obvious solution would be for Israel to grant the Palestinians full Israeli citizenship, the right to vote and run for political office, but that is also totally unrealistic.


Of course I see the evil of Hussein and the well-meaning good of President Bush. As Bush believes, he very well may be carrying out the will of God. But morality is about how you treat your fellow man. With regard to the newly emergent global village, Bush has a dismal record. He has shown contempt for international agreements to reduce global warming, contempt for anti-nuclear arms agreements. Now he cynically tries to use the UN as a lapdog to sanction his little venture in Iraq, saying he doesn't really need their permission nor help, and is going to attack Iraq anyway.

The way to deal with Hussein is as the UN is doing: inspections. He can't do anything when the inspectors are all over his country. Build up consensus, as we did in Kosovo and the first Gulf war, and act multi-laterally. Unilateral actions smack of imperialism, imply unspoken agendas, especially when the evidence justifying action is weak, some of it turns out to be fabricated, or non-existent. Going it alone is arrogant, self-serving, suspicious, untrustworthy. Is this what we want?
Back-track?purplepaul
Mar 15, 2003 10:40 PM
I doubt Sadam could have tightened his grip any more than it was. He's always ruled through fear and killing. Is he more ruthless now than he ever was? Perhaps that's one more reason to eliminate him.

I don't think Bush is going through this unpopular exercise just to help Israel (though would it be more acceptable if instead of Israel it was, say, France?). Remember, Israel was established with full legitimacy by "the world community." That so many consider it illegitimate suggests either anti-Semitism or the same lack of regard for "the world community" that the U.S. is being accused of now.

Since most Americans, I think, just want to live without fear, changing a lot of heinous regimes would help not just us but also the people who are now subjugated by them. Americans are not looking to enslave or pillage. Though the spoils usually go to the victors, the U.S. goes so far out of its way to help the vanquished it's almost laughable.

Oil, oil, oil. If we wanted it, we could have it now. Just lift the sanctions. Sorry, but that argument just doesn't cut it.

As for inspections working, not at all. Unless inspectors are going to be in Iraq forever, at some point Sadam will be free to do what he wants. I would argue that he already is free to do what he wants since we have a set of rules that make it so unlikely that we'll ever find anything. IF our "allies" had been serious about enforcing sanctions, there would be no need for force now. Frankly, I don't think it is a pity we are going to war. Yes, some civilians are likely to be killed, and that's a tragedy (though it reminds me of that old Star Trek where the civilization regularly sent a certain number of people to their deaths so that the survivors wouldn't have to go to war. Not a good solution). But the vast majority (like none of our enemies, we actually risk our own soldiers' lives rather than endanger civilians. Hopefully, that is a luxury we will be able to afford for a long time) will be liberated from a hellish nightmare that free people can not imagine. Will we screw up post-Sadam Iraq? I hope not. But certainly it couldn't be any worse.

Oh, and don't give me that crap about the sanctions killing innocent people in Iraq. Clearly, there is plenty of money there that could be used to buy food and medicine (I wonder how needy Iraqis feel when they hear that $25,000 is given to the families of Palestinian terrorists).
Back-track?Fredrico
Mar 16, 2003 2:38 PM
The world has a love-hate relationship with America. We are brash, rich, naive--and have sacrificed our treasure and blood fighting wars of liberation off our shores throughout our history. Everybody wants to come to America, the land of opportunity. If the Americans liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein, the world can only rejoice and the Iraqis can begin new lives.

Oil. Our government is proud. If we said, "Okay, we'll lift sanctions to get oil," that would be losing the moral high ground. As you said, we don't need Iraqi oil. That still doesn't mean certain of our oil barons aren't smacking their lips at the prospect of the US controlling Iraq, and the cut they'll get for re-developing the Iraqi oil industry.

Israel was set up mainly by the British, who were governing Palestine after WWII, helped by the US and Europe, definitely not by the Muslims who just happened to be occupying the region, during a period in history when nationalism, racism, religious bigotry, were pretty much the norm compared to today. UN researchers are now saying that Israel is one of the few remaing racist states in the world, and it doesn't take a genius to connect that to the Palestinian conflict, which in turn can be blamed for the rise of groups like Al Qaida, and terrorist acts, including the truly extraordinary destruction of the World Trade Center. You reap what you sow, or what goes around comes around. If the Zionists had made some accomodation to the Muslims already living in Palestine, we wouldn't be in this pickle.

Changing heinous regimes. That's so typically American. Naive ideological zealotry. Fight the Russians: give the Afghanis weapons they later use against us. Fight Iran: give Saddam tanks and guns. Don't question his gassing Iranian villagers. Fight Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist leader of Chile: engineer the coup by General Pinochet, who kills thousands of his political opposition. Fight the communists coming down through Cambodia into South Vietnam: Engineer General Lon Nol's coup, deposing Prince Sihanouk, the only political leader in Cambodia who could have prevented the rise of Pol Pot and millions of Cambodians killed. I could go on.

But you're right. The US will do the world another favor, and suffer the consequences year after year.
Back-track?purplepaul
Mar 16, 2003 8:47 PM
So, if everybody wants to come to America we must be doing something right (but you can't please all of the people...).

Should we not invade Iraq under any circumstances simply because some oil "barons" (if that's what you call the millions of people all over the world who invest in oil companies) may benefit? If our leaders are as morally corrupt as you are inferring, I think they could come up with something better than, "we're a gonna drop these here sanctions so we can get the oil."

Israel was established by the major world powers at the time and is as legitimate as any democratic country in the world (though I suspect you consider any dictatorship more legitimate and less oppressive than any democracy). Citing the UN's judgement of Israel as being one of the few remaining racist states in the world is probably the clearest example of the UN's overwhelming and incomprehensible bias. You can vote in Israel. You can be muslim in Israel. You can be buddist. Catholic. Gay. Conscientious objector. Carry a bible in Saudi Arabia or many other muslim countries, and you may forfeit your life. If you happen to have a vagina, well, let's just say that the only equivalent we have in this country is veal. But Israel's one of the few racist states. Oh, and Zionism is racism. And any country should just allow its citizens to be blown up in cafes and on buses. Hell, let's just give all our weapons to the Palestinians, they're so just. It may interest you to know that the U.S. is the largest single donor of money to the Palestinians (why, I have no idea as it gets us nothing and allows them to buy bombs). Not Arabs, not another muslim state. So your argument that Israel's conflict with the Palestinians outrages other muslims to action is bunk.

What we do know is that Arafat has a personal fortune of over $1 billion in French banks. He really cares about his people.

You reap what you sow, do you? Then what does that say about the Palestinians? If they had competent and uncorrupt leadership, they wouldn't be in this situation. Can Israel be unfair? Yes. Is it wrong for Israel to build settlements? Yes. But many countries have behaved equally or worse without the kind of moral outrage that accompanies anything Israel. And in no civilized country is it acceptable to kill anyone just because land is taken (collective punishment! Collective punishment! Well, what is it when Palestinians kill people who have absolutely nothing to do with the settlements? Where is your outrage over that?). That's what the law is for, not for being a bigger criminal than your foe. Why is it so hard for you to admit that the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians is immoral and self-chosen?

So if you want to take the side of people who don't believe in free speech, equality between the sexes, intellectual honesty and who state, unambiguously and with absolute racist bigotry, that the Jews should be pushed into the sea, and then back it up with the most heinous crimes imaginable, be my guest. I'm not such a masochist as you obviously are, nor do I embrace such wickedness (and though I should be stating the obvious, there IS a difference between intentionally targeting civilians and killing them accidentally).

Isn't it liberals who are accused of being ideologically naive? Let's send good thoughts to the Chinese in Tibet. Yeah, that'll work. We may have backed some really nasty regimes, but sometimes both sides are awful. If you have to take sides, it makes sense to choose the one that will benefit you the most. Not pretty. But reality often isn't. It is a blessing that we have freedom of the press to expose what our government does so that there can be, if not real accountability, at least a change in policy when things get too out of line. Most of our enemies don't grant their people or outsiders that priviledge. Thus, it's easy to manipulate people's "good" wishes.

As for changing regimes
yepMJ
Mar 14, 2003 10:08 AM
that's what the pope is saying - christianity is immoral and failing to bow down to American hegemony will result in the perpetrator burning in hell

you know the Pope is probably Polish-French anyways - he's certainly anti-American for disagreeing - he should be reminded about American sacrifices in WW2 - maybe you could send him a postcard or arrange a visit to let him know how you feel...
Pope and Mussolini?DougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 8:34 AM
What was the then Pope's relationship with Mussolini, and Mussolini's view of Catholicism? I don't remember anything about this from history class. If we hadn't freed Europe, where would the Roman Catholic Church, as we know it, be?

Doug
recentlyMJ
Mar 17, 2003 9:25 AM
or I think recently anyways I read that the Vatican apologised for condoning or promoting or supporting fascism during WW2 - in particular Mussolini - so I don't think they were fighting the good fight

the Catholic Church is not a good bench mark to measure much of anything by - corruption and collusion have been long standing and recurring features in the Catholic church (not that it's all bad)