Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The # 1 News story--he's so important!
The # 2 News story, this animal is so important! 
 Jimmy Kimmel cries over the killing of Cecil the Lion above by an American dentist hunter in Zimbabwe and advocates for the lion, so precious is his life:
 This isn't a News story at all, completely unimportant compared to football criminals and lions who tug at your heart and comedians who cry at their demise!
I'm watching CBS Morning News this morning and the lead story and a lengthy one is all about Tom Brady, a sideshow in NFL Football, a billion dollar industry. Never mind about the actual news, celebrity trumps actual news. CBS is entertainment, news is a sideshow.

 I just watched on CBS This Morning about the international outrage over the death of Cecil a lion in Zimbabwe. Jimmy Kimmel actually started to cry during his comedy routine talking about it. A 15 year old lion was shot by a hunter who lured the famous lion out of a preserve. It is sad. But is it as sad as millions upon millions of babies being slaughtered through abortion and Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of those they murder?  Does Jimmy Kimmel cry on national TV over that? No , he knows better than to do that as he would be blacklisted by the industry as would-be or suspected communists were in the 1950's! Liberals know no shame, as conservatives in the1950's!!!!

Father George Rutler in his article in First Things pretty well sums up the evils of liberalism. Of course liberalism is a political category but more and more assigned to the Catholic Faith or at least some of the Faithful, although that can be debated (being faithful, that is). Certainly we have seen on these pages that conservatives can be heterodox too. I fight the losing battle of trying to promote the correct category of critique in the Church, that of orthodox and heterodox, or faithfulness and unfaithfulness, but most prefer the politicized conservative and liberal labels.

But here is Fr. Rutler's erudite article and I just love his use of similes. My high school English teacher would give him an A+.

The Pity of Christ

Christ cannot be psychoanalyzed because he is perfect.  It would be like seeking flaws in pure crystal or long shadows at high noon. That is why he may seem from our fallen state in a singularly ill-contrived world as both severe and merciful, ethereal and common, rebellious and routine, rustic and royal, solitary and brotherly, young and ageless.  His perfection is a stubborn enigma to the imperfect, but if there is to be one hint of the art that moves his mind, it will be in his pity.  It will be in his pity for the whole world when he weeps over Jerusalem; but most wrenchingly it will be in his pity for each soul when he sees us scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd.

He warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt.7:15) and that disguise was the cunning deceit and dark tragedy of the modern age.  The modern wolves, those seductive tyrants and demagogues, wandered freely and devoured as they did because they were given fertile pasture and friendly forests by a stranger creature in more subtle disguise. Churchill detected it when he called Clement Attlee a sheep in sheep’s clothing.  Here is the moral weakling who thinks the wolf is a sheep because he sees no difference between the two and if he did, he could not care less.  Malcolm Muggeridge wrote in “The Great Liberal Death Wish”:

Not Bolshevism, which Stalin liquidated along with all the old Bolsheviks; not Nazism, which perished along with Hitler in his Berlin bunker; not Fascism, which was left hanging upside down, along with Mussolini and his mistress, from a lamp-post—none of these, history will record, was responsible for bringing down the darkness on our civilization, but liberalism. A solvent rather than a precipitate, a sedative rather than a stimulant, a slough rather than a precipice, blurring the edges of truth, the definition of virtue, the shape of beauty; a cracked bell, a mist, a death wish.

Now that Planned Parenthood has been exposed for those who have willfully been blind during these years of its atrocities, all that its CEO could sheepishly manage to say of a Senior Director of Medical Services sipping wine as she cited prices for infants’ body parts, was that her “tone” was “inappropriate” and “unacceptable.”  Cecile Richards, who employs Dr. Nucatola, draws a salary of half a million dollars from the $528 million dollars of taxpayers money which our government contributed last year to Planned Parenthood’s annual budget.  That same week, 94-year-old Oskar Gröning, who had been a functionary in Auschwitz, was convicted by a German court on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.  He admitted knowing something was wrong when a camp guard grabbed a crying baby and smashed its head against a wall.  With untutored diction and uncoordinated syntax, Dr. Nucatola blithely spoke of ways to crush a baby’s skull. Affecting Latinity with which we may assume she is otherwise unfamiliar, she called it a “calvarium.”  Has anyone heard of Calvary?  In terms of the number of inflicted deaths and consequent dismemberments and experiments, Dr. Nucatola makes Dr. Mengele seem like Florence Nightingale.

Yet Richards, a sheep in sheep’s clothing, could only manage to say that her “tone” was “inappropriate” and “unacceptable.”  But the next day, Richards angrily backtracked and insisted that such horrific procedures promote scientific research. Benjamin Franklin said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” Richards ruined it. Her words were a descant on those of the Nazi doctor Julius Hallerworden, trying to justify himself at the 1945 Nuremberg trials: “If you are going to kill all these people, at least take the brains out so that the material may be utilized.” A few days later, and awkwardly for Richards who insisted that the body parts were not being sold for profit, another “medical director,” the coarse Mary Gattner was filmed saying, “It’s  been years since I’ve talked about compensation, so let me find out what others are getting, and if it’s in the ballpark then that’s fine. And if it’s still low, then we can bump it up—I want a Lamborghini,”

For several years, the Manhattan headquarters of Planned Parenthood have been directly across the street from my church and its school building, where children learn to read and write while smaller children are being dismembered in the opposite building.  They have sold their 70,000 square feet of condominium space for $35 million and have moved downtown near the Church of Our Lady of Victory where I also once served.  I thought of the dutiful exterminator—an indispensable figure in New York—who came with his fatal sprays on Memorial Day.  I expressed surprise that he had come on a holiday, to which he replied, “Rev, roaches don’t take holidays.”  True, they move from one place to another, always “roaming about” like Satan—and like abortionists.

At the time of the Planned Parenthood exposé, a young Muslim killed five armed forces personnel in Chatanooga and the White House issued no formal statement.   During a conversation on other matters, President Obama managed sheepishly to say that it was a “heartbreaking circumstance” and then he issued a statement wishing Muslims  “Eid Mubarak”—a blessed last day of Ramadan—and in New York, rather than dimming in grief, the Empire State Building was lit up in Islamic green lights. One remembered how Obama said in a United Nations speech in 2013: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” While he was quick to go into deep mourning for Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Freddie Gray, Obama neglected to grieve for Kathryn Steinle whose murder by an illegal immigrant was politically inconvenient.  Only after several days did he yield to public pressure and lower the White House flag to half mast for the soldiers.

In contrast, a mere few hours after the Supreme Court decision on same-sex unions, he had the White House, a national building, turned into a political billboard illuminated in rainbow colors.  Obama’s “heartbreaking” epicene angst was another instance of a sheep in sheep’s clothing, and as the bodies of the soldiers were being prepared for burial, he attended a Broadway show and played a round of golf.  The liberal death wish became raucous when CNN national security analyst Tom Fuentes said of the shooter Muhammad Youssed Abdulazeez, “I know what the name sounds like, but we don’t know it’s a Muslim name.” Now, the murderer was not Luther Abdulazeez, or Calvin Abdulazeez, or Wesley Abdulazeez.  There are few Lutheran or Presbyterian or Methodist chaps baptized Muhammad.

In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis called these sheep in sheep’s clothing “men without chests” because their perception of reality lacks objective moral reason.  Consequently, they really have no heart, if the heart is the seat of a righteous will, and thus they are ruled by whim, incapable of courage. The eagle on the Great Seal of the United States has arrows and an olive branch, but the sheep in sheep’s clothing would carry a limp pre-Raphaelite lily.  For them infanticide is no big matter provided it is described in gentle tones; and the shooting of unarmed soldiers (deprived of defensive weapons by the sheep in sheep’s clothing) is just “heartbreaking.”  That is easy to say for men without true hearts, but it is not what men with chests would say. Varro did not wispily call the slaughter of his sixteen legions at Cannae “heartbreaking,” nor did Boudicca of her 80,000 lost men, nor did Lincoln when cannons fired on Fort Sumter, nor did Congress when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  For that matter, Jesus did not say that the collapse of the tower of Siloam was heartbreaking.  He said, Repent (Luke 13:4).  And we know what he said about those who harm the least of these little ones.  From the depths of the sea, they may find the “tone” of God’s judgment “inappropriate.”  And they will learn that Obama’s blasphemous prayer in Washington on April 26, 2013,  “God bless Planned Parenthood,” fell on deaf ears in the heavenly realms.

It is telling that Obama once masqueraded as an august moral paragon to define sin as “Being out of alignment with my values.”  Thus speaks the sheep in sheep’s clothing.  Thus speak men without chests.  They are in our legislatures, and universities and corporate headquarters and sometimes sadly in our churches, for offensive to the Good Shepherd is a sheepish shepherd who has no chest on which to hang his pectoral cross.  Their fabricated world is like the Ivor Novello song “The Land That Might Have Been” that dreams: “Somewhere there is another land / Different from this world.”  In that other land, it is even considered courageous for those without chests to proclaim that men are women and women are men, and that marriage can be turned inside out by the opinion of a Supreme Court judge who lamely thinks that he is a philosopher by the merits of ingenious telepathy from Hell.  But because “The Land that Might Have Been” is fantasy and not Heaven, it is devoid of all joy and soaked in perpetual melancholy.

General Patton was thought by some not to have much pity.  But he had a chest.  When he entered Ohrdruf, the sub-camp of Buchenwald, his reaction to the corpses and crematoria surprised his soldiers.  He did not say the lurid scene was “inappropriate” or “unacceptable” or “heartbreaking.” He bent over and vomited.  And the medals on his chest rattled. When the people who lived outside the camps protested that they did not know what had been going on, General Eisenhower ordered them to walk through the fetid buildings and look at the corpses.  Perhaps there will be a day when remnants of our sheepish generation are dragged through the moral carnage of our land and feel some of the pity that Christ feels for us.


Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, the sooner Obama is gone the more secure the US will be. I stand to be corrected, but don't think even Hillary Clinton could be worse. Watching Obama from a distance he has always seemed like a complete lightweight. I am sure Americans got caught up in the hype about electing the first black president and many must by now be regreting it. Despite what was said about George Bush he at least exerted some sort of control. I don't see Obama as being pro-American or patriotic. I don't think he stands behind the American flag at all and to me that makes him the worst president ever - Jimmy Carter included. Worse than useless is an apt description for him. He wasn't born in the US and it shows.


TCR said...

When I first read this article in Crisis Magazine, I wept. To see the truth put forth with clarity and eloquence both severed my heart and left me with a cool relief. Fr. Rutler writes in the courageous vein of a prophet and has suffered himself from the onslaught of modernism in the Church. His book, Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943, should be on every Catholic's reading list.

Anonymous said...

At least George Bush exerted some sort of control...? HUH?

1. He took us to war on false premises.
2. 45 million Americans lived without health insurance.
3. The deficit skyrocketed under his administration (off-the-books wars do that, don't you know)
4. He approved torture. (“The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” asserts that the “prohibition against torture” is a principle that “cannot be contravened under any circumstances” (No. 404). It quotes Pope John Paul II as saying:” Christ’s disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing can justify.” Pope Benedict XVI, in a 2007 talk to Catholic prison ministers, directly quoted the “Compendium.” He asserted: “Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the dignity of prisoners” must be avoided.)
5. He made no attempt to develop a sustainable energy policy.
6. SEC allowed investment banks to go unregulated

Etc etc etc

This is "control" that any nation could do without.

Carol H. said...

Fr. Rutler is a great example of what Bishops should be like.

Jdj said...

TCR, I'm with ya...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:57 - Obama gives me the impression of someone riding an out of control runaway dodgem cart and having no idea of how to stop it. He seems clueless. His speeches are inane. The fact he wasn't born in America I believe he lacks the natural love for the country that I would normally expect of the President of the US - regardless of politics every president of the US I have seen has been unreservedly American but not Obama and hence he stands up more for the Islamists than he ever does for US troops - both blacks and whites are speaking out against him or haven't you noticed?


Square, Uncool Catholic said...

As a conservative, I fear I have made the mistake of my personal political convictions and preferences coloring my view of the Church. I would warn the second anonymous here against making the same mistake. There are two sides to every story and much of what he complains of could be refuted or explained. But that is not the point, as much could be refuted or explained away of other politicians of either the left or the right or the overwhelming majority in Congress who are neither leftists or rightists, but simply selfists.

It is really getting tedious to hear people ask questions like, "What party would Jesus belong to?" I think He'd look at both parties and show them the same courtesy that He showed the moneychangers in the Temple.

Anonymous 2 said...

It is a good article insofar as it goes. And therein, as so often in such commentaries or blogs, lies the problem. Thus, it does not go far enough but seems to critique just one side of liberalism while leaving the other side virtually unscathed, although Father McDonald gestures in that direction in his comments about the multi-billion industry of NFL Football as does Square Uncool Catholic in his or her comments. Father Rutler references Malcolm Muggeridge’s famous lecture on “The Great Liberal Death Wish” and it is instructive to read or re-read Muggeridge’s lecture in its entirety as I just have. Here is a link:

The website is, tellingly enough, called “orthodoxy today” and Muggeridge’s views do seem consistent with orthodoxy. Thus, in addition to lamenting and condemning the holocaust of abortion and deriding the gullibility of Western liberals of the left who deluded themselves about Stalin, Muggeridge sweeps with a broad brush, as he should, and as the CCC does but as, sadly, Father Rutler does not. So, let Muggeridge speak:

“The efforts that men make to bring about their own happiness, their own ease of life, their own self-indulgence, will in due course produce the opposite, leading me to the absolutely inescapable conclusion that human beings cannot live and operate in this world without some concept of a being greater than themselves, and of a purpose which transcends their own egotistic or greedy desires. Once you eliminate the notion of a God, a creator, once you eliminate the notion that the creator has a purpose for us, and that life consists essentially in fulfilling that purpose, then you are bound, as Pascal points out, to induce the megalomania of which we've seen so many manifestations in our time - in the crazy dictators, as in the lunacies of people who are rich, or who consider themselves to be important or celebrated in the western world. Alternatively, human beings relapse into mere carnality, into being animals. I see this process going on irresistably, of which the holocaust is only just one example. If you envisage men as being only men, you are bound to see human society, not in Christian terms as a family, but as a factory--farm in which the only consideration that matters is the well--being of the livestock and the prosperity or productivity of the enterprise. That's where you land yourself. And it is in that situation that western man is increasingly finding himself. . . .

“Nothing that happens in this world need shake that feeling; all the happenings in this world, including the most terrible disasters and suffering, will be seen in eternity as in some mysterious way a blessing, as a part of God's love. We ourselves are part of that love, we belong to that scene, and only in so far as we belong to that scene does our existence here have any reality or any worth. All the rest is fantasy -- whether the fantasy of power which we see in the authoritarian states around us, or the fantasy of the great liberal death wish in terms of affluence and self-indulgence. The essential feature, and necessity of life is to know reality, which means knowing God. Otherwise our mortal existence is, as Saint Teresa of Avila said, no more than a night in a second--class hotel.”

If you read this in a fair minded way, you will see that Muggeridge rightly condemns the liberalism of the right as well as the liberalism of the left. He is also critical of exercises of raw power in the international arena such as in the British Empire). All must fall before orthodoxy.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

“Quite frankly, the sooner Obama is gone the more secure the US will be.”

Dream on!

Anonymous 2 said...

I have just run across the following remarks by feminist, atheist, supporter of free reproductive rights, and former member of Planned Parenthood Camille Paglia. Please read it because it underscores the importance of not tarring every apparent “liberal” with the same brush and thereby alienating potential allies in the so-called “culture wars.” The world and people are just way more complicated that we so often make them out to be:

Jusadbellum said...

Are we to re-litigate the Bush administration's actions so as to distract from Obama's? Are we really going to stoop to "tu quoque" arguments?

"He took us to war on false premises." FALSE. There were a DOZEN justifications for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Destroying stockpiles of WMDs was only one of many justifications. That Ssddam fooled not just the CIA BUT HIS OWN GENERALS is a fact - his stockpiles of WMDs from the 1980s existed but were salted throughout all his arms depots and not held in one place (as we would have done). Our troops found lots of Mustard, VX and Sarin filled shells. The NYT admitted as much as recently as this past spring.

"2. 45 million Americans lived without health insurance." so what? They lived without insurance under Clinton and Carter and LBJ too. Does that ipso facto make those presidents evil? No. Until the past 20 years health care costs didn't spike to the degree that INSURANCE was needed to pay for basic care.

"3. The deficit skyrocketed under his administration (off-the-books wars do that, don't you know)"
YES and the conservative base of the GOP wasn't giving him hi-fives for this either! We were (and are) FURIOUS. But Obama came in and DOUBLED the debt even MORE. So bringing up deficit spending is hardly a 'ding' on us. It's a ding on RINOs and Dems playing chicken with algebra and the history of national collapses based on the devaluation of currency (which is how virtually all empires have collapsed).

"4. He approved torture. (“The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” asserts that the “prohibition against torture” is a principle that “cannot be contravened under any circumstances” (No. 404). It quotes Pope John Paul II as saying:” Christ’s disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing can justify.” Pope Benedict XVI, in a 2007 talk to Catholic prison ministers, directly quoted the “Compendium.” He asserted: “Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the dignity of prisoners” must be avoided.)"

Yes, torture of less than 100 terrorists is a terrible thing. Meanwhile Obama presides gleefully over the continued promotion of abortion including partial-birth abortion and infanticide ala the Kermit Gosnells of the world and that doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Also - drone strikes against US citizens without trial seems a bit less controversial. Being hit by an anti-tank rocket is not quite the same thing as being water-boarded.

"5. He made no attempt to develop a sustainable energy policy." Seriously? OK so what IS a "sustainable" energy policy? windmills and solar panels? Google "base load" and get back to me. Bush promoted Nuclear energy.... you want to save the planet then join us promoting liquid salt Thorium reactors....

Also...merely being "for" something (ala Solidra) doesn't make you a champion of the planet.

"6. SEC allowed investment banks to go unregulated" WHO.SPENT.THE.STIMULUS.PACKAGE? WHO.WAS.IN.CHARGE.OF.THE.BAILOUTS.AND.THE.SEC? Seriously, Obama and boys have been in charge since 2009 and not a single prominent banker has gone to jail. Not one. Jon Corsine is a free man despite spending 1.5 billion dollars that didn't belong to him (i.e. he robbed the private accounts of investors unlawfully).

So we're to believe all the evil-doers and financial criminals only existed under Bush and have ceased to exist and commit crimes since 2009 because none have been tried and sent to prison since then? really?

Fish in a barrel in a barrel. There's no excuse for the crimes of the past 7 years.

But here's the deal, If I signed off the arrest warrants for every last member of the Bush Administration would YOU sign off on the arrest warrants for every member of the Obama Administration involved in the umpteen scandals we've seen?

John Nolan said...

I have to agree with Anonymous 2. George Rutler is a good writer and like every polemicist uses his skill (unfortunately rare these days) to make a convincing case. The better the writer, the more easily can he convince the reader that his argument is unassailable. That is not to say that a polemical writer should not be taken seriously; in many cases he exposes the absurdities and contradictions of others and shines a spotlight on the truth. Rutler is no exception. However, a counter-argument cannot be dismissed merely because it is presented less skilfully. One of the follies of youth is to admire good writing to the extent that one is convinced of the writer's argument.

In 1839 Thomas Babington Macaulay, a master of English prose and a perceptive historian, wrote a review of William Ewart Gladstone's recently published work on the relations between State and Church. It is one of the most famous put-downs in literary history. A modern reader could hardly fail to be convinced of Macaulay's argument, such is its seemingly inexorable logic. But Macaulay was a Whig and Gladstone was at that time a Tory; and not long ago I heard a lecture by Dr Thomas Pink of King's College London on the Catholic understanding of Church-State relations which seemed to vindicate Gladstone's position.

Anonymous said...

Jusadbellum - Recognizing the serious faults of "W" is not a distraction from current woes.

That you would absolve him of his support for the use of torture because it was of "less than 100 terrorists" does not speak to the incredible harm done to the USA by these actions internationally.

John McCain said, "“I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. Most of all, I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored." (Floor Statement, December 9, 2014)

Recalling the incredible damage done to the USA domestically and internationally by "W" is a national responsibility.

rcg said...

John, I have to remind people, frequently, not to hate me because I beautiful. It is good instinct to double check a first impression or reaction but still allow that it can be correct. Of course American grade schools used to study the "Cross of Gold Speech" of William Jennings Bryan to teach critical thinking. I have been out of school a while now and I think that lesson is lost.

George said...

Mr Obama's legacy

A number of former and current military leaders are saying today that leaving Iraq left the door open for the emergence of ISIS.

The assessment comes from the Army chief of staff, a former Marine commandant, a former U.S. Central Command chief, a former defense secretary and, privately, from the officer now running the war in Iraq against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS.

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno was the top commander in Iraq in the post-troop-surge era that all but eliminated al Qaeda as a credible threat.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, was a commander in Iraq’s Anbar province
The Head of the Joint Chiefs at the time was Gen. James Amos.

Michael Rubin, a military analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said"there is consensus among military practitioners — traditionally, the last people in the world who want to go to war — that leaving Iraq was a mistake."

Leon E. Panetta, the defense secretary at the time of the Iraq withdrawal, told “60 Minutes” on CBS the exit was a mistake.

“I really thought it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq, and the decision was we ought to at least try to maintain [8,000] to 10,000 U.S. troops there, plus keeping some of our intelligence personnel in place to be able to continue the momentum in the right direction,” Mr. Panetta said.

Gen. Lloyd Austin III was the last U.S. commander in Iraq. He viewed the gains in Iraq as reversible and recommended keeping about 20,00 troops in country.

And so it came to be that Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq would be persecuted, murdered and driven from their homeland.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:57

What exactly does 'Off the books mean"? Are you suggesting that no one knew how much was being spent on the war with each appropriations vote that was passed? Off the books sounds so sneaky, but do you have any idea what it means?

Do you know that the most unregulated financial institutions in 2008 are the ones that performed the best and the most regulated are the ones that performed the worst? How does that happen? Do you know which ones they are?

Do you know the name of the legislation that was passed well before 2008 that was specifically designed to expose poor asset quality? Do you know that poor asset quality is exactly what caused the credit crisis? Do you know who signed that bill into law? Do you know think it's odd that legislation passed into law to solve a specific problem turns out to be completely ineffective in solving the problem that it was supposed to solve? I don't.

Let's see,
Bush/Obama had big deficits
Bus/Obama increased gov't spending
Bush/Obama tried stimulus spending
Bush/Obama increased regulations
Bush/Obama created big health care programs
Bush/Obama used drones

In all cases the only difference between the two is that Obama went real big.

Are you sure you don't like Bush?


George said...

What is there in the quote you provided from Malcom Muggeridge that Father Rutler would not agree with?

"If you read this in a fair minded way, you will see that Muggeridge rightly condemns the liberalism of the right as well as the liberalism of the left."

I did read it in a fair minded way. Just as there is one orthodoxy, there is only one liberalism to speak of, a secular humanistic liberalism, whose effects are evident and which any good Christian would rightly and justly condemn. It's incredible to me that there are those who refuse to acknowledge that it is modern liberalism which has become the predominant philosophy of our times. There is always hope however.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anon. 2, yes, I will dream on because hope springs eternal and no one could ever be worse than Obama has been as President - Obamacare - and his don't care attitude towards the military or to his own people being butchered by Islamists. All he cares about it seems is gay rights and persecuting people like the Little Sisters of the Poor. From this side of the world Obama certainly doesn't give us any sense of security. For example, if war broke out tomorrow, he would absolutely flounder. What you need for the President of the United States is a real man and even Hillary comes across as a better man than Obama - and that's saying a lot!

"The Danger of Obama’s Wobbling Rhetoric:

When Senator Obama damned the invasion of Iraq in 2003; when he claimed in 2004 that he had no policy differences with the Bush administration on Iraq; when he declared in 2007 that the surge would fail; when he said in 2008 as a presidential candidate that he wanted all U.S. troops brought home; when he opined as president in 2011 that the country was stable and self-reliant; when he assured the world in 2014 that it was not threatened by ISIS; and when in 2015 he sent troops back into an imploding Iraq—all of these decisions hinged on perceived public opinion, not empirical assessments of the state of Iraq itself. The near destruction of Iraq and the rise of ISIS were the logical dividends of a decade of politicized ambiguity.

After six years, even non-Americans have caught on that the more Obama flip-flops on Iraq, deprecates an enemy or ignores Syrian redlines, the less likely American arms will ever be used and assurances honored.

The world is going to become an even scarier place in the next two years. The problem is not just that our enemies do not believe our president, but rather that they no longer even listen to him."


John Nolan said...

For the record, Churchill never referred to Clement Attlee as 'a sheep in sheep's clothing'. Attlee served as Churchill's deputy in the war cabinet and Winston would brook no personal criticism of the man he referred to as an honourable and gallant gentleman (Attlee had been a major in the Great War) who had rendered great service to his country in its darkest days (1940).

The remark was made earlier about Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister who died in 1937. It suggests Churchill's contempt for his ineffectiveness, but in no way suggests duplicity or hypocrisy. It's a pity that Rutler, having misappropriated the quotation, then goes on to misinterpret it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anon 11:75 - "Off the Books" means: "The most obvious way in which the true cost of this war was kept hidden was with the use of supplemental appropriations to fund the occupation. By one estimate, 70% of the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008 were funded with supplemental or emergency appropriations approved outside the Pentagon's annual budget. These appropriations allowed the Bush administration to shield the Pentagon's budget from the cuts otherwise needed to finance the war, to keep the Pentagon's pet programs intact and to escape the scrutiny that Congress gives to its normal annual regular appropriations.

With the Iraq war treated as an "off the books" expense, the Pentagon was allowed to keep spending on high-end military equipment and cutting-edge technology. In fiscal terms, it was as if the messy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were never happening.

More fundamentally, the Bush administration masked the cost of the war with deficit spending to ensure that the American people would not face up to its costs while President Bush was in office. Despite their recent discovery of outrage over the national debt, the Republicans followed the advice of Vice-President Dick Cheney that "deficits don't matter" and spent freely on domestic programs throughout the Bush years. The Bush administration encouraged the American people to keep spending and "enjoy life", while the government paid for the occupation of Iraq on a credit card they hoped never to have to repay." (The Guardian, March 11, 2013)

George - The decision to leave Iraq was made by President George W. Bush - "The U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (official name: Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq) was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011."

It was also Bush and his advisors who predicted that the war in Iraq would be quick and easy. "Ahead of and shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, a number of officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz suggested the war could be done on the cheap and that it would largely pay for itself."

On WMD's: "In August of 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney said: "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, against us." President Bush said in March 2003 "intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised..."

ON 9/11 connection: "In March 2003, President Bush wrote in a letter to the Speaker of the House that "I have... determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." (Christian Science Monitor, December 22, 2011)

Yet, no one showed the connection between Iraq and 9/11.

Lefebvrian said...

Obama is not a good president.

Bush was not a good president.

Anonymous 2 said...


On Iraq, there are two narratives out there – first, that we would not be facing the awful situation in the Middle East if we had not invaded Iraq, and that it was not realistically possible to stay; second, that it was realistically possible to stay and we would not be facing the awful situation if we had not left. The Democrats push the first one; the Republicans the second. Here is my take: Although we can never know with absolute certainty about either one, the first narrative has a much stronger probability of being correct than the second.

The language used by the military leaders you cite is very qualified and tentative.

General Odierno said: “If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it might have been prevented,” he said. “I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.”

In responding to the suggestion that the US had no choice but to leave because the Iraqi Prime Minister was not meeting US demands, General Dunford said “I’m not sure I’d say that that meant we had no option to stay.”

And General Amos said “I have a hard time believing that, had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today.”

All these quotes come from a Washington Times article in the following link:

Regarding Panetta, in an October 2014 Time magazine article he does indeed maintain that “To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country.” But he goes on to say: “Over the following two and a half years, the situation in Iraq slowly deteriorated. Al-Maliki was responsible, as he exacerbated the deep sectarian issues polarizing his country. Meanwhile, with the conflict in Syria raging, an al-Qaeda offshoot—ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria—gained strength. Using Syria as its base, it began to move into Iraq in 2014.” Panetta does not suggest, it seems, that leaving troops in Iraq could have prevented the rise of ISIS in Syria and he does not address how this affects his “belief” that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq would have been beneficial in fighting ISIS in Iraq. Nor, it seems, does he address the argument that the U.S. invasion of Iraq destabilized Syria and elsewhere in the first place. However, I have not read his book, so perhaps he does address it there or elsewhere.

And notice this is just analyzing the language of those who are cited in support of the second narrative. In addition, of course, there is the account given in the first narrative as in the following article from a liberal website:

Or this one from the New York Times:

The situation was horribly complex from the beginning, and has become even more complex. We should have left well enough alone instead of opening Pandora’s Box. So, I am sorry but, viewing the matter as objectively as I am able to do, I am still not dissuaded that invading Iraq was probably the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history. And once again, let’s remember Pope St. John Paul II spoke out against it. And he was no dummy in matters of foreign policy and just war doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, are you saying that Obama could not possibly renegotiate with Iraq? He seems perfectly capable of overturning other Bush decisions and nullifying Bush era policies with respect to gays in the military. EPA regulations. Bush policies for our foreign policy...Bush policies for NSA etc.... so there's no law mandating that Obama's hands were tied by Bush's agreement with Iraq. Especially by 2012 when Iraq's situation was really dire.

But I get the psychological need to absolve President Obama and the need to excuse his every action as "sincerely motivated" and if there are scandals or gaffes or mistakes to ignore them or minimize them as "not as bad as the evil Bush". I get it. It's human to root for the home team and boo/hiss at those blasted "other guys".

Obama's budget deficit has been $1 trillion per year since 2009. His choices (supported entirely by the Democrats in toto and the RINOS of the GOP) has been to hide the real cost of Federal programs via this deficit spending.

At $18 trillion in total debt and a foreseen CBO estimate of $100 trillion in UNFUNDED longterm liabilities to pay SS, Medicaid, and Medicare and Obamacare... it looks entirely likely - from pure algebra - that sometime before 2034 the US will cross the event horizon and the federal budget will necessarily be cut back to mostly just servicing the debt.

Now....who is going to be hurt the worst when the event horizon arrives? If you guessed "the poor, minorities, women and children" you'd be right. You'd also have spent your entire political life supporting the politicians whose policies directly led us to this catastrophe, in the name of "love for the poor".

It feels so nice to be "for" the poor and "for" peace and "for" women and minorities. But being "for" something while voting for policies and personnel that directly lead to the opposite results is neither wise nor to be chalked up in your favor. Good intentions don't absolve us from moral culpability.

Anonymous 2 said...

I am sorry if this posts twice. I am having problems with the connection.


On Iraq, there are two narratives out there – first, that we would not be facing the awful situation in the Middle East if we had not invaded Iraq, and that it was not realistically possible to stay; second, that it was realistically possible to stay and we would not be facing the awful situation if we had not left. The Democrats push the first one; the Republicans the second. Here is my take: Although we can never know with absolute certainty about either one, the first narrative has a much stronger probability of being correct than the second.

The language used by the military leaders you cite is very qualified and tentative.

General Odierno said: “If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it might have been prevented,” he said. “I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.”

In responding to the suggestion that the US had no choice but to leave because the Iraqi Prime Minister was not meeting US demands, General Dunford said “I’m not sure I’d say that that meant we had no option to stay.”

And General Amos said “I have a hard time believing that, had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today.”

All these quotes come from a Washington Times article in the following link:

Regarding Panetta, in an October 2014 Time magazine article he does indeed maintain that “To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country.” But he goes on to say: “Over the following two and a half years, the situation in Iraq slowly deteriorated. Al-Maliki was responsible, as he exacerbated the deep sectarian issues polarizing his country. Meanwhile, with the conflict in Syria raging, an al-Qaeda offshoot—ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria—gained strength. Using Syria as its base, it began to move into Iraq in 2014.” Panetta does not suggest, it seems, that leaving troops in Iraq could have prevented the rise of ISIS in Syria and he does not address how this affects his “belief” that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq would have been beneficial in fighting ISIS in Iraq. Nor, it seems, does he address the argument that the U.S. invasion of Iraq destabilized Syria and elsewhere in the first place. However, I have not read his book, so perhaps he does address it there or elsewhere.

And notice this is just analyzing the language of those who are cited in support of the second narrative. In addition, of course, there is the account given in the first narrative as in the following article from a liberal website:

Or this one from the New York Times:

The situation was horribly complex from the beginning, and has become even more complex. We should have left well enough alone instead of opening Pandora’s Box. So, I am sorry but, viewing the matter as objectively as I am able to do, I am still not dissuaded that invading Iraq was probably the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history. And once again, let’s remember Pope St. John Paul II spoke out against it. And he was no dummy in matters of foreign policy and just war doctrine.

Anonymous 2 said...


On Malcolm Muggeridge, I would hope that Father Rutler would agree with all of it. But he only addresses half of it in his article and I am left wondering why that is.

George said...

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno ,Gen. Joseph Dunford,Gen. James Amos and Gen. Lloyd Austin III all served under Mr Obama who was their Commander in Chief. These were experienced and knowledgable military officers who all served in Iraq. He should have listened to their advice.

Leon E. Panetta was of course Mr Obama's Secretary of Defense.

In his memoir, Mr Panetta wrote,"To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda's resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country."

Here are links to two articles from CNN:



George said...

"let’s remember Pope St. John Paul II spoke out against it. And he was no dummy in matters of foreign policy and just war doctrine." I remember it well.

It would be highly unusual for any Pope to support military action. Their "preferential option" is peace which as it should be. Pope Francis came as close as one can to doing so, when he gave at least an implicit and tacit OK for action against ISIS.Pope St John Paul II would have opposed the Iraq intervention if for no other reason out of concern for the Christians residing in that part of the world. He was well aware of the tenuous position of Catholics in Syria and Iraq.

Yes, Mr. Bush got us into the situation, but the end game was not well played by Mr.Obama.

As far as the Malcolm Muggeridge quote, since I'm reading it differently than you, to my mind the inclusion of the rest of it would not have changed anything about what Fr, Rutler was conveying.

Anonymous said...

Father K,
If you wanted to hide the cost of installing a new Communion railing in your church, do think it would be better for you to include the cost of the railing in the parish’s annual budget under general expenses or to declare a separate building appropriation that would clearly inform everyone that you plan to spend $50,000 on a new Communion railing? The first method is the one the Bush administration avoided and it was the second that they did employ.

A second point is that if you include the cost of a non-recurring expense in your annual budget it can make it difficult to control your future budget increases. That is especially true in gov’t appropriations that have the unique perspective of claiming a reduction in the rate of change is automatically a cut in the budget. Meaning if they plan to increase Planned Parenthood grants next year by 5% but the heartless Republicans say increase them by 3% then that becomes an inhuman budget cut. The reason Bush separated the war costs from the normal expenditures was to keep better controls on the future defense budgets.

Believe me, I don’t consider George Bush to be a fiscal conservative but the term “off the books” is nothing more than a lie created to fool people.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous - No, I am not saying that Obama could not renegotiate. But, given his general outlook regarding the use of US military power, that he did not is not surprising. Nor is it certain by any stretch of the imagination that leaving 20K or 30K or 40K troops in Iraq would have prevented the current struggles.

I have no need to absolve President Obama from the wrongs he has done and I don't think I have ever used the term "the evil Bush." I understand that politics is "the art of the possible" and that officials I both support and revile will do things I don't agree with. It's not a zero-sum game.

I don't agree that only those politicians I have supported are responsible for the 2034 debacle you foresee. Again, there's plenty of blame to spread around both sides of the aisle.

I am not "for" the poor because I think it is "nice." I simply want to be on God's side of the equation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with George. Obama is described by some of the generals as inept and that Putin is a professional by comparison and has run rings around Obama.

Army Chief of Staff General Odierno has blamed Obama for the rise of ISIS:

"While Islamic State is preparing to launch a new assault on another major city in the Anbar Province in Iraq, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno took the unusual step of criticizing his own Commander in Chief in the White House

In an interview with FOX News, Odierno said the United States could have prevented the rise of Islamic State.
The Chief of Staff, who will retire in a few weeks, indicated that the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq had been a mistake.

If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it (rise of ISIS) might have been prevented. I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.

Odierno said he was frustrated to watch the rise of Islamic State and reminded his interviewer of the relatively good situation in Iraq from 2007 until 2010.

I go back to the work we did in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and we got it to a place that was really good. Violence was low, the economy was growing, politics looked like it was heading in the right direction.

Odierno had tried to convince the Obama administration in 2009 that 30,000-35,000 troops should remain in Iraq after the end of 2011 when the U.S. forces were scheduled to withdraw from Iraq, but to no avail."

I certainly believe this man Obama got elected solely because he was a black and, unfortunately, many people these days join in the media hype and vote for the celebrity rather than looking ahead at what is best for their country. More than any other world leader to preserve peace the west needs a strong President of the US. It's bad enough to have someone like David Cameron leading Britain but we were dealt a double whammy when Obama got elected. I for one will be glad when his presidency is over. Not knowing much about the presidential hopefuls but from what I have seen I don't know if there's anyone offering stong leadership on the horizon, is there?


Jusadbellum said...

The thing is, who doesn't realize that the US telegraphing that we're removing troops from a country or zone won't create a power vacuum and won't motivate people to start cutting deals with the local cutthroats if only to save their own skins?

If Police declared that they'd pull out of a zip code entirely by 2016 and stop all patrols, all law enforcement in that area, who doesn't think gangs and criminals would flood the zone and the locals would start paying protection money to the biggest gang? Who would be surprised?

So along comes super-genius Barack Hussein Obama - smartest president 'evah' and he decides pulling out of both Iraq and "the good war" Afghanistan is a brilliant idea and will result in lasting peace. Uh huh.

Heck, we pulled out the last tanks from NATO in 2013 only to need to turn around and rush a Battalion of M-1a2s back to Poland to reinforce the alliance!

The US Navy pulls back in the Pacific and China advances to fill the void. It's as predictable as the rising tides. No one who's a student of history or human nature would be stunned by this turn of events. So either Obama is really dumb (unlikely) or he is OK with what has happened in Iraq and the middle east in general.

So dealing from the premise that what has happened is largely accepted by him as part and parcel of his world view, we need to accept that the US foreign policy has 'pivoted' from supporting the Sunni Arabs to the Shiite Persians. That we are perfectly content with the "Arab Spring" that unleashed vast stockpiles of weaponry into every terror and paramilitary group in the region - stoking and keeping civil wars and insurgencies running from West Africa to the Philippines. Cui Bono?

Does anyone seriously think that Obama isn't happy with the Military-Industrial-Complex? He ran on the INTENTION of reducing and eliminating US nuclear forces did he not? And was that not one of the Left-wing tropes that fired liberal/progressive imaginations? Yes it was! But what's happened? Last year "the Pentagon" announced that "it" was replacing the entire nuclear triad over the course of the next 20 years (as though Obama has nothing at all to do with it). New bombers, new missiles, new subs.

Does anyone seriously think that Obama isn't happy with the Financial-Industrial-Complex? He ran in 2008 and 2012 on slogans of fiscal restraint and paying one's bills and prosecuting fat-cats on Wall Street. But not a single big banker or big financial tycoon has gone to jail. DOJ has at most fined big institutions for their crimes. If bank robbers only got fined for robbing banks who thinks they wouldn't keep doing it?

Does anyone seriously think that Obama isn't happy with the status quo in our inner cities: high crime, high unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, trapped and unarmed populations, seething resentment, broken homes, non-existent fathers, drugs, sex, and circuses? His entire life he's preached one thing while being wined and dined by the very people who profit immensely from this status quo. He's done nothing to radically change or even altar the trajectory of decline.

But go on believing he and his party are genuinely concerned for the poor, women, and minorities. It's your version of justifying socialism by claiming "at least it makes the trains run on time".

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

I wrote a long post refuting many of the points you make but now I see there is absolutely no point because you appear to be intent on war and on repeating the mistakes of the past. So I say let the “strong leader” be elected, let him give you what you want by re-invading Iraq and who knows where else, and have your every wish come true. I just hope you will be the first to enlist to fight in the perpetual war you will have created for all of us.

By the way, you can believe that Obama was elected solely because he was black but that does not make it so. In 2008 one of Obama's great merits is that he was not Republican and in particular that he was not George W. Bush (from whom, if you remember, even the Republicans were running as fast as they could because he was such a disastrous president, but of course that all goes down the memory hole doesn’t it?)

Anonymous 2 said...


The entire system is rotten to the core. Are you only just realizing that? And the Republicans will not save it. They will likely only make it worse.

So, for example, I have just finished reading Dinesh d’Souza’s eloquent, but highly tendentious anti-Obama book “America” and could not believe it when I read his conclusion: China is the big future threat. And yet Dinesh extols the very thing that has put China in such a powerful position – namely, wealth creation on the backs of the Western economies due to “free trade.” And he doesn’t even see the irony or the inconsistency! If that kind of sophisticated thinking is what is in store under a Republican leadership, heaven help us. At least Dinesh agrees that invading Iraq was a colossal mistake, so he is not entirely naïve (although he admits to being duped into supporting it at the time -- some of us were not by the way because we never bought the WMD pretext).

Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous 2,

Describe for me what "the system" is please. I generally subscribe to Angelo Codevilla's Ruling Class thesis (DNC and GOP are the left and right wings of the same party...the ruling class party)... at least at the national level, in Congress. In the States and local politics the parties are still distinct enough in personnel and policy preferences to hold genuine differences.

I believe "the system" is our form of government and the idea of rule of law. I believe it's distinct from the parties and parasites that co-opt government to plunder the treasury or their neighbors. Thus I am not in favor of some communist revolution to overthrow the Constitutional order and install some type of bloody Politburo of "the People" - even if by doing so we could try and execute the worst of the current offenders. The cure would be worse than the disease.

This means I am not an uncritical defender of Bush like some are of Obama. Nor am I an uncritical cheerleader of the GOP (like again, many are of the DNC). I don't for a second believe that the 'establishment Republicans' have the best interest of the Catholic Church (or me as an individual) at heart...but neither does the Democratic Party establishment! And yet both 'sides' of the "country class" look to our respective political tribal leaders as the 'lesser of two evils'. Pity we all didn't have a viable 3rd party option to go to.

It looks almost certain that the US is headed to an irreversible economic collapse by 2034 if not sooner. If/when this happens the poor, minorities, women and children will suffer the most. Those who are utterly, totally dependent on 'wealth transfers' will suffer the most. Those who depend on Government for education, childcare, housing, food, healthcare, retirement, and security will suffer tremendously if the history of other collapses is any guide.

But while one ideological wing or branch keeps the pedal to the metal with the thought that this is the "only" way to "love the poor", I keep thinking that if we truly love the poor (and our other neighbors) we will vote and live for whatever will mitigate if not avoid such a catastrophic end. Thus is frustrates me to no end when Churchmen and Catholic laity either insist that their beloved Democrats or their beloved establishment Republicans are the bees knees.

If I hated liberal progressives I'd keep my mouth or keypad quiet or agitate for them to be ever more dependent on government or party for everything. But there's just too much Catholic conscience for me to say nothing while I watch the slow motion train wreck.

Bush was a disaster in many ways... that Obama has made worse, not better. I'm not slamming Obama because I think Bush was golden.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anon. 2 you may feel entirely comfortable sitting at home in America but with people like Obama in charge your're not and if ISIS isn't stopped then you're as much at risk sitting there comfortably pontificating as anyone in the Middle East is. It amazes me really that people like yourself seem to have entirely forgotten 9/11, which is the greatest atrocity to have occurred since WWII. No wonder George Bush went to war. He might have received a lot of bad press and flak for it but America was much safer under him than now under Obama. I entirely agree with what Jusadbellum says. The only reason there hasn't been a WWIII is because of the military strength of the US but people like yourself have worked quietly to undermine that. I see Obama as equivalent to Baldwin, Chamberlain and MacDonald who lulled Britons into a false sense of security before World War II and Britons paid the price. A weak America means world war no doubt about that and I am sure we will live to experience that in the coming years and Americans this time will pay the price because distance from Europe and the Middle East is no longer a factor. Everyone wants peace but we have to face the facts that we live in a world with Putin, Communist China, North Korea and now ISIS - all who want to sit on top of the pile of a shattered America, aided and abetted by pacifists and peaceniks and the Obamas of this world and the rest of us are just pawns in the game. The west is people largely with weak men and dominant women so we know now what the outcome will be.


Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for the reference to the Ruling Class thesis. I have now read up about it and find it quite interesting. It is not inconsistent with my own position, which owes much to Alasdair MacIntyre’s critique of the corrosive effect of modern liberal democracies and their so-called free market economies on local communities. However, I am not quite as pessimistic as MacIntyre and stress a threefold strategy for recovery:

(1) Rigorous application of the principle of subsidiarity so that matters will be handled by that level of government best equipped to do so. Clearly, then, some matters will still have to be handled at the federal level.

(2) Restoration of an ethos that emphasizes the achievement of excellence and the exercise of virtue in all the various practices in which we engage. This is resonant with David Brook’s latest book “The Road to Character,” which Father Kavanaugh has recommended and which I have today begun reading. Those who are formed in virtue in this way can then bring these virtuous dispositions into the public square and thereby help to restore a more virtuous politics and indeed help restore politics as a true practice with its own internal goods, even at the national level.

(3) Related, restoration of authentic political conversation at the local level and thereby a more authentic political identity as urged by one of my colleagues, who has written:

“I think we can do this, as is often the case, by doing that which we least want to do: talk more. We need to talk, face-to-face, with those we oppose; talk about political matters far more serious than what level of taxation is optimal, or how to deliver health care, or more serious than abortions, gay rights, immigration, race, or what to do about various other social inequalities. Pick the issue you care most about right now, ask why anyone, you included, should care about it at all aside from self-interest; take your most thoughtful answer to that question and ask why anyone, you included again, should care about the value(s) upon which it rests; take your most thoughtful answer to that question and ask what the words you just used to describe these value(s) mean, where they come from, and why and how they prompt your caring. Now offer this thought in as persuasive and as personal a manner as you can in a face- to-face political conversation with someone with whom you typically disagree, someone about whom you might now say you do not understand how he could hold the views he does.”

I seem to recall you writing yourself about the value of such localized political conversation.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

Excuse me please but you have touched a nerve. I do not need to be lectured about the evils of terrorism. I am originally from the U.K. and experienced several IRA terrorist bombing campaigns in England, including when I was living in London, before Americans knew what foreign terrorism was (in other words these attacks were outside Northern Ireland, where there were many sectarian killings and killings of British soldiers). The Provisional IRA (the IRA paramilitary wing) killed a lot of people in England and injured many more. See section on “Attacks outside Northern Ireland” in the following link:

So I do not need to remember 9/11; I already had memories enough before that. 9/11 was more dramatic and larger in scale, to be sure, but people in England had good reason to be afraid during the IRA terrorist bombing campaigns. However, we got on with life with quiet fortitude while being constantly vigilant to report any unattended bag in a pub or on public transport or a vehicle parked in suspicious circumstances. We did not pitch the entire nation into a fear-frenzy and then manipulate that fear-frenzy to invade some other country that had nothing to do with Ireland (George Bush went to war all right, just in the wrong place).

You know what we also did in the end many years later? We negotiated a peace. So, negotiating with terrorists isn’t always stupid or weak. Sometimes it is very, very sensible, although clearly it is wise to attend to differences in circumstances. Does the name Jonathan Powell mean anything to you? He was Britain’s chief negotiator with the IRA from 1997-2007. He has also suggested negotiations with the Taliban, Hamas, and Al-Qaeda. And some of this has since borne fruit. Now there is a brave man. In case you’re interested, check out his book:

But, hey, you would regard this as appeasement I suppose (I notice you play the Hitler/appeasement card -- always a cheap shot). So let’s set the world on fire instead!

Notice, I am not necessarily recommending negotiating with ISIS or Al-Qaeda. That is above my pay grade. But I am not prepared to exclude the possibility ab initio. Similarly, I hope that the agreement with Iran will be given a fair hearing. I am not holding my breath, however.

Nor am I suggesting that military force should never be used. It should, however, be used only as a last resort and it should be used intelligently. When the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003 it was used neither as a last resort nor intelligently, and that is why the Middle East has become so much more dangerous today. So, when those who were responsible for this debacle counsel more of the same, it is understandable if some of us are skeptical, no?

Anonymous said...

Well, Anonymous Anon.2 I think the fact that Britain sent over 20,000 troops into Northern Ireland to protect British interests is no different to Bush sending troops to Iran to protect US interests and to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. I am sure that if the IRA had blown up the Houses of Parliament or Buckingham Palace, there would have been retribution. And it took 30 years to negotiate peace. No sooner did Obama get into then he announced he was pulling out the troops. The Army Chief of Staff has judged that a mistake and I think he is in a much better position to judge the situation than you are. I disagree with you.


John Nolan said...


The difference is that N.Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and neither Iran nor Iraq are part of the United States. Saddam Hussein had his arse kicked in 1990 and his wings clipped thereafter; he could only sell his oil under our conditions and NATO had imposed a no-fly zone over the north of his country.

Colonel Gaddafi armed the IRA, as did Irish-Americans - remember Noraid? Also the US refused to extradite IRA terrorists. Yet the Libyan arms shipments were intercepted thanks to good intelligence and the infiltration of the highest echelons of the IRA, who had no option but to make peace since the 'armed struggle' had signally failed.

Gaddafi actually renounced sponsoring terrorism abroad and his downfall (organized by the USA with the co-operation of Britain and France) has destabilized the country and established IS as a major player there. Do you think that Saddam would have allowed IS to take over a large part of Iraq? Or let Islamic extremists liquidate the Christians?

The problem with the USA being the only superpower is that a Pax Americana requires a more coherent foreign policy than the USA has exhibited since 1918.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

To add to John Nolan’s reply, two further differences between the British army presence in Northern Ireland and the U.S. led invasion of Iraq are that:

(a) Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 despite the Bush Administration’s attempt to “plant” that naughty little thought in the minds of the American public in various ways (even several years later polls indicated that 30% of Americans still believed Saddam was behind 9/11, so the attempt to mislead was successful with the ill-informed); and

(b) It was precisely the U.S. invasion that enabled Al-Qaeda to enter Iraq (Saddam was quite opposed to Al-Qaeda and was assiduous in squelching any elements potentially dangerous to his regime, which Al-Qaeda certainly was).

But I want to be fair to your concerns here. I believe you do not live in the United States. Which country do you live in and are you experiencing Islamic terrorism or threats of terrorism there?

By the way, John mentions the support of some in the Irish-American community for the IRA. This always angered the British people but I suspect most British people who were aware of this assistance to the enemy have learned to forgive those responsible for these misguided actions after America suffered such a terrible foreign terrorist attack herself. Would you agree, John?

Anonymous said...

Well, John Nolan and Anonymous Anon. 2 it depends on what liberal press you read for the invasion of Iraq. And John Nolan many Irish did not want British troops in Ireland but they were there to protect British interests. I see it as no different from Bush protecting US interests, especially after such an attack on US soil and as I said to strike those two buildings - iconic in the US - is akin to striking Buckingham Palace in the US. If the IRA had crashed planes into Buckingham Palace the British public would not have stood for it. That is why the American public were behind the invasion of Iraq. The liberal press in American have only fed one thing and that is to reduce the military capacity in the US and to reduce the capabilities of American and they have done that. They have largely achieved what they wanted.

George Bush and Tony Blair believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. One of the weapons inspectors committed suicide in the forest - right, yeah.

Weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq as reported by the New York Times although they try to dismiss them as being 'old' weapons of mass destruction.

"When Saddam said he destroyed all his WMDs from the Gulf War, we knew he was lying and still had stockpiles, and we were proven right when we found the thousands The New York Times reported. The left has now conveniently changed to saying that no NEW WMDs were found. As if the “old” chemical weapons that were found couldn’t have been put into the wrong hands by Saddam and used in a terrorist attack!

The bottom line is: Weapons of mass destruction WERE found in Iraq. Debate the Iraq War all you want, but this should no longer be a point of contention."

Read more:

And it is further reported that those WMDs are in the hands of ISIS:

The Times’ long exposé on Iraq’s chemical munitions, welcome in many respects, is, however, not quite the news the Old Gray Lady seems to think. Already in June 2006, Republican Congressmen pressed the Army to release information on chemical shells found in Iraq. The Army reported that some 500 munitions, containing mustard or sarin nerve agent, had been discovered since May 2004 (the Times’ figure is ten times larger.) The Army report added that such agents, while degrading over time, “remain hazardous and potentially lethal.” The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, responded, “Duelfer after 18 months was not able to find this stuff…What does this say about all of the other issues that continue to be raised [such as] stuff transported to Syria?”

Indeed, that is an excellent question, and one for which U.S. authorities have provided no real answer. But the least they can do now is set the political catfights aside. Acknowledge that dangerous material remains in Iraq. Those now confronting the Islamic State need to understand that and take appropriate precautions to minimize the risk to U.S. forces, U.S. allies, and innocent civilians."

You can both continue to be lulled into a false sense of security by the liberal media - that very same media who refuse to publish the documentation against Planned Parenthood. Yet Americans believe they are being told the truth?

As regards terrorism in my area - there have been several attacks in Australia that you may not be aware of but that is close for my likings. There have also been a number of attacks on American soil as well and a number of beheadings - largely dismissed by Obama.


Anonymous said...

John Nolan and Anonymous Anon. 2, the links between Al Qaeda and Iraq are also now being recognised:

“It is undisputed, and has been confirmed repeatedly in Iraqi government documents captured after the invasion, that Saddam had deep, longstanding, far-reaching relationships with terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda and its affiliates. It is undisputed that Saddam’s Iraq was a state based on terror, overseeing a coordinated program to support global jihadist terrorist organizations. Ansar al Islam, an al Qaeda-linked organization, operated training camps in northern Iraq before the invasion. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the future leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, funneled weapons and fighters into these camps, before the invasion, from his location in Baghdad. We also know, again confirmed in documents captured after the war, that Saddam provided funding, training, and other support to numerous terrorist organizations and individuals over decades, including to Ayman al Zawahiri, the man who leads al Qaeda today.”

–Former vice president Dick Cheney and former deputy assistant secretary of state Liz Cheney, writing in the July 21 edition of The Weekly Standard.


After Iraq fell, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi documents fell into American hands. (Thousands of al-Qaeda documents also were obtained after the fall of the Taliban and the killing of Osama bin Laden but as far as we know, those documents have never demonstrated an Iraqi connection to al-Qaeda.) IDA, in its five-volume report, “Saddam and Terrorism,” highlighted some of the most important ones obtained in Iraq.

The report certainly makes for chilling reading, providing great detail on how Saddam nurtured relationships with terrorist groups, especially Palestinian ones, and how some of the overriding goals of Saddam and al-Qaeda overlapped at times. While one might quibble with the Cheneys’ use of the phrase “jihadist,” generally their second sentence is supported by these documents: “It is undisputed that Saddam’s Iraq was a state based on terror, overseeing a coordinated program to support global jihadist terrorist organizations.”


John Nolan said...

Anon 2

After the Boston bombings I had the temerity to ask if the Irish-Americans of that city, who were prepared to fund PIRA to set off bombs in other people's cities, might have had second thoughts when they were on the receiving end. I was told by Donald McClarey on a conservative Catholic website (TAC) that there was no moral equivalence and that he could not condemn the PIRA bombings.

As for US foreign policy, one can only make the following observations, and they are no means entirely negative.

1. Isolationism after the First World War (which they entered belatedly but which gave Woodrow Wilson, a naïve idealist, a seat at the top table).

2. Hostility to Japan which ended the Anglo-Japanese alliance which dated from 1902 and which the Japanese set great store by.

3. FDR's delusion that the greatest threat to world peace post-WW2 was the British Empire and not the Soviet Union.

4. The determination in the Eisenhower-Dulles years to remove all British and French influence from the Middle East. In the next decade when they were bogged down in Vietnam and the Soviets moved into that area they blamed their allies for abandoning it.

On the other hand, the Cold War strategy as regards the USSR was ultimately successful and the American analysis of war in the nuclear age and the concomitant theory of nuclear deterrence was in the end unassailable. The Pax Americana has proved its worth and saved the world. That is why I shall always say 'God Bless America' and regard the United States as the proudest legacy of the British Empire, India being the second.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan at 10:30 p.m. on August 1:

Why don’t you also tell us that the Washington Post report from which you quote goes to discredit those claims made by the Cheney’s and awards them three Pinocchios? Did you read the actual Post article or did you read an extract on some other website that selectively cherry picked the passages it liked? Here is the actual Post article:

The Post itself seems to be intellectually honest. Thus it links another article published on website led by the usual neoconservative suspects that is critical of the Post critique of the Cheneys’ claims:

Readers can read these articles and decide for themselves. For those who want much more factual detail, here are two exhaustive (and exhausting Wikipedia articles) on the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda:

Now, if I have time, I will research your contentions regarding WMDs.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan at 10:01 p.m. on August 1:

Here is a link to the original NYT article on the discovery of these old WMDs. Readers may want to read it instead of or in addition to the two links you provided which provide predictable spin and suppress very salient facts:

The big scandal, it seems is twofold:

(a) Many of the ingredients and components for these old WMDs were provided by the West (including the United States) (Don’t forget, before we were against Saddam we were fore him), and

(b) The Bush administration’s attempts to keep the information about the discovery of old WMDs secret. If these discoveries were such a coup vindicating the Bush administration’s claims about going to war because of WMDs why did the administration try to hush it up? That is the question we should ask (and the NYT answers). But, hey, always remember: support our troops!

As for the notion that the new WMDs were spirited away to Syria, well, yes, I remember those claims being made at the time (the Bush administration was desperate to justify its invasion – remember Condoleeza Rice/s “mushroom cloud”?). Where is the evidence?

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

Three further thoughts:

(a) It is an easy cheap shot to try to bolster arguments supporting the invasion of Iraq by referring to the “liberal press.” Your problem, of course, is that many people (including myself) opposed the Iraq War on traditional conservative premises – nothing liberal about it;

(b) I do not mean to be snide but I am almost speechless. The fact that you (and doubtless many Americans) cannot understand the difference between occupying part of one’s own sovereign territory and invading another sovereign country is mind-boggling and actually rather frightening. It demonstrates the nature of the problem we face in this country and elsewhere in this era of mass media and social media hype, spin, and distortion. The enormity of the challenge to cultivate critical thinking skills is so great one doesn’t really know where or how to begin. I just know it will take a long, long time, if indeed it can be ever achieved.

(c) As for your analogy of flying planes into Buckingham Palace, well, yes, that’s why we were justified in invading Afghanistan and searching for bin Laden. I suppose it is possible that given the level of geographic ignorance, some people think that Afghanistan and Iraq are the same place.

John Nolan said...

In October 1984 an IRA bomb in Brighton came near to assassinating the British cabinet. Yet there was no massive over-reaction.

Chemical weapons are by no stretch of the imagination 'weapons of mass destruction'. In the First World War they accounted for only four per cent of deaths in combat. Their rationale was to neutralize the defenders while the attackers crossed no-man's-land, and by the end of the war conventional artillery could do this far more effectively.

Against an attacking force chemical weapons are of no use whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, well, bombs loaded with sarin gas are a far cry from the gassing in the trenches of World War 1 and even though you say only 4% of all those who were killed in World War 1 it is reported that although many didn't die they were scarred for life:

"Many of those who survived a gas attack were scarred for life. Respiratory disease and failing eyesight were common post-war afflictions. Of the Canadians who, without any effective protection, had withstood the first chlorine attacks during 2nd Ypres, 60% of the casualties had to be repatriated and half of these were still unfit by the end of the war, over three years later.

In reading the statistics of the time, one should bear the longer term in mind. Many of those who were fairly soon recorded as fit for service were left with scar tissue in their lungs. This tissue was susceptible to tuberculosis attack. It was from this that many of the 1918 casualties died, around the time of the Second World War, shortly before sulfa drugs became widely available for its treatment."

The point is it is reported that now these weapons are in the hands of ISIS and mustard gas attacks by them have been reported.

And, contrary to what you say, the US Army has classified them as weapons of mass destruction.

"WASHINGTON, June 29, 2006 – The 500 munitions discovered throughout Iraq since 2003 and discussed in a National Ground Intelligence Center report meet the criteria of weapons of mass destruction, the center's commander said here today.

"These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes ... they do constitute weapons of mass destruction," Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee."

Sarin gas has also been classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the UN:

"Sarin, or GB, is a colorless, odorless liquid,[5] used as a chemical weapon owing to its extreme potency as a nerve agent and it has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction[6] in UN Resolution 687."

So, George Bush and Tony Blair were right, after all, and it has been shown in wikileaks that there were links between Saddam Hussein and Al Queda.

I would be interested to hear what the liberal rag New York Times has had to say about the Planned Parenthood sting.


George said...


Human rights activist Nizar Nayouf told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf in 2004 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein smuggled his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons into Syria just prior to the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In the interview, Nayouf claimed that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were stashed in three separate sites in Syria, including an underground military base beneath the village of AlBaida, one kilometer south of Masyaf. Nayouf was imprisoned by Syrian authorities for 10 years. In 2001, he was granted political asylum in France.

Similar accusations of Iraqi weapons smuggling into Syria were made by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon during an interview . Former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon made similar claims in an interview with the New York Sun.

This is a story where it is unlikely to be looked into in any objective and fair way by CBS, ABC, or MSNBC or any other news outlets of the main stream media other than to discredit it. I blame this in large part on the animus toward the Bush Administration.

The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed. The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, made the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets"


A question that as far as I know has not been satisfactorily been answered is,"Where did Syria get its chemical weapons?"

Anonymous said...

I entirely agree with George - anyone reading the liberal media - the majority of media outlets in this day and age, is not going to get the full story but it is coming out because ISIS has obtained the weapons in Syria and so it can no longer be covered up. I find this comment from army personnel self-explanatory:

"I was the Commander of a Transportation Company in Iraq. I spent one day talking to Iraqi engineers. They all thought it was very funny how there was this huge debate here about whether or not Saddam had chemical weapons. As they all said, everyone there knew somebody who worked in chemical weapons. After I returned, I was involved in training programs for other units heading over there. I met an MP officer who had also been over there when I was. He talked about the use of sarin gas in the roadside IED's that were mentioned in this article (his soldiers were the ones called to deal with them when they were found). Also, when I was preparing to leave theatre, I had a short conversation with a reporter from Washington state. Just before he walked away, he made a comment to me about how he could make everyone back home believe whatever he wanted them to believe. It was chilling, but turned out to be very true."


Anonymous said...

George, you may be interested in the review of a book that sets out strong evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-queda:

"Intelligence is not an exact science. What we have in the case of Saddam Hussein’s regime and al-Qaeda is a menacing pattern. The 9/11 Commission’s infamous statement—that it had not seen evidence of a “collaborative operational relationship” between Saddam and al-Qaeda—set up a bizarre, arbitrary threshold for the depth of the Saddam-Qaeda relationship that has allowed the Commission to be easily and falsely misconstrued as saying there was no Saddam-Qaeda relationship. While the evidence presented here can be read as clearing even that threshold, it makes a more obvious point: Why wait to find out how the relationship will develop and how threatening it will be? Saddam’s connection had gone far enough to forfeit Western tolerance. As is very often forgotten or misrepresented now, Iraq was not about the last attack, it was about preventing the next one.

Hayes best achievement here is to compile evidence that should set the debate about Iraq on a better footing. Hayes has made it easy to recognize that anyone who maintains that the Saddam regime had no connection to al-Qaeda is simply uninformed on the subject. In combination with the recent evidence about the WMD, which means we now know Saddam did have WMDs, the argument that must be made against the Iraq invasion is that these WMDs and these connections with terrorism—to say nothing of the threats to regional stability and the Iraqi population—were insufficiently menacing to warrant removing the regime. Fine. One might regard this as a weak case since Hayes’ book adds to the already copious evidence that an ISIS-like metastasis was in Iraq’s future long before the 2003 invasion. But saying Saddam’s Iraq was a threat that could be lived with is a very different argument to there being no threat.

Update: The New York Times on the morning of June 22 reported on a cache of Saddamist documents which are going to be made public-access, which among other things disclosed additional details of Saddam’s relationship with Hassan al-Turabi. “The Iraqi files open a window into one of Saddam’s most important and less known foreign alliances,” said Michael Brill, a graduate from Georgetown University. This is part of a broader pattern where every time Saddam regime documents get released, it reveals that Saddam’s connection with Islamism was deeper than previously supposed. Qatar is known to stock many of the documents captured in Iraq by America after 2003—which amount to twenty-six million according to some Kurdish sources. Now would be an excellent time to declassify these, and help settle some of the debates over what Saddam’s regime was up to in its last decade-and-a-half."


Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous, yes I agree and work for local subsidiarity. I believe in federalism and constitutional representational limited government. But this all works only to the degree people are generally virtuous. The more vice ridden and addicted Americans become the more likely we will be ruled ("regulated" is another word for 'ruled') by faceless, unaccountable agencies with police powers.

I am a believer in local political face to face discussions. People tend to behave better and are more nuanced when face to face. If we would have domestic peace and tranquility we must make the effort to know and speak with people from "other tribes".

Jusadbellum said...

With respect to Iraq and US foreign policy: Bill Clinton bombed "a sovereign nation" (i.e. Iraq) throughout the 1990s and developed an official policy of 'regime change' against Saddam. The macro-US foreign policy with respect to the Middle East has been relatively consistent for 50 years.

Our goal is to remain the local hegemon not only astride the oil fields but astride the world's most travelled shipping lanes.... virtually all ships going between China and Europe must pass through the Red Sea. Having a ring of military bases in that area and being local hegemons of the countries along the route gives us a strategic choke point over not just oil but all commerce. If you ever wonder why we're called "the indispensable nation" or why people would continue to buy our debt, that's one reason.

So to the degree Al Qaeda and now ISIS or local independent dictators (Qadaffi) could attempt to veto "our interests" the half-century long US position was to eliminate that threat one way or another.

Thus after 9/11 when the SUNNI arab Al Qaeda published their manifesto calling for the re-creation of Caliphate and telling everyone that they'd establish it in the ancient capitals of the Caliphate (Iraq and Syria), it made sense for the US to occupy those acres and use the occasion to simultaneously eliminate this growing threat to the status quo and reinforce our local presence astride the world's commercial shipping lanes.

What Obama seems to be doing is shifting our local hegemony support base from the Sunnis to the Shiites - a sort of cake and eat it too idea. If the Shiites win, they control Iran, Iraq, Syria, and parts of Yemen...and thus we gain footholds on both sides of the Persian Gulf and keep a presence at the mouth of the Red Sea.

Another point to consider... what has the Arab Spring accomplished besides eliminating local industry and local food production thus reducing the entire region to poverty and dependence on the outside world for food and fuel and 20th century level stuff? Iraq under Saddam had industry capable of producing their own weapons. Not anymore. Ditto with Syria and Egypt...not anymore. The Saudis have no home spun defense industry (or other industry)...

You have to think outside the box of Democrat vs. Republican tribe and just see what the USA does, not what we say we do.

From a Catholic perspective then, the chilling reality is that neither political party is our natural ally. They will use Catholics when it suits them and will always seek to pit us against each other to neutralize our political power. As much as I dislike the big-city machine politics of the 19th century, the reason it was developed and distorted Catholicism in America was this enduring hostility towards Catholics. As the underdog, it became a question of survival to be FOR some big centralized government and police state that could defend against the KKK (Democrats) and the anti-Catholic Masons (Republicans).

If we want to improve our position domestically we need to think as Catholics not as Democrats or Republicans. If we want to improve our position in the world, then we need to think through what an alternative foreign policy would be like and how to peacefully climb off the tiger's back we're on...if indeed that's even possible given geo-political constants.

I'm not very optimistic about America's socio-economic-political chances past 2030. I'm a bit less pessimistic about the Church's prospects.

John Nolan said...


Sarin is a nerve agent and any Cold War warrior will tell you that NBC defence measures would counteract it. Mustard is a persistent blister agent and in liquid form could theoretically be used to deny an area to the enemy but its effectiveness is limited.

The Canadians who suffered at 2nd Ypres were taken by surprise and no countermeasures were in place. Their greatest handicap was that the rifle they were issued with (the Ross rifle) was the result of a shady deal between the Canadian government and a Canadian arms manufacturer and was next to useless. They were forbidden from using the highly efficient SMLE with which British units were issued.

Any country with a chemical industry can produce chemical weapons but their military effectiveness is severely limited and the adverse propaganda resulting from their use against civilian targets outweighs any possible gain. Women and children can just as easily be massacred with bayonets.

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for your replies. I agree 100% about the need to think outside the box and transcend our current two party political thinking. I also like your sensible analysis of Obama’s foreign policy strategy in the Middle East. I wish more people were able to see the bigger picture as you do instead of uncritically swallowing the propaganda of one side or the other. But the Sunni Arab rulers need to step up to the plate as well and take care of ISIS, which is a big threat to their power. Indeed, I believe this is the reason that Saddam was left in place but contained by Bush I and Clinton (albeit perhaps working for longer term and manageable regime change) – he was able to deal with these radical jihadist elements much more effectively than we have been able to do (as well as serving as a counterweight to Iran). Conservative realism has always understood these things, which the liberal neoconservative idealists and ideologues (continue to) fail to understand. To this extent, then, I disagree with you about the US occupying Iraq and Syria. However, I agree with you about the Arab spring, with the caveat that the naivete began with the Bush Administration which supported democracy in Gaza and then got Hamas (be careful what you wish for, etc.) and that the usual suspects from that Administration were for the Arab Spring before they were against it and indeed even tried to take credit for it.

And despite being formally terminated in 2006 the neoconservative Project for the New American Century (which had been agitating to invade Iraq for years) lives on as the Foreign Policy Project. And their adherents can be seen regularly on the cable news networks, especially FOX, agitating for further military intervention around the world, including against Iran. I imagine they will have a lot to say during the next few weeks:

I do not question their good intentions and their patriotism but their actions have not usually been in America’s best interests. We would do well to note the directors and staff members of both these organizations as well as the signatories of the Project’s Statement of Principles. Some have recanted their errors – for example Francis Fukuyama – but others never seem to learn:

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, what NBC defence measures do you think that people living in a city could be protected from a sarin gas attack?

"Defence Against Chemical Terrorism

As in the case of biological agents, most authors are quite pessimistic about the feasibility of defences against terrorist use of chemical weapons. In the words of Kupperman and Trent:

The sad fact is that there appears to be no practical way of controlling toxic chemical agents except for militarily significant stocks of sarin or VX.

Interdiction is also a difficult matter. First, there are vast numbers of highly poisonous chemicals, most of which are commercially available in nearly all countries. Next, the means of detection are highly selective....we must generally know what to look for in order to detect the agents. Protection against a chemical attack is primarily dependent upon warning. Were the threat of chemical attack made, and demands imposed on government, it might be possible to thwart the assault. As a practical matter, however, the target would have to be isolated. Certainly, a convention hall, office building, or sports arena is quite vulnerable. Complicating matters further, were a chemical attack intended to discredit government and cause socioeconomic disruption, randomness of target and frequency of attack would be basic terrorist tactics. (1979: 84-5)

Those few authors who do speculate on possible defences against chemical terrorism in particular focus on preventing terrorist access to the most likely chemical agents, and developing better early-warning detection methods. For example, Jenkins and Rubin speculate that "It may be identify specific chemical compounds that ought to be subject to licensing procedures with penalties for unauthorized possession" (1978: 228). The OTA notes that "In the chemical area, rapid 'early warning' multiagent detectors are being developed" (1992: 5). Even Kupperman and Trent acknowledge that "Generally speaking, chemical detectors could be used to interdict selected chemicals were close-in inspections feasible. Obviously, if chemical detectors were distributed widely, they could give warning during the first minutes of such an attack" (1979: 85). However, they go on:

Since almost any public gathering is a potential target, terrorists cannot always be denied access to their target. Technology may be able to reduce this threat through detectors for trace amounts of hazardous substances....A considerable amount of development is still needed because there are many potential chemical agents. (1979: 89)"

"An Israeli intelligence researcher says a successful nerve gas attack perpetrated by a Japanese doomsday cult, which killed dozens and wounded over a 1,000 others could be a working template for ISIS, and like-minded terrorists against the United States or Europe, Israel Defense wrote on Sunday.

Basing his thesis on the triple release of sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway system, carried out by five members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in 1995, Ronen Solomon noted recent threats by ISIS to carry out similar strikes deep within the New York and Paris subway."


Jusadbellum said...

So gentlemen (and Ladies as I presume some Ladies join us), as Catholics and not as partisans of our political tribes, what could we do together to effect a positive change at least in our own corner of the world or just our zip code?

Little we do will have global or even national impact. But we can make a difference in our town or immediate social milieu when the global or national 'macro' situation goes to hell via economic or political catastrophe.

I think the minimum expected of us is to be friends with Jesus as with as many of his other friends as possible, regardless of tribal and political affiliation. And this will require first meeting online and then in real-life.

I encourage you to consider meeting each other as well as people from outside your ethnicity and class. Let the faith and love for Jesus be our common ground if nothing else is.

When all hell breaks loose (as history would warn us it always does), the damage is avoided or mitigated by the actions of organized groups of good people. Had the President been a Democrat, the story of Hurricane Katrina would have been about the largest spontaneous rescue operation in US history. Rather than hear about rapes and death, the focus would have been on the heroic self-mobilization of churches, clubs, private citizens putting boots on the ground and boats in the water within hours of hearing the news.

In Charleston, SC after the Church shooting, the local churches and other groups immediately put out the word of reconciliation and calm before outside agitators could book flights to the city.

So too in our social milieu... do we love the poor because they're people or because they're poor? Do we love our neighbor because they're people or because they're OUR neighbor?

If man-made or natural calamity strikes, are we prepared to self-deploy, to save ourselves and our neighbors with as many likeminded souls....or are we preparing to be helpless victims utterly dependent on the benevolence of State or NGOs?

Suppose the US follows the template of every other persecution in world history and eliminates or radically reduces the number of clergy and religious serving us laity.... are we preparing to keep the faith and hand it on to the next generation on our own....or are we preparing to be utterly dependent and thus incapable of either keeping or handing on the deposit of faith?

I think of the Democrats as communists and the establishment Republicans as Fascists: both are essentially secular materialists seeking some unspecified 'utopia' which is at odds with Catholicism and liberty. Neither ultimately have our good at heart. So how will we not just maintain but create the good that we seek if only in our own little circle? I would submit we must meet, greet, and befriend as many Catholic men, married couples and families as we can, while we can...and forge the friendships and loyalties essential to the rise of an authentic Catholic civilization. The macro is made of the micro.

Anonymous 2 said...


For some reason somewhere along the way I formed the impression that you were in another part of the country. Now I am questioning that impression. Are you in fact in Macon?

Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous 2

I'm not in Macon but can get there in under 6 hours....