How the Catholic Left will support Pres. Obama’s attack on Syria.

I was going to write it, but over at CatholicVote (keep praying for Thom Peters’ complete recovery!), Matt Bowman beat me to it with a great look into the wacky world of the Fishwrap‘s (aka National Schismatic Reporter) support of Pres. Obama’s impending attack on Syria.

Yes, you read that.

HOW NCREPORTER LEARNED TO LOVE THE BOMB
BY MATT BOWMAN

The U.S. Bishops are urging Catholics to contact Congress to oppose President Obama’s desire to bomb Syria.

Pope Francis is insisting that more bombing is not an answer.

Even Jon Stewart (explicit content warning) doesn’t hesitate to call President Obama’s bomb proposal absurd.

But pundits of the Catholic Left can’t muster up the courage to unequivocally oppose their Democratic president’s bomb-mongering.

The National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters has written a meandering screed supporting Obama. He doesn’t even mention the Pope, or the Bishops, much less rebut their statements. Can you imagine Winters failing to mention Pope Francis and the U.S. Bishops if they called for action on any other issue such as immigration, guns, or for that matter a Republican-instigated war?

On the NCReporter’s main page, it has forgotten how to plainly condemn bombing. It lists some articles in favor of the bishops’ view, yet at the same time it hosts what can only be called a “diversity” of views on the topic.

In addition to Winters, NCReporter’s exclusive Jesuit “analyst” Fr. Thomas Reese wrings his hands about whether more bombs should be dropped. Fr. Reese cannot muster simple condemnation of more bombs. Reese prominently features the thoughts of William Galston, who offers a variety of justifications for the president.

So when Pope Francis, the Vatican, and the U.S. Bishops criticize Republican-led wars, or capitalist economics, pundits on the Catholic Left treat their messages as ex cathedra doctrine. When these same Catholic bishops strenouously oppose President Obama’s desire to drop bombs on Syria, Catholic Left pundits start to wonder if bombs aren’t so bad after all. [I wonder what Sr. Simone thinks?  Sr. Keehan? Sr. Chittister?  The LCWR?]

I don’t remember NCReporter hosting bloggers who defended dropping bombs in Iraq, or offered pro-waterboarding “moral voices,” or theological defenses of nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

[...]

Read the rest over there.

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67 Responses to How the Catholic Left will support Pres. Obama’s attack on Syria.

  1. Fr_Sotelo says:

    NCDistorter supporting war? Hmm, I don’t remember taking hallucinogenic drugs. Maybe I’m due for new reading glasses.

  2. MikeM says:

    I’d be interested to hear what Pope Francis and the bishops think should be done about Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Are sanctions better than targeted military strikes? From a humanitarian perspective, I don’t think so. The world has to at least muster some concrete response to the gassing of civilians. The Syrian regime has transgressed the law… both the natural law and international legal norms and some would argue the 1925 Geneva Protocol against the use of chemical weapons in war (to which they’re a signatory). Leaving that unpunished is a step even closer to global chaos.

  3. Gratias says:

    NCR continues to go against the Pope. Maybe they believe in reading Francis through Benedict.

    Pope Francis had an enormous spiritual success yesterday with the vigil for peace in Syria. You should watch some of it. The Holy Rosary prayed by about 100,000 in St. Peter’s square (about one third in), Litanies of the Saints and Tantum ergo in Latin, a bit for everybody. The new Pope seems to work very well with Mgr. Guido Marini. Enjoy the movie:

    http://m.youtube.com/?client=mv-google#/watch?v=zw1UYylwwuc

  4. Phil_NL says:

    Which once again illustrates that the bishops, including the Holy Father, would do better to refrain from commenting on matters that belong to the realm of prudential judgement, that Catholics can freely disagree upon. And especially concrete situations, such as specific military operations (or social legislation, or immigration law). There’s a reason why the episcopate and politics are different callings.

    Now I do – accidentilly, and for different reasons – happen to agree that a Syrian campaign is a bad idea, but once again the trust in the episcopate by people on the other side of the argument will have taken a hit. And that happens every time a bishop comments on political matters that allow diametrically opposed positions by Catholics of good standing.

  5. Martlet says:

    And only ten short years ago, Catholics on the Right supported the war in Iraq, against the advice of Pope John Paul II and virtually every Christian leader in the world.

  6. Just love it how the pacifist anitwar left are only against the wars they themselves don’t start. When the pacifist antiwar left clinches to power, they suddenly turn into warmongers even after the resounding voice of reason is telling them NO.

    Pope Francis said, “I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace. May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.”

    For once in his political career, it’s time for Obama the talker to become Obama, the listener.

  7. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Phil,

    thank you for your highly interesting point. I don’t think I quite agree, but I won’t argue that here… all the more since I might not so easily find an argument.

    What I do say (and why I write this comment): For better or worse, it seems that most of what our bishops do say is in the realm of prudential judgment and in the realm allowing diametrically opposed positions by Catholics of good standing.

    Of course, one of the reasons for this impression might be that we (and even more the media) tend to overlook the binding Catholic stuff as self-evident. I personally doubt it is the only one.

  8. Nicolas Bellord says:

    Yes a crime has been committed. We are told that there is evidence that Assad is responsible. That evidence needs to be tested in a court of law and we should not rely upon hearsay. There is an International Criminal Court and proceedings should be started there once the UN has reported. The evidence can then be examined in public, a judgement made and if found guilty a suitable punishment can be handed down. It is a pity that the USA does not recognise the International Criminal Court and continues to behave as if the world was the wild west with a Sheriff’s posse shooting up the supposed culprits and asking questions afterwards.

    Why not follow the example of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma who has had to face a worse government than Assad for 25 years or so and by calling for loving kindness is at last making some progress in bringing reconciliation and peace to that country although there is still a long way to go?

  9. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    The reason I bring this up is that, on any such topic, there are bound to be Catholics on either side. Now for any Catholic, it’s unpleasant finding your bishop on the other side of a political argument, regardless whether one thinks it reflects poorly on the bishop’s judgement, or that the bishop is misinformed, or has his priorities in the wrong order, or that one has to explain ad extra that this is something that is not binding, and that you therefore are both a Catholic in good standing but still vehemently disagree. None of these situations will have a real upside.

    So if it happens once, that’s akward enough already. If it happens all the time (and if the episcopate consistently takes leftish positions, a Catholic with right-of-centre political convictions will find him or herself in that position very often indeed) it degrades the trust in the bishop and the entire episcopate, and the esteem in which they are held. If you have to discard the bishop’s rumblings 9 times because he’s riding some political hobby-horse, will you still listen to him the 10th time when he is actually guiding his flock in a way we’re bound to follow?
    Not to mention the fact that politics is a dirty business. If you take positions, chances are that not only your positions are attacked, but your person as well. At least some of that will stick. Again, any bishop to whom that happens is unlikely to emerge with more authority among his flock; at best he’ll have bought some with half his flock, but at the expense of his standing among the other half. At worst, everyone will think less of him.

    Therefore I think the bishops can be much more forceful, much more effective if they restrain themselves to comment on politics only when it deal with those topics that are binding. Then they can speak for the faith, and will be more likely to be recognized as such.
    Does that mean that bishops should remain silent if they see things heading in the wrong direction on other topics than (e.g.) abortion or euthanisia? No, but they should then talk about principles, not their application. Saying that war should not be waged lightly is something the bishops can – and perhaps should – say. Saying that a particular war should not be waged is very much another thing. Based on the same principles a certain war can be judged either acceptable or not, especially if one has to balance various interests (and frankly, there isn’t that much in terms of binding principles on warfare; for the vast majority of the past 20 centuries, the Church has condoned, sometimes even supported warfare, recognizing a high degree of freedom for rulers to use armed conflict as a tool of policy). The Church can teach about principles in these matters, but should leave the actual application of those to the people who’s job that is: politicians.

    And bishops who cannot make that distinction, or cannot communicate in a way that preserves this distinction even when reported by a (usually hostile) press, should indeed simply remain silent on these matters, for the above-mentioned reasons.

    And it is true that much of what bishops tend to say about politics is within the realm of prudential judgement, so that this would mean a lot less comment from the episcopate on current affairs. (Though I get the impression the US bishops are much more inclined to pronoucne on politics than, for example, the Dutch episcopate, which seems to have learned from the episodes involving the late Bp Muskens, or perhaps isn’t that left-of-centre anymore, and therefore sees less difference between policies in those areas and their own preferences. So the situation differs from country to country).
    But if they speak out less often, they will have more opportunity to contribute on the topics that are binding, and that matter most. That also should be seen as an improvement.

  10. Martlet says:

    I do not understand why everything has to be turned into a party-political issue. If a strike against Syria is wrong, so was the all-out invasion of Iraq. It matters not one jot whether the Right or the Left does wrong, it is still wrong. But what I am seeing here and all across the internet is Catholics – not even a full day after last night’s vigil – going back to fighting among ourselves. How can we, with such anger and hatred in our hearts, possibly expect Syrians to come to the negotiating table? Have we really no shame? Do we not know that every war starts in someone’s hearts? Do we not understand that the hatreds we nurture are the seeds of war? Can we not, even now, simply be Catholics? Do we have to label each other at every opportunity? Yes, we will disagree on some issues, but surely we can do that respectfully. If we can’t, even after the prayers we poured out last night, even after we had slowly recited the Rosary together, even after the Pope had spoken, even as we sung our Kyries in our own homes and joined them with the millions of cries for mercy going up to God from around the world, then there is no hope for peace. Not in Syria, not in our own countries, not in our own homes or our own hearts.

  11. Brandon Underwood says:

    “And only ten short years ago, Catholics on the Right supported the war in Iraq”

    Not this Catholic. I did not support the war in Iraq and I do not support a prospective war in Syria.

    But I know what you mean.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comment “that the bishops, including the Holy Father, would do better to refrain from commenting on matters that belong to the realm of prudential judgement.” The USCCB especially should take particular heed of this, as they have been functioning much more as a blatant (and very poor) PAC in recent years than a Bishops’ Conference.

    But Pope Francis’ message is not political. He is calling for world peace, specifically “peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world.” The Holy Father’s message was very general and addressed to everyone. He did not single out or drag any specific country/countries through the dirt in his statements, just call for general peace across the board. How can any genuine Christian who puts their faith before their politics be opposed to this?

  12. Scott W. says:

    Instead of tu quoque and an irrelevant discussion about What Bush Did, how about we simply apply Church teaching [CCC 2309] to the immediate problem of whether to rain death on human beings from on high:

    1. Is the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations lasting, grave, and certain? It’s grave certainly, but hardly certain who pulled the trigger. FAIL.

    2. Have all other means of putting an end to it been shown to be impractical or ineffective? As far as I can tell, other means have not even been seriously suggested. FAIL.

    3. Are there serious prospects of success? Perhaps better put this way, will gas attacks stop after a bombing? The U.S. certainly still has the military might to do so, so I’ll give this a PASS even if I doubt it will stop since we are not even sure of the correct target.

    4. Will the use of arms avoid producing evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated? I’d say provoking Russia for a bombing the U.S. Government wants to do based on a case it hasn’t sufficiently made yet counts. FAIL.

  13. Bosco says:

    It matters not who is for and who is against sweeping military intervention in Syria, Obama, with his overweening egotism and unerring faith in the infallibility of his weaponry, is going to let the balloon go up.
    As it now appears the vote in the House will go against him, he cannot afford to wait for its negative verdict. He will not be bound by the UN Security Council.
    My bet is that when he addresses the US citizens on Tuesday it will be to announce military action is already under way and that the ‘allies’ of the US are committed to its support:
    ” A great mission of liberation has fallen to your lot. Be worthy of this mission! The war you are waging is a war of liberation, a just war.” – Joseph Stalin speech– November 7, 1941
    The real goal, in my opinion, is take out Iran and its nuclear facilities and the action in Syria presents the perfect segue for such.
    As for Pope Francis’ call for worldwide prayer and fasting (which I observed as best I could) I can picture in my mind Obama leaning over and asking John Kerry:
    “The Pope! How many divisions has he got?” – Joseph Stalin to Pierre Laval (1935)
    Pray the rosary every day in earnest.

  14. William says:

    @MikeM: Your statement “The world has to at least muster some concrete response to the gassing of civilians. ” makes good sense; but in a world that slaughters millions of innocent children in their mothers’ wombs, these are very hollow words indeed.

  15. Bosco says:

    When I see the manner and method of Mr. Obama my thoughts involuntarily yet inevitably drift to the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation.
    In the present circumstance I recall the words of Daniel 11:38-39:
    “But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.”

    It is recorded that to someone who was once questioning the Servant of God, Sister Lucia, on the content of the Third Secret of Fatima, Sr Lucia replied:

    “It’s in the Gospel and in the Apocalypse, read them.” Sister Lucia also confided to Fr Fuentes that the Virgin Mary made her see clearly that “we are in the last times of the world.”

  16. Dennis Martin says:

    Spare me the tu quoque. This rightwing Catholic told his classes in March 2003 that he thought the invasion of Iraq was imprudent, that it satisfied some but not all of the criteria for a just war. And that when John Paul II said that war is a defeat for humanity he meant that in every case, war could have been prevented had people done the right thing earlier. That was true in 2003–the corrupt UN and corrupt French and others stymied other ways of dealing with tyranny in Iraq. Even so, there was reason to believe that the aftermath would be worse than the existing tyranny, so the just war criteria were not met.

    That’s exactly why the present Syrian intervention also fails to meet just-war criteria. And the left are using exactly the same arguments used by those who did think the Iraq war met the criteria.

    Many of the neo-conservatives who supported the Iraq war have also come out in favor of intervention in Syria. They are at least consistent and are not just basing their prudential judgment on which political party occupies the White House. Take a look at Hugh Hewitt’s blog or National Review online. There are a number of supporters of the Syria War to be found there.

    In the case of Syria, it will be a defeat for mankind because had the foolish red line not been drawn the president would not be trying to save face now. However, he has intervened in Libya and Egypt for the same reason he wants to intervene in Syria: he is fundamentally a Sunni Muslim sympathizer against the Shia. It was on behalf of the Sunni rebels that he drew the red line and as it was looking like Assad was winning, only then, long after the rebels used Sarin gas, crossed the red line while Obama remained silent, only as Assad appeared to be winning, did, lo and behold, apparently a rogue Syrian army unit, use Sarin gas. Both sides have used the same gas. How can one with a straight face argue that only one side crossed the World’s Noble Red.

    So we are going to war in Syra not out of defense of international law but because of which side Obama long ago chose to be the victors in this civil war. That does not even come close to satisfying the first principle of just war–just cause, to say nothing of proportionality or likely outcome.

    What a tragic irony that on the eve of the anniversary of the death-rain from the Twin Towers, he will make a speech carrying Al Quaida’s water. Even more ironic, he will come close to admitting that he’s an Al Quaidan when he, apparently, will shift the argument to insist that Assad must be removed because he’s allied with Iran. Finally he’s getting serious about Iran’s regional hegemony (the sad result of the unwise Iraq war) but only because he himself is a Sunni-lover.

    And the Christians of Egypt and Syria will be the biggest victims.

    But at my Catholic university campus, deafening silence from all the usual suspects who, in early 2003 were holding teach-ins, fondly remembering their “heroic struggle” against the eeeeeeeevvvvvvvviiiiiiiiiilllllllll Vietnam war, lambasting Bush-Cheny and waving the papal flag on high (which they totally ignore otherwise). Hypocrites. Feckless hypocrites.

    Blissful silence now. Hypocrites, every one of them.

  17. At first i supported the strike because chemical weapons is crossing a line.Not Obama’s infamous red line that he now claims is not his,but a line.Then i did some research,collected more info and took a look at the rebels we will be aiding.Truth is,if these animals could get their hands on sarin they would do the same thing. Sorry.These rebels are not worth defending. They are just as brutal as Assad and once in power (after they all fight it out)will be no better.
    Pope Francis vigil was beautiful. Time for prayer. Then you have to ask yourself;how did Obama handle Benghazi? You know the order to stand down had to come from him. He left 4 men there to die without even trying to save them.Do you really believe if we get in deep and our service men are at risk he’s going to lift a finger? What if we’re attacked on US soil? You think Obama will do everything necessary to defend us? Israel? They’ll be hung out to dry. There will be no good outcome if he strikes. What if Assad uses chemical weapons again after this strike? Then what? The main reason i turned TOTALLY against military intervention of any kind is the brutality of the rebels. Not one drop of American blood needs to be shed for these ppl. My son is in the Navy-a CPO. I fear he’s over there.Pls pray for them. They’re sitting ducks. Does anyone really trust Obama? He does not know what he’s doing.

  18. Dennis Martin says:

    And Senator John Kerry and the others leading this crusade for intervention today are the ones who frustrated and blocked Bush administration hard-line efforts against Assad as an ally of Iran back in the day. When the president makes his speech Tuesday, the commentariat SHOULD be pointing that out, if we had a critically-thinking press instead of lap-dogs. He did nothing to support the valiant efforts by the Iranian opposition early in his first term but watched them surge then fall back and end up in the torture chambers. Now we have to bomb Syria to get at Iran? How stupid does he think we are? Sadly most people won’t know about his efforts as a senator to block efforts against Assad.

  19. Bosco says:

    @MikeM,
    I understand your point and I respect your opinion. My greatest qualms are these:

    Can the blasphemous President ‘God Bless Planned Parenthood’ genuinely hope to utter ‘God Bless America’ when US military efforts commence? Between President ‘God Bless Planned Parenthood’ and Assad who stands before Almighty God with more innocent blood to account for?
    I fear God will withdraw His protection altogether from such an arrogant man and his efforts.

    How many innocent men, women, and children who are now alive will be dead as a result of unleashing conventional US military weaponry intended (so they say) to teach a lesson that the lives of innocent men, women and children must not be taken by Syrian chemical weaponry?

    Are we prepared to see all of the YouTube clips of the dead, collaterally snuffed-out, the ruined hospitals, churches, mosques, schools?

    God allows matters to come to such an impasse to show our absolute dependence on Him and that, as ever, He is our only recourse.

    Put your faith in God and not the one who thinks he is God.

  20. philosoph0123 says:

    It would also be very helpful if, when the Pope and/or the U.S. bishops took positions on issues, they would note the difference between those issues where there is no question of prudential judgments being a factor (e.g. abortion, homosexual “marriage”, artificial birth control) as opposed to those acts which may, under certain circumstances (about which the Pope and/or bishops may not have full information), be licit. To go to war with Syria may well be feckless and evil, but part of this discernment does involve various prudential judgments. To acknowledge this may weaken the force of their objections, but it would be both more honest as well as less confusing to the Catholic faithful.

  21. philisopho writes,

    “It would also be very helpful if, when the Pope and/or the U.S. bishops took positions on issues, they would note the difference between those issues where there is no question of prudential judgments being a factor (e.g. abortion, homosexual “marriage”, artificial birth control) as opposed to those acts which may, under certain circumstances (about which the Pope and/or bishops may not have full information), be licit”

    .Very good point. It’s amazing how many Catholics do not know the difference.

  22. Kerry sat down to lunch with this guy and called him a reformer. Biden said that Pres Bush should be impeached if we went to war without Congressional approval.My how things have changed. Almost afraid some law makers are not voting their conscience at all-just voting to save face for Obama.

  23. Urget_nos says:

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. If one reads the LCWR’s web page, front and center, one will find the sisters sounding and being genuinely Catholic on the proposed military action against Syria. They are even citing the pope as being on their side. St. Ephraim the Syrian, pray for us.

  24. Bob B. says:

    Foreign policy in the Obama Administration is and has been a joke. There has not been a coherent policy on anything, except for gay rights being central to it. Just look around…we are pulling out of Afghanistan and the rebels are just waiting for our announced date to strike. Iraq, Libya and Egypt are all a mess, too.
    Face it, Obama put his foot in his mouth about Syria but he found a solution that will enable him to save some face: asking Congress to decide allows him an out either way. He can either watch drone or missile strikes from the comfort of the White House or he will look very presidential and say that Congress has spoken and he will abide by the American people’s wishes.
    How well I remember when most of the clergy was against the Vietnam War, too. Thank heaven that we had our own Catholic chaplains who helped us through. Whatever happens, don’t blame the troops – they only follow the orders of the president.

  25. Unwilling says:

    The idea of the checklist (Scott W) is good. But next actions should look to current and future conditions, not to past (pure “Get Assad!” punishment for “having done” would be wrong). The way to frame this item is to ask about preventing harm that is “lasting, grave, and certain”. The depredations of the Syrian conflict fit those three adjectives. Now, governments must determine whether taking military action, proportioned to the effect, or failing to take such action will result in prevention of further such evils. Can we conscionably refuse to intervene in a slaughter?

    Remember Rwanda. The Balkans. Fiddling while Rome burns.

  26. ” or he will look very presidential and say that Congress has spoken and he will abide by the American people’s wishes.” you can hope and pray but never known him to make a good decision.

  27. StJude says:

    There is no proof Assad used the chemical weapons. Zero.
    Even if there was evidence are we really going to bomb and help Al Qaeda? This whole thing is nonsense.. we need to stay out of it.
    Muslims have been killing each other for thousands of years.. us interfering does nothing but make things worse.
    I saw on twitter “Syrians are killing Syrians, so Obama wants to kill Syrians to show them how wrong it is to kill Syrians”. How pathetically true is that?!
    And we now live in a world where the Pope asks Putin to talk some sense into Obama. Maybe all those prayers to consecrate Russia worked…because Putin seems like the sane one right now.

  28. gracie says:

    I don’t recall President Obama wanting to drop bombs because of the Christians who have been killed by the rebels. Death is death, whether caused by chemical or conventional weapons. The idea that some deaths are business as usual while others are beyond the pale is morally reprehensible. I’m not a pacifist but see no reason why the U.S. should be in the business of replacing one dictator with another. President Carter toppled the Shah of Iran and now the country is run by ayatollahs; we went to war in Afghanistan where we achieved the wonderful result of having old tribal leaders replaced by new tribal leaders all of whom hate our guts and none of whom give a toss about democracy; we got rid of Hussein and created 2 million refugees and now have a sectarian war there with Sunnis and Shias fighting each other (with last May the deadliest month since 2006); we supported the rebels against Mubarak and got a year of the Muslim Brotherhood followed by its current bloody civil war; and now – drum roll – Syria, where Obama’s going after Assad and if he’s successful we’ll get to have al Queda running the show there.

    Hello??? We are insane to get involved in the tribal turf wars of the Middle East. We basically help “rebels” to oust dictators and then watch as these “rebels” – after a “democratic” election – become the new dictators and start the process of killing off *their* opponents all over again. Isn’t it time we stopped trying to template the world with the U.S. system of government – and let these tribes determine their own destiny in their own bloody way? At least it’s their blood and not ours. I’m sick and tired of our soldiers being the sacrificial lambs of political power plays. Enough.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Obama is pro-draft, parents, as well, so do not be surprised if he calls up young men. I remember Obama stating he supports a draft in 2008, when I was writing on my blog then.

    Also, the New Deal of FDR did not get us out of the Great Depression, but the industrial boost of WWII. That used to be learned in American 20th century history, 101.

    And, he can start this war on purpose in order to create the tyranny at home-and, this is, according to some reporters from the Middle East, all about OIL.

    If you want more information on these points, you can find them on my blog and elsewhere.
    The US media and the politicians will not tell Americans the truth about this war.

    [And let us not forget about his desire for a Domestic Security Force.]

  30. SKAY says:

    http://catholiclane.com/calling-all-catholics-defend-your-brothers-and-sisters-in-syria/
    There are Christians within Syria who are asking us not to bomb Syria.
    There is a question about who actually used the chemical weapons and for what purpose.
    There is a lot more to this than this administration is willing to say. Many in Congress are not convinced even though they have been to briefings.. As we see in the link — there are many in the groups fighting Assad that are jihadists to the core and would have no problem using these kinds of weapons in the US. Our southern border is certainly not protected.
    This administration has proven over and over that they are perfectly willing to misrepresent the truth to achieve their ideological objective in this country–Bengghazi, IRS targeting certain groups before the election, Fast and Furious guns to Mexico, etc.
    They were certainly wrong about Egypt and the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood”.

    Obama has managed to lose credibility both inside and outside of this country.

    BobB- “Thank heaven that we had our own Catholic chaplains who helped us through.” Now this administration is trying to tell change that.

    boxerpaws-” Almost afraid some law makers are not voting their conscience at all-just voting to save face for Obama.”
    Eleanor Holmes Norton admitted that she is not for this attack but said that if her vote could count she would vote for it to protect Obama. I am sure she is not the only one.

  31. Supertradmum says:

    sorry use to not used to….

  32. Supertradmum says:

    I really wish Americans would watch France24 and RT. Plus the many videos coming out on the lies regarding the attack. Germany said today that there is no proof the chem attacks came from Assad. Read more and skip the American media, which is not fair and balanced….

  33. Supertradmum says:

    Sorry to stuff the combox, but a European perspective is needed to counteract not only the hypocritical liberals, but the neo-con hawks. Look here and follow directions. Watch the video put on last week before it disappears.
    http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.ie/2013/09/war-posts_8.html

  34. jhayes says:

    According to the Washington Post, President al-Assad of Syria will appear on US television Monday night. The interview has already been recorded by Charlie Rose.

    Here in Boston it will be shown at 11 PM Eastern Time on WGBH.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/09/08/charlie-rose-syrian-president-closely-watching-debate-over-military-intervention/

  35. StJude says:

    Supertradmum… agreed the American media is nothing but Obama propaganda.
    I was just reading something from Britain which said that Putin got into an argument with Cameron about Syria but all Cameron wanted to talk about was gay rights in Russia.
    on the verge of possibly WW3 and the west is all gay all the time. Obama, as a slight to Putin, met with Russian gay activists after the G20 summit.
    Especially disturbing is all the Russian law states is this: “The legislation makes it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.”

    So killing people and possibly starting WW3 takes a backseat to that?!! The west is more concerned about underage kids having the ‘right’ to see gay pornography.
    What planet are we on?

    “We either become a tolerant Western state where everything is allowed — and lose our Christianity and moral foundations — or we will be a Christian people who live in our God-protected land in purity and godliness.” Rev Sergiy Rybko
    Russia says this?!!!! Russia?

    In the mean time… We are arming and training Al Qaeda..

    we live in disturbing times. God help us.

  36. Athanasius says:

    This mostly comes from lack of principles and selling our allegiance to parties in the hope of getting that one thing we want, which they will never give. The left voted for Obama because he was anti-war, going to shut down Guantanamo and be more transparent. He broke every promise. Many people on the right voted for Bush because he was not going to be like Clinton, he would not have more blunders like Kosovo, or be the world police. (wrong again!). I remember in 92 one of the main issues amongst people who voted for Clinton was the belief that we should scale down the military, focus on America and have peace dividends now that the USSR was out of the way, whereas George H.W. Bush was seen as representing more American action around the world. Wrong again! Just as liberals supported the murderous Serbia bombings and the establishment of an Islamic state in the balkans (whose army was trained and equipped by Bin Laden btw), they began supporting war in Libya and now Syria that their guy is doing it. This is because they lack principles, and why Wall St. batted for Obama rather than McCain, so that the anti-war movement on the left would collapse.

    The truth needs to be told, however, those who claim to be pro-life that support the idea that the US can lob cruise missiles into some country because they oppose “our interests” are not pro-life, they are just as pro-death as an abortionist, but the right under Bush decided to accept that war is good because we had a “pro-life” president. Supporting armed intervention in all these countries is murder. You are not pro-life if you support war in Syria, end of story. 100,000 dead civilians and counting in Afghanistan, 30,000 dead civilians in Iraq, the numbers aren’t even in for Libya, 5,000 dead from our drone actions in Yemen under Bush and Obama, and we want to do the same in Syria?
    EVERY country we have gone into since 1997, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, is much, much, much worse than it was before (although it ought to be noted that support in Afghanistan for the Taliban was just a little higher than Congress’). Every time it was on account of phony intelligence. In Kosovo it was mass graves which muslims dug for Serbian orthodox villages that they had murdered and blamed on the Serbs, Bin Laden was not even in Afghanistan the day of 9/11 as CBS news reported in 2002, but was in Pakistan, Iraq had no WMDs, and anyone who believes the story about Ghaddafi giving viagra to troops to use on the population needs some serious meds. There is just as good evidence that the rebels performed the chemical attack as the government, if not even more, especially given the base Kerry is saying the rockets came from, Khabut, was taken by the rebels in June. But hey, America hasn’t murdered enough innocent people in the world, the 50 million dead from abortion, and the countless thousands in the military, I suppose we are just a good christian nation.

  37. Johnno says:

    MikeM -

    - Whoa, lots of assumptions here.

    “I’d be interested to hear what Pope Francis and the bishops think should be done about Assad’s use of chemical weapons.”

    - There is no proof that Assad used chemical weapons. All evidence leads to the Rebels who were supplied these by Saudi Arabia, both allies of the U.S.A. who has been smuggling weapons to them for awhile now and therefore the US has been supporting terrorists. Obama and co were blatantly lying and the entire world knows it.

    “Are sanctions better than targeted military strikes? From a humanitarian perspective, I don’t think so.”

    - Not necessarily, sanctions have killed and made more people and children suffer and die over the long term than weapons. According to the US back during the Gulf days, 500,000 dead children was an acceptable collateral damage that was “worth it.”

    “The world has to at least muster some concrete response to the gassing of civilians.”

    - Sure, also white phorphorous and a bunch of other chemical weapons the U.S. and Israel use with impuinity and continue to use that do the same damage but for some arbitrary reason are ‘legal.’ Will the U.S. muster the same response to Saudi Arabia who sold sarin gas to the rebels?

    “The Syrian regime has transgressed the law… both the natural law and international legal norms and some would argue the 1925 Geneva Protocol against the use of chemical weapons in war (to which they’re a signatory). ”

    - There is no proof whatsoever that Syria transgressed the law which is why everyone but Obama and his cohorts aren’t on board with attacking Syria over some arbitrary hypocritical law against one particular weapon when Obama has killed far more men, women and children through the use of drones.

    “Leaving that unpunished is a step even closer to global chaos.”

    - No, hypocrisy on the part of the U.S. and immoral men like Barack Obama and bearing false witness against thy neighbor, committing treasonous acts against ones own congress and citizens and granting oneself the powers of a totalitarian monarch and bullying the world with the threath of warfare and wanting to attack a country illegally to protect ones pride and arrogance will bring us closer to global chaos.

  38. MikeM says:

    Bosco, et al.,

    Scripture tells us that God allows men, however evil they might be, to lead governments because the state is a means to chastise the wicked. Whether we like it or not (I don’t), Obama is the president of the one state that, whether we like it or not, is indispensable to addressing major global issues. The international order can’t be put on hold because we have a bad president.

    I don’t think that it’s a binding Catholic position (though it is my position) that we intervene in Syria, but I’m tiring of the Church hierarchy’s incoherence on matters of international affairs, combined with an insistence that it can make grandiose pronouncements on the ethics of every state action. They trot out Augustinian theories of jus ad bellum when that’s the easiest way to criticize US actions… and then they contradict themselves by jumping to the contemporary Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine when they want to criticize American inaction in some other situation. They issue white paper after white paper demanding ever more reliance on international norms and institutions, but then when it’s time for the world to use any of the available means to enforce the resulting body of international law, they accuse the US of inflicting suffering on others.

    Pope Francis said that violence is never the way to peace, but history has shown that without backing from a credible military force, peace is elusive. Just as we need governments to regulate the behavior of citizens within a state, we need to bring authority to bare on states, tyrants, warlords, etc., if we expect to maintain global taboos on gassing children and the like.

    To the Vatican’s credit, it actually seems to have the right priorities for the end result in Syria, if I’m reading between the lines correctly in the Holy Father’s letter to G20 leaders. The specific circumstances in Syria are messy and whatever we do regarding the situation needs to be carefully weighed and calibrated. But, the suggestion that a strike in response to the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations is concretely immoral is wrong. It’s morally bankrupt, practically dangerous, and contradictory to the preponderance of opinions out Rome.

    Assuming our intel is correct (and Congress should absolutely demand to see it), Assad had his forces role into the suburbs of Damascus and indiscriminately slaughter a thousand people, including women, children and the elderly, using illegal weapons that maximize suffering. And yet sending a few missiles in to weaken those forces is supposed to be immoral? A lot of people died as a result of American military action in WWII… and fighting the war was morally necessary. A lot of innocent people have been harmed by the sanction regimes imposed against Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and others and, yet, imposing the sanctions is also better than doing nothing (I tend to see military action as more humanitarian than sanctions, but I guess I’m in the minority on that). Innocent people died in the efforts to remove Milosevic, but he needed to be removed. Few people, in retrospect, would celebrate American refusal to intervene in the Rwandan genocide. I fear that when the world does nothing in Syria, and we find out that Assad’s campaign to wipe out Sunni populations in strategically important areas has continued (and, let’s face it… it will continue… it’s the only avenue Assad has to re-consolidate his power), the Church will look very foolish, indeed… almost evil.

  39. dcs says:

    Which once again illustrates that the bishops, including the Holy Father, would do better to refrain from commenting on matters that belong to the realm of prudential judgement, that Catholics can freely disagree upon.

    Why should we think that the U.S. attacking Syria falls into this category? The Church has principles of Just War that can be applied – and who better to apply them than Our Holy Father the Pope?

  40. inexcels says:

    This just goes to show — and this is true for the right as well as the left, even though it’s the left that’s on display here — that many people don’t actually support moral principles. They just pick a side, and then whatever that side does becomes the basis for what is moral. Rampant hypocrisy and logical absurdities inevitably ensue. It’s downright painful to watch.

  41. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Which once again illustrates that the bishops, including the Holy Father, would do better to refrain from commenting on matters that belong to the realm of prudential judgement, that Catholics can freely disagree upon. And especially concrete situations, such as specific military operations

    I agree with dcs on this matter, the Church has the just war doctrine, CCC 2309, which Scott W showed that this situation fails for that doctrine to apply. This is not a prudential judgement issue, like immigration, because what is on the line is thousands if not more innocent lives.

  42. Phil_NL says:

    dcs, CrimsonCatholic,

    No, this is not a simple ‘go by the checklist and tick the boxes (or not)’-exercise. At least not in the way Scott W suggests. In my book, the issue at stake here is not whether or not Assad deserves to be bombed for gassing his own people. The issue at stake is whether an intervention will help or hinder keeping the forces of islam at bay. That has been an ongoing war for centuries, and as the other side never stopped, it’s still on. It takes only one side to wage war.
    Judging the matter in that context you’ll see a wholly different result for that CCC ‘checklist’ as produced above. (a checklist which, frankly, is a whole lot more restrictive than the Church’s approach has been for many centuries. That may be a good thing, but it is an innovation of sorts). See how people can still disagree on the application of the principle? All it takes is a different hermeneutic to place the action in.

    As a matter of fact, as I said elsewhere, I think there’s ample justification to bomb the vast majority of both sides in the Syrian conflict to oblivion, on account that both the Al Qaida component (with the rebels) and the Irani input (on Assad’s side) are hell-bent on destroying Western society. The problem however is that, since the West and Obama in particular, would not have to stomach nor the spine to follow up on that, the actual end result will be worse, rather than preventing Western casulties down the road and/or rolling back islam. But that is in itself a judgement that people could, in good faith, disagree upon.

    Politics is never easy, nor clean. And if many lives are on the line, that tends to makes it harder, not easier. Which is all the more reason why the bishops should leave those parts where the principle is applied to others.

  43. Bosco says:

    @MikeM,
    “Scripture tells us that God allows men, however evil they might be, to lead governments because the state is a means to chastise the wicked. Whether we like it or not (I don’t), Obama is the president of the one state that, whether we like it or not, is indispensable to addressing major global issues.”

    Sorry, Mike, but I neither subscribe to nor concede your premises.

  44. philosoph0123 says:

    In response to CrimsonCatholic — the number of lives at stake is irrelevant to the question of whether this is a prudential judgment or not. There are situations in which leaders may enter into a just war even if thousands of lives would be lost and situations in which a war with a smaller number of casualties may be unjust. I am not here arguing that an attack on Syria would be justified, or even that it doesn’t clearly fall afoul of the just war doctrine. I am merely refuting the point that the number of lives that would be lost is a sufficient determinant of whether a military action can be judged to be immoral or not.

  45. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Pax Obamae (as Oriana Fallaci did not live – or has not yet ‘apparated’? – to say) -before he paxes (Nooo… “Barrack Obama, before he barracks…” Nooo, pulverize those coffee mugs! To say that would be – well, you know!) (Assuming ‘Obama’ has the feminine gender – hey, we’re talking grammar here! Or is it. ‘glamoury’?)

  46. CrimsonCatholic says:

    the number of lives at stake is irrelevant to the question of whether this is a prudential judgment or not

    You are correct, I am wrong on the matter.

  47. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z, yes, you reminded me of that ridic proposition which would happen asap when the dollar collapses or there are race riots.

    All planned….

  48. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    To recall a matter I met in an item I linked in the comments on another post on 5 Sept. (and admittedly still have not yet properly followed up, and so do not yet have a good idea as to how likely or astute the analysis is – or was when it was made and repeated in the more and less distant past), about which I have, however, since seen other stories, and which, for whatever it is worth, gives some sort of ‘official’ idea of what would be involved in trying to do something perhaps worth doing:

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/crs-dod-estimates-over-75000-troops-needed-secure-syria-s-chem

    Is that what we’re talking about? 150,000 American boots on the ground? For how long? And if not, what? What would be likely to be effective in putting a military stop to internecine fighting (and slaughtering of non-combatants by various of the now warring parties) so that there could then be a real “solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community” (to apply Pope Francis to President Putin, 4 Sept., in a way he would presumably not wish to be applied)?

    What would be prudent in the sense of being not unlikely to be effective?

  49. Martlet says:

    Underpinning many of the opinions posted so far is the notion that Catholics on the left of the political spectrum actually support a strike against Syria. I can’t speak for everyone who voted for Obama – obviously – but I can speak for all my Democratic real world and FB friends who have expressed a view and, to a person, they OPPOSE military action against Syria.

  50. Dennis Martin says:

    Martlet,

    The original post by Fr. Z was premised on Catholics from the NCReporter Left who “actually support” US war in Syria. Then there are the Leftists who like to pose as Catholics, like E. J. Dionne who are beating the war drums, even if they claim to do so reluctantly and with anguish of conscience.

    A commenter has already acknowledged that some Catholic Leftists have publicly opposed any such war, notably the LCWR.

    But more than that, some of Us Commenters here have noted not so much active Catholic Left support as Catholic Left Silence, which is deafening when compared to Catholic Left strident opposition ten years ago. A prudential case could be made for that war, though in the end, in my view, it was not persuasive. Even if one could successfully make a case for a just cause in the present case, the utterly feckless leadership from President Obama would, prudentially, argue against attempting any war because there is Zero evidence that he could or would or has the faintest notion of how to carry it out with consistency, intelligence, and conviction.

    The proper comparison is between present silence and strident noise ten years ago, not between opposition and support. And yes, there are Catholic Lefters who are supporting the president’s War to Save Face.

    I’m glad your Democrat acquaintances and friends are not among them. I’m sure your acquaintances and Facebook friends are marching in the streets to express their indignant opposition. Yes, to imply that all on the Catholic Left oppose is as wide of the mark as to imply that all support, which no one on this thread ever said was the case. Implied? Well, I suppose that’s a matter of prudential interpretation.

    But I’m still waiting for some holy lio, some Teach-ins, some good-old-fashioned Spread-the-Love demonstrations, a March-Against-War or two, some Speaking-the-Truth-to-Power fulsome oratory to arise to drown out the crickets on my Catholic Left university campus.

  51. dcs says:

    It takes only one side to wage war.

    … and neither side in this battle has waged war against the United States.

    Which is all the more reason why the bishops should leave those parts where the principle is applied to others.

    You do realize that if you take this principle to its logical conclusion, you leave the bishops unable to speak out about specific applications of morality, such as the Terry Schiavo case? I doubt there is precedent in the history of the Church for Her hierarchy to leave the application of principles to politicians.

    I would add in addition that the Pope is himself a temporal leader and heads of State are directly subject to him. Judging the actions of States is part of the Pope’s job.

  52. Phil_NL says:

    … and neither side in this battle has waged war against the United States.

    On Assad’s side we see Hezbollah fighting for him. The same chaps who bombed the US embassy and USMC barracks in Beirut. How’s that not waging war? On the rebel’s side we see Al-Nusra, self-styled affliate of Al Qaida. Please don’t make me spell out 2 days before the 12th anniversary why we’re at war with that lot.

    you leave the bishops unable to speak out about specific applications of morality, such as the Terry Schiavo case?
    Bad example, euthenasia isn’t a matter in the prudential judgement category. But it does indeed mean that the bishops should hold their tongue more. I think they’ll be all the more effective when they do open their mouths because of that.

    And for most of the history of the Church, that would not have been that strange. Most secular rulers bore criticism very poorly, and on the other hand there usually was plenty of clear stuff to talk about (concubines, heresy etc. and that already gave rise to several martyrs). As far as I can tell it’s only with the last century, when economic policy became the centre of political debate, that bishops spoke much about matters of prudential judgement. Of course, in part the comparison is impossible, as stuff like the length of women’s skirts dropped from being a matter of morality to no issue at all, and warfare and capital punishment came under much closer scrutiny, while for centuries they were accepted as fact of normal life.

    As for your final point: ‘subject’ can mean many things. I for one do not subscribe to the idea that it means that heads of state or government have to obey the Pope in terms of the policies they follow (or abstain from). And I maintain that all points regarding the wisdom in bishops not compromising themselves regarding matters of prudential judgement, as explained above, equally apply to His Holiness.

  53. dcs says:

    Bad example, euthenasia isn’t a matter in the prudential judgement category.

    If one can argue whether a particular war is just is merely prudential judgment, then one can argue whether a particular case of withdrawal of food and water is merely prudential judgment. Of course euthanasia isn’t open to debate. By your principles, however, one could argue that the Terry Schiavo case was not a case of euthanasia (calling it euthanasia rather than a withdrawal of extraordinary means of life support is a “prudential judgment”), and the Church hierarchy should have kept silent about it.

  54. maryh says:

    I agree with @Brandon Underwood. As I understood it, the Pope was calling for prayer for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria. I don’t know what the USCCB says (frankly, I don’t listen to them), but calling for the entire world to pray for peace in Syria is not specifically to call for the US President not to bomb Syria. And who can be against praying for peace in Syria? Whatever your politics?

    @Phil_NL Since the Pope is calling for peace in Syria, rather than calling on a particular plan of action on the part of any individual, whether the President of the United States or Assad himself, I don’t see anything out of line. Everyone should be able to pray for peace in Syria. I do agree that the bishops should make clear, when they speak, which things are binding matters of faith and which are prudential judgments. That’s why I don’t listen to the USCCB.

    As an aside, one thing to look at with this whole chemical gas question is, “who stands to gain the most?” What did Assad stand to gain by using chemical weapons on his own people? I haven’t heard anyone make the case that he was so desperate that the only weapons he had at his disposal to maintain his power were chemical weapons. Unless that were the case, what did he stand to gain, except possible very serious problems with the US. Especially after Obama’s “red line” speech? And the fact that Obama has no credibility makes it even more of a risk. A weak leader is much more unpredictable than a strong one.

    Who did stand to gain by using chemical weapons? Well, in the first place, the rebels. First of all, they have nothing to lose if they’re known to have used chemical weapons. Secondly, if there’s any chance they can lay the blame on Assad, they have a chance of bringing in someone to help them bring him down.

    And if the rebels win, who’s most likely to take over? Since the people calling for this “intervention” don’t even call it a war, what’s the chance we’re actually planning to stay long enough to make sure Islamists don’t take over? Meaning, like, forever?

    So the people who stand to gain the most by the use of chemical weapons are the Islamists.

    I am hoping that the whole “ask Congress” thing is a CYA by Obama. I think and hope he’ll go with what Congress says. And blame them either way if things go wrong. So if we end up in Syria, it’s going to be the fault of the Republicans for failing to hold the line.

  55. maryh says:

    @Phil_NL I do think the checklist approach is pretty straightforward. And it holds even if “The issue at stake is whether an intervention will help or hinder keeping the forces of Islam at bay.”

    1. Is the damage inflicted by the forces of Islam on the nation or community of nations lasting, grave, and certain? PASS.

    2. Have all other means of putting an end the forces of Islam been shown to be impractical or ineffective? Uncertain. I hope not, but it is possible. PASS/FAIL

    3. Are there serious prospects of success? Perhaps better put this way, will the forces of Islam be significantly hindered after a bombing? FAIL. The most likely result is to replace one leader who at least defends Christians under attack sometimes with someone worse. Do we really believe a simple “intervention” will affect the forces of Islam in any way at all? Because that’s what we’re talking about now.

    4. Will the use of arms avoid producing evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated? FAIL. The greatest likelihood of an intervention is to aid the forces of Islam. Not to mention provoking Russia for a bombing the U.S. Government wants to do based on a case it hasn’t sufficiently made. For an action that goes against the best interests of Assad himself.

  56. Phil_NL says:

    Maryh:

    What you’re doing is assuming a certain level of action and commitment. In a way, that’s just fine, I’m doing the same and come to the conclusion that for those reasons an action is unwise.

    However, I think there is something wrong with our logic is we say that war is only justified (which goes beyond wisdom) if we succeed. That is something one can never guarantee, nor can one be sure of the level of commitment once military action is taking place; that could end up being both higher or lower than expected. I therefore would argue that an action that could succeed, given sufficient application (regardless of the likelihood that it’s forecoming, as that likelihood is no real data), is justified. Even if such an action would be profoundly dumb, given current circumstances and likeli commitment. If the chances of success are low, the reason not do it would not be lack of justification (we’re entitled to take the action), but would be lack of spine on our side and therefore a matter of prudence.
    Semantics perhaps, but important in the sense that we must not end up in a situation where military action is shouted down by people who believe war can never be justified. Assuming that a military action must have guaranteed success before calling it justified is thereby giving ammunition to our enemies.

    PS: as for your point 3: these middle eastern wars have one silver lining: they tend to attract violent islamist as dung attracts flies. Action in Syria, if Obama would go the whole mile, would kill most of them. That would be a serious check on the forces of islam. Call it crass, but every jihadi that goes to Syria and doesn’t come back is good news.

  57. maryh says:

    No, the just war doctrine doesn’t say a war has to succeed to be successful. It says that there have to be serious prospects of success. That does include prudential judgments on the level of military commitment once the action starts. And considering all the effort to say that this will be a short, limited intervention, it seems prudent to judge that anything that requires more than that will not be forthcoming.

  58. Phil_NL says:

    Prudent, yes. But as I (tried to) argue(d), prudence and justification are two different things, and the latter cannot be conditional on the former, as that would mean that a war could become justified – or loose that status – halfway. Even on a daily basis. That is not workable.

    Justification deals with principle. If the principle is sound, it may still be wise to abstain on grounds of prudence, but that’s a matter of implementation – which gets back to the original point, as that makes it a matter of prudential judgement.

    Sadly the text fails to formalize the proper distinction, but based on logic and the realties of war since time immemorial, it cannot be any other way.

  59. Magash says:

    I guess I am the only one to notice the timing of this. First Obama was going to act, mostly because he was afraid to lose face over his “red line’ comment. Then our potential ally Britain under PM Cameron takes the decision to parliament and they refuse to give him authority to act. So Obama meets with his political advisor and decides to hand the decision over to Congress for a chancy vote. Could Obama want Congress to fail to give him authority to act under a congressional resolution so that he can blame his inaction on Congress and not lose face over failing to act on his threats?
    Or am I just paranoid?

  60. Phil_NL says:

    Magash,

    That’s not paranoia, that’s smart politics. That scenario was spotted on other sites immediately after the speech. Alas it’s smart politics executed by a man who knows nothing else than to play politics. Silver lining: it’s likely to backfire, as too many Democrats also see no upside in supporting Obama on this, so that when he blames Congress, he’ll have to blame his own party there as well. Smart politics on the Republican side therefore dictates that the Senate will have to vote first, so the rejection there can be thrown back at the Dems, as they run that chamber.

  61. chantgirl says:

    dcs- Food and water is ordinary, not extraordinary medical care. They can be removed if they are causing excessive pain to a patient or are worsening his condition, which was not the case with Terry. She was murdered by dehydration.

  62. MikeM says:

    I don’t know where people got the idea that Obama is trying to put a massive troop presence on the ground in Syria. That’s obviously not what we’re talking about. That would be a ridiculous thing to do in this situation. I think the idea was to do something along the lines of the leaked plans… some Tomahawk Missile strikes, some targeted air raids… maybe an aerial presence to keep an eye out for further violations.

    But, apparently it’s unCatholic to believe in stopping the mass murder of children. If that’s the case, count me as a dissenting Cafeteria Catholic.

  63. The Masked Chicken says:

    “If one can argue whether a particular war is just is merely prudential judgment, then one can argue whether a particular case of withdrawal of food and water is merely prudential judgment. By your principles, however, one could argue that the Terry Schiavo case was not a case of euthanasia (calling it euthanasia rather than a withdrawal of extraordinary means of life support is a “prudential judgment”), and the Church hierarchy should have kept silent about it.”

    Prudential judgment involves consideration of an different acts, each of which can be lawfully made. It is never lawful to withdraw food and water. Terri Schiavo was not being kept alive by extraordinary means, so no prudential decision was involved. In fact, anyone will die if you deny them food and water for long enough. It is never prudential to DENY anyone food or water. If they cannot utilize it, then it is the body that is denying them, not the will and this, then is considered an act of God and beyond the consideration of man. Terri was in no different situation than a baby and no one, prudentially, starves a baby.

    The Chicken

  64. maryh says:

    @MikeM I think the problem people, like me, are having is believing that is all that will happen. Which is why @Phil_NL says it’s a prudential call. If you believe that a few surgical air strikes will stop the chemical warfare without toppling Assad and letting the Islamists in who will cause even more bloodshed, then I can see where you could make that prudential judgment.

  65. Dennis Martin says:

    Mike M

    We get the idea of massive troop presence from the leaks that talk about 75,000-150,000 boots on the ground. The Senate resolution allows for ground combat troops. Obama and his minions have floated a half-dozen widely, shall I say, flailingly different hints and suggestions, including Kerry’s latest infinitesimally small air strikes.

    But please don’t delude yourself into thinking this can only be a few small surgical airstrikes. If it is it is totally meaningless. They might do that. It would not be the first time for meaninglessness in this administraiotn. But they might not. Trying to get you to think, it’s just a pinprick, relax, is exactly what they want you to think, in order to undermine the opposition.

    Be watchful and wary, vigilant, for the lying lion seeks to devour.

  66. MikeM says:

    Dennis, the leaks don’t, in any way, indicate that that’s what we are going to do. The Pentagon makes plans for every possible scenario that they can imagine. Of course they pulled a panel of people together to discuss what it would take to secure Assad’s weapons. But, that’s not the purpose of the operation we’re proposing (and, even if it were, those hypothetical plans rarely resemble what actually happens, anyway.) At this point, we’re trying to deter the use of the chemical weapons rather than seize the weapons themselves. Had we asserted a presence (not, probably, of our own armed forced) in Syria earlier, Assad likely wouldn’t have used chemical weapons in the first place, and the rebel coalition might never have become so dominated by Al Qaeda. But, our president was weak then and the situation got messier. If he can’t pull together authorization to punish the mass murder of children now, the message will be that we don’t care enough to do anything. We’ll be effectively green lighting further atrocities in Syria, and signaling to murderers (and, just as bad, to our friends) around the world that we don’t take seriously our responsibility to play a leadership role in enforcing global norms. The situation in Syria will keep getting worse until we’re either forced to intervene or one side or the other completes a campaign of full scale genocide.

    The situation in Syria isn’t getting any better. The question at this point is whether we will try to exert influence over the situation, or sit back and watch it degenerate. Historically, acting sooner has tended to turn out better than waiting.

    Many a ruthless dictator is hoping that the world has entered an era where the US doesn’t care about international atrocities. We’re telling them that their twisted dreams have come true.