26

Speak Loudly and Carry No Stick

 

 

 

Obama, the anti-Theodore Roosevelt:

U.S. and Russian negotiators reached an agreement Saturday calling for an  inventory of Syria’s chemical weapons program and seizing all of its components  within a year. The plan includes imposing penalties if Syrian President Bashar  Assad’s government fails to turn over its stockpile.

Mr. Obama called it “an important step” toward ridding the world of chemical  weapons. But critics in Congress said the deal was toothless because the  administration agreed to withdraw from a proposed U.N. resolution the threat of  military action if Syria fails to comply.

“It’s not a matter of trust. It’s a matter of whether it will be enforced or  not,” Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  “[Russia] will not agree to the use of force no matter what Bashar Assad  does.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Permanent  Select Committee on Intelligence, said the U.S. gave up an important bargaining  chip.

“Not one ounce of chemical weapons came off the battlefield, but we’ve given  up every ounce of our leverage when it comes to trying to solve the broader  Syrian problem, because we’ve taken away a credible military threat,” the Mr.  Rogers said on CNN.

Go here to read the rest at The Washington Times.  So let’s get this straight.  Obama was willing to go to war because Assad used chemical weapons on his own people and because Assad is a butcher.  Now, Obama is satisfied with a promise that Assad will relinquish his chemical weapons in a year, and there is no more talk of a military strike.  I oppose intervention in Syria because the main factions opposing Assad are no improvement on him.  However, Obama thought differently and put American prestige on the line to remove Assad.  He did this without making any attempt to ensure that Congress or the American people were behind his policy.  In the face of opposition he has grasped on to this “face-saving” fig-leaf proffered by the Russians.  All this fig leaf does is to ensure that our enemies know they have nothing to fear from this administration and our friends know that they can rely on the US at most until the next press cycle or poll.  American weakness sends a clear message to every bad actor in the world that now is the time to act.  This brings to mind what Churchill said after Munich:

 

I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week. I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies.

“Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
 

And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning.This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
Folly and weakness are always paid for in the end, and this episode will be paid for in some new crisis where our enemies, having taken the measure of Obama, assume that they can be safe in making any attack, any outrage.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

26 Comments

  1. Churchill mentions a first foretaste of the bitter cup to be offered year by year.
    ” … unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and … ”

    This idea of moral health has been trashed by people in education, entertainment, politics, government, finance, journalism, and art.

  2. Thank our good God for answering the prayers of countless thousands and bringing about this first step towards peace in Syria.

    While it doesn’t end the violence, the cessation of the threat of US military intervention, which most religious leaders in the region–including Muslim–say would lead to further bloodshed to all and even more Christian persecution, is nothing short of a miracle.

    Thank you Pope Francis for leading the Prayer Warriors and bringing it to the world’s attention. God Bless you. God Bless all who prayed.

  3. Rubbish on stilts. The Civil War in Syria will grind on and the body count will ramp up swiftly. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate in this debacle.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24114746

    At the end of it all Assad will remain in power, or, more likely, after another year or two of fighting the rebels will win and a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Al-Qaeda will take his place. Syria is a lose-lose proposition except for tyrants and would be tyrants.

  4. Don’t we have to admit that we ARE already in a war and that it is multifaceted, and not against nations or factions but against an evil ideology that seeks our destruction. If we morally oppose Assad and seek justice in Syria but do not want to intervene because his opposition in Syria is no better than him, is that giving up—acquiescence of a sort on our part? Too many layers of evil for us to go against? Shouldn’t we find a way to actively oppose them both? perhaps one at a time, like the war against the Axis (actually divided into different war “theaters” followed by the cold war. I admit I am way out of my league here thinking of solutions on the world stage- but – those are my questions.
    I think about W. Churchill saying something about we will fight them on the beaches…etc.

  5. Donald R. McClarey

    To say that a prayer of thanksgiving for Pope Francis and the world’s prayer efforts that helped prevent the US from getting militarily involved in the Syrian civil war is “rubbish” says a lot about a man’s character and his soul. That “there is nothing to celebrate” about the US not bombing the garbanzos out of President Assad –an effort which we had no authority to do—I heartily disagree. It is a great day to say a prayer of thanks.

    US intervention would have only brought about more bloodshed as Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Grand Mufti of Damascus Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the USCCB and the Canadian Bishops have all pleaded. You said that you didn’t support US military involvement but you didn’t like the US losing face in the global chess game. While I am absolutely not a supporter of Abortion President Obama I think it is better to lose face if it saves a single life—worth the whole universe.

    Then you dredge up Churchill’s criticism of the Munich Pact. That is absurd. Let me assure the readers that these circumstances have none of the gravity whatsoever of 1938. The fate of Europe, or the world, is not in the balance. There are no Panzer divisions or Stuka squadrons poised to go into Poland or in today’s setting Israel. Every time the US decides not to blow the barley seeds out of some tinhorn dictator some writer drags out the old Churchill/Chamberlain comparison

    Then you say that in “two years’ time the rebels will probably win.” I defer to Pulitzer Prize winning writer Charles Krauthammer who in his last two articles in Human Events says that Russian President Putin is pretty much in the driver’s seat and will keep Assad in power to keep the Russian naval base and other assets in Syria intact.

    And I say once again, “Praise be to the good Lord and Pope Francis for leading the world in prayer that helped keep the US out of Syria. May there be Peace there.” If you think such a prayer is “rubbish,” sir, what do you value?

  6. “To say that a prayer of thanksgiving for Pope Francis and the world’s prayer efforts that helped prevent the US from getting militarily involved in the Syrian civil war is “rubbish” says a lot about a man’s character and his soul.”

    I know nothing about your character and your soul. I do know that your analysis of the situation is rubbish and I said so.

    “That “there is nothing to celebrate” about the US not bombing the garbanzos out of President Assad –an effort which we had no authority to do—I heartily disagree.”

    Of course you do, based upon a completely erroneous view of the situation. Your comment about the US not having the authority is rich. Who would give us that authority? The UN, that exemplar of corruption and hypocrisy?

    “US intervention would have only brought about more bloodshed as Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Grand Mufti of Damascus Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the USCCB and the Canadian Bishops have all pleaded.”

    All lacking any military knowledge whatsoever. The Grand Mufti is a tool of the Assad regime. Ditto Bishop Antoine Audo. The USCCB and the Catholic Bishops of Canada know zip about the Assad regime and its long history of brutality against the Syrian people. The simple truth is that with non-intervention the Civil War will grind on and all the men you cite are completely clueless as to any realistic plan to bring the Civil War to an end.

    “While I am absolutely not a supporter of Abortion President Obama I think it is better to lose face if it saves a single life—worth the whole universe.”

    Rubbish again. Weakness inspires war. Even a cursory study of history reveals that.

    “Then you dredge up Churchill’s criticism of the Munich Pact. That is absurd. Let me assure the readers that these circumstances have none of the gravity whatsoever of 1938.”

    Yeah, its only Syrians being killed. It’s not as if we know these people, right? Bishop Antoine Audo who you cite has actually said that intervention would lead to a World War. I suspect that is hyperbole, but since you cited him perhaps you agree with him. My citation of Churchill was due to the fact that the bumbling of Obama, who you support in this case, is like the bumbling of Chamberlain. A leader as weak as Obama inspires those who wish to do us harm.

    As to the outcome of the war, Assad pays cold cash for every piece of Russian equipment and his resources are limited, even with his support from Iran. The rebels are being bankrolled by the Saudis who do not want the Iranians to have a power base in Syria. Qatar and Turkey have also been supplying aid, and I suspect if they have to the Turks will intervene to topple Assad if they think the rebels cannot. Numerous border clashes have already occurred. The Turks shot down a Syrian helicopter yesterday and they have beefed up troops along the border with Syria in recent weeks.

    In regard to Syria there is no good solution, which is why I oppose US intervention, and that is very sad. Lots of innocent people are going to die and after an ocean of blood is shed the Syrian people likely will be no better off and still under a despotic regime and that is nothing to cheer about.

    In regard to foreign policy and national defense I value clear analysis and rigid attention to reality. Wishful thinking and platitudes tend to have a dire effect when they are adopted as national policy in regard to a crisis like Syria.

  7. Comment:
    If it saves one human life–which is worth the entire universe–and I am certain that it does, it is a cause for celebration.

  8. Donald R. McClarey:
    Comment:

    “Who would give us that authority?”

    Yes, who would? Who would give us the authority to bomb another country? On the other side of the world? Right in Russia’s backyard? The Congress didn’t. Britain opted out. I guess Obama would give himself the authority. And why? Because we’re bigger and stronger? And because we can? Bullying is prohibited in the schoolyard and much of the international community condemns it on a global scale.

    “The USCCB and the Canadian Bishops know zip about the Assad regime and its long history of brutality against the Syrian people”

    Says who? You? By your authority? I hate to interrupt your rant with a few facts. Perhaps you should Google some of the Catholic publications, but the Bishops and everyone in Christendom and anyone who has seen an iota of news has been talking about this for months.
    Apparently you think you are the sole informed person breaking this earth shattering story. Who gives you the authority to cavalierly dismiss all these people as ignorant of your special knowledge? I guess you do—much like Obama.

    And Catholic Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo is in Aleppo right in the heart of the bloodshed. He told the National Catholic Register, “That the only road to peace is through dialogue…not a new charge of hatred.” Sounds like he was addressing this to you. But I guess he doesn’t know as much as you do, right? By your authority? Wow, such hubris.

    “With non-intervention the Civil War will grind on and on and the men you cite are completely clueless as to any realistic plan to bring the Civil War to an end.”

    Obama has a realistic plan? Of course not. Your argument is untenable. You support non-intervention but then rant that it will only prolong the war. Did you forget to type in a few clarifying sentences? It doesn’t connect. It seems you just like to rant that nobody knows what to do but you. But then you don’t say what to do except “peace through strength.”

    I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels have persecuted the Christians and a victory by them would lead to further persecution. A US strike on Assad would embolden them. That it looks like we won’t is a cause for celebration. And deep gratitude to our good Lord, also to Pope Francis.

    “Yeah it’s only Syrians being killed. It’s not as if we know these people, right?” Please leave the high school debating tactics in high school. The main thrust of your article was the Churchill quote on the Munich Pact implying that the fate of the world was in the balance today, much like 1938 when Hitler coveted Sudetenland, poised to strike Czechoslovakia and Poland. Give me a break. A reader who couldn’t find Syria or Russia, for that matter, on a map might believe this distortion but most would see right through it. I greatly admire Churchill but he would not have committed a single Tommy soldier or Manchester bomber to the madness of Syria. Assad can barely keep the rebels out of his bathroom and Putin can’t even quiet down the gays in Moscow.

    “Weakness inspires war. Even a cursory study of history reveals that.”

    But a deeper study of history reveals that, in the words of Pope Francis, “Only dialogue brings peace.” Bishop Aleppo echoes this and the Catholic Church has been saying this over and over for decades. Practically every speech or letter by the Popes or Bishops says this. Cardinal Dolan head of the USCCB– who “know zip,” by your royal decree—in his letter to President Obama asks him not to send financial or military aid to the rebels.

    It is a dreadfully tragic situation. 100,000 lives lost for nothing. But once again I am divinely thankful that the US did not get involved which would have made it even worse.

  9. “Right in Russia’s backyard?”

    You have a rather expansive view of Russia.

    “The Congress didn’t.”

    Congress would have been the proper authority.

    “Bullying is prohibited in the schoolyard and much of the international community condemns it on a global scale.”

    I trust you really are not that foolish. The “international community” you celebrate was ever content to sit on its hands while tyrants have turned large segments of humanity into fertilizer. The simple truth is that most people are not really bothered by other people being slaughtered somewhere far away until whoever is doing the slaughtering turns their attention to them. That is an odd standard to raise as a moral guide.

    “but the Bishops and everyone in Christendom and anyone who has seen an iota of news has been talking about this for months.”

    The Bishops are reflexively against military intervention anywhere under any form. They know as much about Syria as a group as they do about military tactics and strategy, which is close to nil.

    “Apparently you think you are the sole informed person breaking this earth shattering story.”

    Certainly much more informed than you judging from your comments.

    “And Catholic Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo is in Aleppo right in the heart of the bloodshed.”

    Yep and touting the Assad line. When the Civil War began in 2011 as a result of Assad unleashing his military against demonstrators, the Bishop participated in a demonstration in favor of Assad in Damascus.
    From an interview the Bishop gave in 2011 as the crackdown began

    “Do you think President Assad will be able to stay in power?”
    I think so. He’s a very loved man, young and well educated, and he’s working in the interests of Syria. Syria is not a perfect country – as all countries [in the Middle East], we have had difficulties with the international and economic situation. But I think he [Assad] is doing very well and wants to serve the interests of Syria. He’s defending our country with great dignity.”
    http://www.terrasanta.net/tsx/articolo.jsp?wi_number=3030&wi_codseq=++++++&language=en

    Now even making allowance for the Bishop living in a country where if you criticize the government you can quickly find yourself dead, that is pretty sickening stuff.

    “But then you don’t say what to do except “peace through strength.””

    No, what I actually wrote was that intervention will not work in this case due to the fact that the major contending factions are all bad, and that is a sad reality and not something to celebrate. Reading comprehension truly is not your forte is it?

    “I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels have persecuted the Christians and a victory by them would lead to further persecution.”

    Yep, the problem is that for Christians Assad is no bowl of cherries either:

    http://freebeacon.com/christians-and-syria/

    In Syria it is largely bad guys fighting bad guys and whoever wins it is not going to be good news for the native Christians of Syria.

    “Please leave the high school debating tactics in high school.”

    Rubbish. You are the one hailing non-intervention as some grand victory for peace. As far as you are concerned the Syrians could continue killing each other from now to doomsday, as long as the US is not involved.

    “I greatly admire Churchill but he would not have committed a single Tommy soldier or Manchester bomber to the madness of Syria.”

    Actually Churchill as Secretary of State for War and Air after World War I was instrumental in establishing the boundaries of the Middle East and the British Empire was involved in the Middle East throughout his lifetime with constant interventions. Of course, once again you ignore why I raised the Munich debacle.

    “Only dialogue brings peace.”

    Not really. What peace we have on this Earth is almost always a result of war, from the flags we salute, the boundaries of the nations we live in, the laws we follow, the languages we speak, whether our churches are persecuted, etc. Pacifists and semi-pacifists may abhor this, but that is the fact. In the present case, who rules in Syria will be determined on the battlefields of Syria and not through negotiations.

  10. If it saves one human life–which is worth the entire universe–and I am certain that it does, it is a cause for celebration.

    Bumper sticker jingoism does nothing to alter the reality of what is happening in Syria or elsewhere for that matter.

  11. Paul Zummo:
    You’re using the word “jingoism” incorrectly unless the country you think I’m touting is the Vatican State in which case you would be correct.
    I do think that one human life is worth the whole universe.

  12. Comment:

    “Who would give us that authority?”

    Yes, who would? Who would give us the authority to bomb another country? On the other side of the world? Right in Russia’s backyard? The Congress didn’t. Britain opted out. I guess Obama would give himself the authority. And why? Because we’re bigger and stronger? And because we can? Bullying is prohibited in the schoolyard and much of the international community condemns it on a global scale.

    “The USCCB and the Canadian Bishops know zip about the Assad regime and its long history of brutality against the Syrian people”

    Says who? You? By your authority? I hate to interrupt your rant with a few facts. Perhaps you should Google some of the Catholic publications, but the Bishops and everyone in Christendom and anyone who has seen an iota of news has been talking about this for months.
    Apparently you think you are the sole informed person breaking this earth shattering story. Who gives you the authority to cavalierly dismiss all these people as ignorant of your special knowledge? I guess you do—much like Obama.

    And Catholic Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo is in Aleppo right in the heart of the bloodshed. He told the National Catholic Register, “That the only road to peace is through dialogue…not a new charge of hatred.” Sounds like he was addressing this to you. But I guess he doesn’t know as much as you do, right? By your authority? Wow, such hubris.

    “With non-intervention the Civil War will grind on and on and the men you cite are completely clueless as to any realistic plan to bring the Civil War to an end.”

    Obama has a realistic plan? Of course not. Your argument is untenable. You support non-intervention but then rant that it will only prolong the war. Did you forget to type in a few clarifying sentences? It doesn’t connect. It seems you just like to rant that nobody knows what to do but you. But then you don’t say what to do except “peace through strength.”

    I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels have persecuted the Christians and a victory by them would lead to further persecution. A US strike on Assad would embolden them. That it looks like we won’t is a cause for celebration. And deep gratitude to our good Lord, also to Pope Francis.

    “Yeah it’s only Syrians being killed. It’s not as if we know these people, right?” Please leave the high school debating tactics in high school. The main thrust of your article was the Churchill quote on the Munich Pact implying that the fate of the world was in the balance today, much like 1938 when Hitler coveted Sudetenland, poised to strike Czechoslovakia and Poland. Give me a break. A reader who couldn’t find Syria or Russia, for that matter, on a map might believe this distortion but most would see right through it. I greatly admire Churchill but he would not have committed a single Tommy soldier or Manchester bomber to the madness of Syria. Assad can barely keep the rebels out of his bathroom and Putin can’t even quiet down the gays in Moscow.

    “Weakness inspires war. Even a cursory study of history reveals that.”

    But a deeper study of history reveals that, in the words of Pope Francis, “Only dialogue brings peace.” Bishop Aleppo echoes this and the Catholic Church has been saying this over and over for decades. Practically every speech or letter by the Popes or Bishops says this. Cardinal Dolan head of the USCCB– who “know zip,” by your profound royal decree—in his letter to President Obama asks him not to send Donald R. McClarey:

    “You have a rather expansive view of Russia”

    Russia has a naval base at Tartus, Syria. That might give them concern wouldn’t you say? And it’s certainly on the other side of the world from us.

    “I trust you really are not that foolish. The “international community” you celebrate was ever content to their on its hands while tyrants have turned large segments into fertilizer. The simple truth is that most people are not really bothered by other people being slaughtered somewhere far away until whoever is doing the slaughtering turns their attention to them. That is an odd standard to raise as a moral guide.”

    Pope Francis is head of the Vatican State, an influential country that you seem to ignore. He decries the violence in Syria every single day with speeches, letters to the G-20, meetings with political and religious leaders and of course his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer –the mere mention of which seems to inflame you and incite you to hurl insults of “rubbish on stilts” when I write about it. I think you would do well to heed Bl. Pope John Paul II’s remark that, “Prayer when united with fasting is the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind.” Or is he another one of those Bishops that “knows zip” about foreign policy? He was the Bishop of Krakow before he became Pope.

    The US and the western world and freedom loving countries everywhere decry every act of violence or barbarism or terrorism. Don’t you read the papers?

    It’s curious that you speak negatively of every religious leader and you write for “The American Catholic.” Maybe for those articles you should change the banner to “catholic” with a small “c” or call it “The American Gnostic,” because you write under the premise that no one in the world knows all the secret information that you alone know.

    “The Bishops are reflexively against military intervention anywhere under any form. They know as much about Syria as a group as they do about military tactics and strategy, which is close to nil.”

    Please see above comment.

    “Now even making allowance for the Bishop living in a country where if you criticize the government you can quickly find yourself dead that is pretty sickening stuff.”

    He is being diplomatic and accommodating and probably trying to save his head. Cardinal Dolan head of USCCB said on TV this week that “President Obama has done some good things. We might have disagreements…” Now Cardinal Dolan totally disagrees with Obama on abortion and military and financial intervention in Syria but he’s being diplomatic. He came away from a meeting with abortion monger Gov. Cuomo and said something to the affect that the Governor was very open to our discussion and we had a good exchange of ideas. And I know that Cardinal Dolan is absolutely opposed to abortion.

    And back to Bishop Assad he is right in the heat of the battle and he says, “The only road to peace is dialogue…not new charges of hatred,” directed at armchair generals in Illinois who know far more than him.

    “No, what I actually wrote was that intervention will not work in this case due to the fact that the major contending factions are all bad, and that is a sad reality and not something to celebrate. Reading comprehension truly is not your forte is it?”

    Apparently memory of what you wrote is not your forte. I was commenting on your statement “Weakness only inspires war.” Yes I paraphrase you. When your argument is weak you criticize the other guy for not quoting correctly. Pretty soon you’ll be criticizing my grammar and punctuation.

    “Rubbish. You are the one hailing non-intervention as some grand victory for peace. As far as you are concerned the Syrians could continue killing each other from now to doomsday, as long as the US is not involved.”
    You say in another article that “Flight of the Bumblebee” is your favorite song. Maybe you should turn it off for a while and listen to some Gregorian chant to calm your frenzy and maybe read what you are criticizing before you erroneously publish it to the whole world and make a fool of yourself.
    I have said repeated that I pray for peace and thank Pope Francis for his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer and all of his efforts to end the violence. Curiously you have not mentioned “pray” or “God” or any religious words in this “Catholic” article. Wonder why? Did you pray and fast on that day? I did.
    “Actually Churchill as Secretary of State for War and Air after World War I was instrumental in establishing the boundaries of the Middle East and the British Empire was involved in the Middle East throughout his lifetime with constant interventions. Of course, once again you ignore why I raised the Munich debacle.”
    Churchill actually opposed Gandhi and his quest for Indian independence so he could be wrong at times. But I’m sure that he would not get involved in the Syrian chaos, the same stance that Britain takes today.
    No I got your “deep thought” that Obama gave away his bargaining chip of the threat of military intervention. Did you get that from Charles Krauthammer? He wrote about it a week before. So if Obama came on TV every night still threatening to blow up every cotton field and fig grove in Syria, even though he wasn’t going, would that make our Gnostic genius who-knows-everything happy?

    “Not really. What peace we have on this Earth is almost always a result of war, from the flags we salute, the boundaries of the nations we live in, the laws we follow, the languages we speak, whether our churches are persecuted. Pacifists and semi-pacifists may abhor this, but that is the fact. In the present case, who rules in Syria will be determined on the battlefields of Syria and not through negotiations.”
    “The languages that we speak?” Maybe you should take a day trip into the city sometime. Here in NY Spanish is spoken everywhere and that is because of immigration not war. Please, please, don’t bring up Davey Crockett and the Alamo and the Mexican War.
    “The laws that we make?” Our laws are made by Congress and Legislatures and there may be some dirty battles there but I wouldn’t call them wars.
    “Whether our churches are persecuted?” In the US religious freedom came through dialogue and study. Jefferson, who got many of his ideas from St. Thomas Bellarmine, dialogued and argued and came to an agreement with the others. Please don’t say that without the Revolutionary War there would have been no dialogue and therefore no religious freedom. For the most part Britain was not curtailing religious freedom in the colonies.
    Did the computer you work on come from war? Or the Star Trek shows that you love—created by agnostic Gene Roddenberry—or the science fiction books written by Atheist Isaac Asimov that you quote come from war? I wish that you would quote from a Catholic once in a while, maybe a saint or a theologian or a snippet of a prayer. It might be refreshing on a “Catholic” website. You think you could try it?

  13. (Very sorry my last post merged it with my former)

    Donald R. McClarey:

    “You have a rather expansive view of Russia”

    Russia has a naval base at Tartus, Syria. That might give them concern wouldn’t you say? And it’s certainly on the other side of the world from us.

    “I trust you really are not that foolish. The “international community” you celebrate was ever content to their on its hands while tyrants have turned large segments into fertilizer. The simple truth is that most people are not really bothered by other people being slaughtered somewhere far away until whoever is doing the slaughtering turns their attention to them. That is an odd standard to raise as a moral guide.”

    Pope Francis is head of the Vatican State, an influential country that you seem to ignore. He decries the violence in Syria every single day with speeches, letters to the G-20, meetings with political and religious leaders and of course his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer –the mere mention of which seems to inflame you and incite you to hurl insults of “rubbish on stilts” when I write about it. I think you would do well to heed Bl. Pope John Paul II’s remark that, “Prayer when united with fasting is the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind.” Or is he another one of those Bishops that “knows zip” about foreign policy? He was the Bishop of Krakow before he became Pope.

    The US and the western world and freedom loving countries everywhere decry every act of violence or barbarism or terrorism. Don’t you read the papers?

    It’s curious that you speak negatively of every religious leader and you write for “The American Catholic.” Maybe for those articles you should change the banner to “catholic” with a small “c” or call it “The American Gnostic,” because you write under the premise that no one in the world knows all the secret information that you alone know.

    “The Bishops are reflexively against military intervention anywhere under any form. They know as much about Syria as a group as they do about military tactics and strategy, which is close to nil.”

    Please see above comment.

    “Now even making allowance for the Bishop living in a country where if you criticize the government you can quickly find yourself dead that is pretty sickening stuff.”

    He is being diplomatic and accommodating and probably trying to save his head. Cardinal Dolan head of USCCB said on TV this week that “President Obama has done some good things. We might have disagreements…” Now Cardinal Dolan totally disagrees with Obama on abortion and military and financial intervention in Syria but he’s being diplomatic. He came away from a meeting with abortion monger Gov. Cuomo and said something to the affect that the Governor was very open to our discussion and we had a good exchange of ideas. And I know that Cardinal Dolan is absolutely opposed to abortion.

    And back to Bishop Assad he is right in the heat of the battle and he says, “The only road to peace is dialogue…not new charges of hatred,” directed at armchair generals in Illinois who know far more than him.

    “No, what I actually wrote was that intervention will not work in this case due to the fact that the major contending factions are all bad, and that is a sad reality and not something to celebrate. Reading comprehension truly is not your forte is it?”

    Apparently memory of what you wrote is not your forte. I was commenting on your statement “Weakness only inspires war.” Yes I paraphrase you. When your argument is weak you criticize the other guy for not quoting correctly. Pretty soon you’ll be criticizing my grammar and punctuation.

    “Rubbish. You are the one hailing non-intervention as some grand victory for peace. As far as you are concerned the Syrians could continue killing each other from now to doomsday, as long as the US is not involved.”
    You say in another article that “Flight of the Bumblebee” is your favorite song. Maybe you should turn it off for a while and listen to some Gregorian chant to calm your frenzy and maybe read what you are criticizing before you erroneously publish it to the whole world and make a fool of yourself.
    I have said repeated that I pray for peace and thank Pope Francis for his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer and all of his efforts to end the violence. Curiously you have not mentioned “pray” or “God” or any religious words in this “Catholic” article. Wonder why? Did you pray and fast on that day? I did.
    “Actually Churchill as Secretary of State for War and Air after World War I was instrumental in establishing the boundaries of the Middle East and the British Empire was involved in the Middle East throughout his lifetime with constant interventions. Of course, once again you ignore why I raised the Munich debacle.”
    Churchill actually opposed Gandhi and his quest for Indian independence so he could be wrong at times. But I’m sure that he would not get involved in the Syrian chaos, the same stance that Britain takes today.
    No I got your “deep thought” that Obama gave away his bargaining chip of the threat of military intervention. Did you get that from Charles Krauthammer? He wrote about it a week before. So if Obama came on TV every night still threatening to blow up every cotton field and fig grove in Syria, even though he wasn’t going to, would that make our Gnostic genius who-knows-everything happy?

    “Not really. What peace we have on this Earth is almost always a result of war, from the flags we salute, the boundaries of the nations we live in, the laws we follow, the languages we speak, whether our churches are persecuted. Pacifists and semi-pacifists may abhor this, but that is the fact. In the present case, who rules in Syria will be determined on the battlefields of Syria and not through negotiations.”
    “The languages that we speak?” Maybe you should take a day trip into the city sometime. Here in NY Spanish is spoken everywhere and that is because of immigration not war. Please, please, don’t bring up Davey Crockett and the Alamo and the Mexican War.
    “The laws that we make?” Our laws are made by Congress and Legislatures and there may be some dirty battles there but I wouldn’t call them wars.
    “Whether our churches are persecuted?” In the US religious freedom came through dialogue and study. Jefferson who got many of his ideas from St. Thomas Bellarmine dialogued and argued and came to an agreement with the others. Please don’t say that without the Revolutionary War there would have been no dialogue and therefore no religious freedom. For the most part Britain was not curtailing religious freedom on the colonies.
    Did the computer you work on come from war? Or the Star Trek shows that you love—created by agnostic Gene Roddenberry—or the science fiction books written by Atheist Isaac Asimov that you quote come from war? I wish that you would quote from a Catholic once in a while, maybe a saint or a theologian or a snippet of a prayer. It might be refreshing on a “Catholic” website. You think you could try it?

  14. I’m pleased that the US will not likely intervene militarily, though the realites of continued bloodshed and Putin’s strengthened hand are odd things to celebrate or lay at God’s doorstep. This is a tragic situation to be celebrated only by the callous. The fact that prudence suggests that we are unable to effectively assist the innocent in this case is not good news for the innocent.

  15. “Russia has a naval base at Tartus, Syria. That might give them concern wouldn’t you say? And it’s certainly on the other side of the world from us.”

    Tartus was a relic of the Cold War. The Russians have recently reactivated it since they wish to use Assad as a client as the Soviets did his father, who was also a butcher of the Syrian people. This has nothing to do with Russian interests and everything to do with Russian adventurism, ably assisted by Obama’s weakness.

    “the mere mention of which seems to inflame you and incite you to hurl insults of “rubbish on stilts” when I write about it.”

    No, what I declared to be rubbish was your absurd claim that this debacle is a cause for celebration. In regard to the international community and its usual attitude to people far away being slaughtered, I cannot improve on James Thurber’s parable from 1939:

    “The rabbits who caused all the trouble

    by James Thurber

    Within the memory of the youngest child there was a family of rabbits who lived near a pack of wolves. The wolves announced that they did not like the way the rabbits were living. (The wolves were crazy about the way they themselves were living, because it was the only way to live.) One night several wolves were killed in an earthquake and this was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that rabbits pound on the ground with their hind legs and cause earthquakes. On another night one of the wolves was killed by a bolt of lightning and this was also blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that lettuce-eaters cause lightning. The wolves threatened to civilize the rabbits if they didn’t behave, and the rabbits decided to run away to a desert island. But the other animals, who lived at a great distance, shamed them saying, “You must stay where you are and be brave. This is no world for escapists. If the wolves attack you, we will come to your aid in all probability.” So the rabbits continued to live near the wolves and one day there was a terrible flood which drowned a great many wolves. This was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that carrot-nibblers with long ears cause floods. The wolves descended on the rabbits, for their own good, and imprisoned them in a dark cave, for their own protection.
    When nothing was heard about the rabbits for some weeks, the other animals demanded to know what had happened to them. The wolves replied that the rabbits had been eaten and since they had been eaten the affair was a purely internal matter. But the other animals warned that they might possibly unite against the wolves unless some reason was given for the destruction of the rabbits. So the wolves gave them one. “They were trying to escape,” said the wolves, “and, as you know, this is no world for escapists.”

    Moral: Run, don’t walk, to the nearest desert island.”

  16. “It’s curious that you speak negatively of every religious leader and you write for “The American Catholic.” Maybe for those articles you should change the banner to “catholic” with a small “c” or call it “The American Gnostic,” because you write under the premise that no one in the world knows all the secret information that you alone know.”

    Nope, no hidden knowledge is being conveyed. Merely a knowledge of history, current events and a refusal to allow interlocutors to take refuge either in bunkum or wishful thinking.

    “He is being diplomatic and accommodating and probably trying to save his head.”

    If he fears for his life don’t you think that would make his opinion fairly worthless as a result? How can we assume that he is speaking what he honestly believes?

    “The only road to peace is dialogue”

    Well what is stopping him? He could call up his good buddy Assad and have him sit down with rebel leaders tomorrow couldn’t he? Of course that is where ugly reality enters in. The Bishop knows that there is zero possibility that such a meeting would take place and less than zero possibility that anything productive would come about if such a meeting occurs. In this situation a call for dialogue is as meaningless as Bill Clinton giving a talk on marital fidelity.

    “I have said repeated that I pray for peace”

    And that will accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping the Civil War in Syria. It was the Rosary and the fleets of the Holy League that beat the Turks at Lepanto. Faith without works is useless, something that Catholics have traditionally understood when it comes to military matters in this Fallen World, but many, alas, do not today.

    “But I’m sure that he would not get involved in the Syrian chaos, the same stance that Britain takes today.”

    Churchill emphasized Britain being a close ally of the US and acting as a great power. I think he would have attempted to get approval from Parliament, but unlike the wet Tories of today, he would have gotten the votes.

    “No I got your “deep thought” that Obama gave away his bargaining chip of the threat of military intervention.”

    No, you truly do not understand my argument. Obama should never have threatened to intervene in Syria at all because both sides are equally bad. Once he put US prestige on the line, he then fumbled the ball so that he grasped upon the Soviet proposal to look even more like a clown. It is his weakening of the US through this farce that I deplore, as I made clear in my post.

  17. “Here in NY Spanish is spoken everywhere and that is because of immigration not war. Please, please, don’t bring up Davey Crockett and the Alamo and the Mexican War.”

    Sophistry. We would not be speaking English but for a whole host of wars fought down through the centuries. The Mexicans would not be speaking Spanish but for the conquest of the Aztecs by Cortez.

    “The laws that we make?” Our laws are made by Congress and Legislatures and there may be some dirty battles there but I wouldn’t call them wars.”

    And we wouldn’t have a Congress or our system of government but for victory in the American Revolution.

    “In the US religious freedom came through dialogue and study.”

    Religious freedom in the US, at least for Catholics, is directly attributable to victory in the American Revolution. That is why Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the Catholic signer of the Declaration, tossed in his lot with the Patriots. If we had lost World War II or the Cold War our religious freedom would now be only a feeble memory.

    “For the most part Britain was not curtailing religious freedom on the colonies.”

    I can only assume that you are bone ignorant of the Irish penal laws and the Test Act. Try reading some Edmund Burke on the subject.

    “Did the computer you work on come from war? Or the Star Trek shows that you love—created by agnostic Gene Roddenberry—or the science fiction books written by Atheist Isaac Asimov that you quote come from war?”

    They all came from freedom which is very much a result of successful wars fought down through the centuries by those who cherished freedom.

    “I wish that you would quote from a Catholic once in a while”

    You might try reading my post on John Paul II and the Constitution yesterday. You obviously have read little that I have written on this site in the almost five years it has been in existence. Here is a quote to you from a saint:

    “King of England, if you do not do these things, I am the commander of the military; and in whatever place I shall find your men in France, I will make them flee the country, whether they wish to or not; and if they will not obey, the Maid will have them all killed. She comes sent by the King of Heaven, body for body, to take you out of France, and the Maid promises and certifies to you that if you do not leave France she and her troops will raise a mighty outcry as has not been heard in France in a thousand years. And believe that the King of Heaven has sent her so much power that you will not be able to harm her or her brave army.”

    Joan of Arc

  18. The Catholic Church has a policy of incremental reduction of evil. In regards to abortion the Church is supporting legislation that prevents late term abortions. While the evil of abortion still exists at least the late term abortions can be stopped. This is the case in NY State and Cardinal Dolan has put great pressure on the Legislators and Governor here. The late term abortion bill was recently defeated. Hallelujah! Is that a cause for celebration? Yes. Do we still mourn the fact that abortions still go on? Yes, of course.

    In regards to Syria the US turning back militarily will save many lives. Many, many prayers were answered. That is a cause for gratitude and celebration. That the violence is still going on is a cause for mourning and continued prayer and action.

    Great Thurber story. You should check out Wikiquotes: GK Chesterton, (particularly “The Everlasting Man”) St. Francis, St. John Vianney, C.S. Lewis, and St. Augustine. Would really jazz up the site.

  19. “In regards to Syria the US turning back militarily will save many lives.”

    Only if many means zero. A quick dumping of Assad would probably save many lives short term and a strong US intervention would accomplish that. The problem is what the rebels would do long term which is why I oppose intervention.

    I quote all of those you cite constantly, as faithful readers of the blog know.

  20. Donald R. McClarey:

    “Sophistry. We would not be speaking English but for a whole host of wars fought down through the centuries. The Mexicans would not be speaking Spanish but for the conquest of the Aztecs by Cortez.”

    Were it not for Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. granting religious freedom to the Christians there would be no Western Civilization. The Christian Church sanctified the Roman Empire and the Empire continued to spread its culture and now with the holy teachings of the Faith to the whole Empire. And how was this conversion of Rome brought about? By war? No but by Christians living and teaching the Faith. The monks even continued to civilize even the barbarians. With force? No by applying the teachings of our good Lord of kindness, forgiveness and patience.

    “And we wouldn’t have a Congress or our system of government but for victory in the American Revolution.”

    All of the states had Charters before the Revolution such as the Virginia Charter that the Constitution was modeled after. These contained varieties of religious freedoms.

    “You might try reading my post on John Paul II and the Constitution yesterday. You obviously have read little that I have written on this site in the almost five years it has been in existence. Here is a quote to you from a saint:”

    What do you think of the Bl. John Paul II quotes: “War, never again war.” This was echoed by Pope Francis this week. Or “Prayer when united with sacrifice, is the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind.”
    You just said in another post that “(Prayer) will accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping the Civil War in Syria.” Whew! Sounds hypocritical. You say in one sentence to read JPII then in the next you say prayer will not work here. If you said that to JPII he’d march you right off to confessional. And you have the nerve to call yours a “Catholic” site. Why don’t you be honest and label it “The Militaristic Catholic?” Every other word is “war, war” or “military this or that.” The one saint you quote is the warrior saint Joan of Arc.

    There’s more in life, more in the news, than Syria. I sent in a short prayer of thanks that lives would be saved as a result of Pope Francis’ Global Day of Fasting and Prayer and the prayers of countless people of good will around the world –which you called “rubbish” then, and you continue to say that “prayer will accomplish nothing in the
    “Syrian Civil,” and it’s become a 3-day battle. How can I deal with someone who denies one of the basic tenets of the Faith? Do you also deny the Cardinal Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love? You’d probably say, “But not without military action.”

    Couldn’t we change the subject? Let’s talk about something we have in common such as that evil Dawkins. I just heard on Al Kresta’s Show on Catholic radio that Dawkins had been a supporter of eugenics in keeping the races from mixing. Could be a column for you.

  21. Donald R. McClarey:

    “Only if many means zero. A quick dumping of Assad would probably save many lives short term and a strong US intervention would accomplish that. The problem is what the rebels would do long term which is why I oppose intervention.”

    I basically agree with you. I would go in to stop the monster Assad except that it would cause greater harm in the long run enabling the rebels to finally win. I am not a pacifist.
    Our disagreement seems to be on how many lives would be saved by the US standing down and I think it would be some, particularly Christians.
    I am not happy about the US losing power over this. I didn’t like Obama stopping the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. I am totally against Communism. I have been opposed to practically everything Obama has done foreign or domestic. Except for quitting smoking—it has made him even more angry and hateful of the Church.

  22. “Were it not for Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. granting religious freedom to the Christians there would be no Western Civilization.”

    Constantine was emperor solely by his victory at the Milvian Bridge. In hoc signo vinces and all that. On the other hand many historically Christian areas were lost to Christendom by military defeat at the hands of the Arabs centuries later. North Africa, Saint Augustine’s old stomping ground, was lost, and in the most Christian province of the Empire, Egypt, the Copts became a despised minority at the hands of their Arab overlords. Military events have played a tremendous role in the advance and retreat of Christianity.

    “All of the states had Charters before the Revolution such as the Virginia Charter that the Constitution was modeled after. These contained varieties of religious freedoms.”

    Which specifically left Catholics out, except for Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

    “War, never again war.”

    That it was a hope that an intelligent man like the Pope realized would likely never come true in this Fallen World. I think he said it as an aspiration. Without the outcome of World War 2 he almost certainly would never have survived to become Pontiff as the Third Reich planned to eliminate most of the Polish population. The Pope often praised the courage of the troops who fought for Poland during World War 2, so I find the Pope’s attitude towards war contradictory.

    “You just said in another post that “(Prayer) will accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping the Civil War in Syria.”

    I stand by the statement. Unless you assume that God will work a miracle to end the War, how in the world will any amount of prayer stop the war in Syria as a practical matter? God does not give us prayer so that we can hide our eyes and not take practical steps to accomplish good. The Faith has never confused prayer with a genie like summoning of God. Prayer would not have relieved the suffering of the man helped by the Good Samaritan. God expects us to pray but he also expects us to take practical steps to work good in His world.

    “The Militaristic Catholic?”

    War takes up only a fraction of what I write about on this blog. However, I refuse to pretend that this great evil can be ignored with platitudes and pious good wishes. That is not the traditional Catholic position. Some would attempt to claim pacifism as the default position of Catholicism and that simply is not the case. Joan of Arc was sent by God on her mission to expel the English from France. She, a maid, started the process that led to French victory. God chose war as His method to accomplish His end, and that is why I quoted her.

    “and it’s become a 3-day battle”

    As faithful readers of this blog know, when someone challenges one of my posts I usually will respond. That is why we have com boxes for give and take.

    “Faith, Hope and Love”

    Indeed I believe in them. I have a long running series of posts on military chaplains who exemplify these virtues. In the midst of the evil of War they bring the love of Christ and I honor them for that.

    “I just heard on Al Kresta’s Show on Catholic radio that Dawkins had been a supporter of eugenics in keeping the races from mixing.”

    After his defense of “mild pedophilia” I would believe almost anything of Dawkins. Some atheists are wishing he would convert so they wouldn’t have to claim him any more!

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