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Straight Guy with the Catholic Eye: Disagreement over Iraq war

By Matt Abbott

According to a May 13 story on, “Pope John Paul II is expected to warn President George W. Bush when the two men meet on June 4 that his policy in Iraq is wrong and the actions of US troops are damaging efforts to bring religions closer together, a senior Vatican official said Thursday [May 13]….”

Several established Catholic commentators have been vocal opponents of the war, including Stephen Hand of, who asserts that “we rushed into war with Iraq, despite the warnings of the UN, the UN weapons inspectors, and our major allies, in the name of the rule of law, in the name of liberators who were supposed to be there to expose Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction and to bulldoze his chambers of horrors. Instead we imitated the very ones we deplored in the very chambers in which he tortured human being. It is time for the United States to get out of Iraq and to turn the rebuilding of that nation over to the United Nations. We have lost the respect of the Arab world. Our platitudes about freedom and morality mean nothing to them now. We have answered cruelty with decadence and hypocrisy, and that can only guarantee more terrorism, we fear, in the days and years ahead.”

And Thomas E. Woods, Jr., a contributor to

“There’s no delicate way to say this, but to supporters of the Iraq war I have a little message. All together now, people: you were scammed. No ‘weapons of mass destruction’ have been found. None. Some of us figured as much, since the rationale for the war kept changing so frequently. And when the search for these weapons was carried out in such a lackluster manner, one had to assume the administration wasn’t really worried about them… Some supporters of the war will doubtless plead, ‘But, but…that’s what [Sean] Hannity and [Rush] Limbaugh told me to think! Well, it’s time now to start doing your own thinking, since Hannity and Limbaugh wouldn’t know conservatism if it punched them in the face…It is in the nature of the state to want to keep its people permanently mesmerized by some terrible dictator somewhere... Saddam may well have been a monster. There are plenty of monsters ruling African nations right now. Anyone care to depose them all? To the brainwashed among us, of whom there are many, try to think: do you suppose that would lead to more stability or less?”

But others, including Pope John Paul II’s biographer, George Weigel, are not opposed to the war. In an April 19 article on, Weigel asserts:

“A year later, here's the question posed to those who argued that it would be morally justifiable to use armed force to compel Iraq's compliance with U.N. disarmament resolutions: if you knew then what you know now, would you have made the same call? I would. We know some things now that we also knew then. We know Saddam Hussein was in material breach of the ‘final’ U.N. warning, Resolution 1441; his formal response to 1441 was a lie. We know he had the scientists, the laboratories, and the other necessary infrastructure for producing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). We know he was seeking long-range ballistic missiles (again in defiance of the U.N.) to deliver biological, chemical, and perhaps nuclear weapons. We know now, in even more horrifying detail, that Saddam's was a terror regime in which unimaginable brutality was normal state practice. We know, now as then, that Saddam's regime provided safe haven for terrorists.... A year later, I would still contend that the war was morally justified. The argument isn't a simple one. In this kind of world, it never is.”

And in an article on, Deal Hudson, editor of Crisis Magazine, asserts:

“…Trusting political leadership in a time of war is decisive; most of us have lived through a period in America's history when the moral authority of the presidency was lost. Those demons need not be loosed once again. It's the prudential judgment of our president and his advisers (whose job it is to fight terrorism) that war in this case is just. And there are those of us--myself included--who believe the president is right in seeing the Iraqi threat as ‘lasting, grave, and certain’….”

By the by...the aforementioned Catholic commentators are not liberals. All of them, to my knowledge, fully assent to the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals.

So there.


Matt Abbott
  IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author, 



Catholic, Abbott, War, Iraq

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