America will soon attack Iraq and maybe before I finish and post this Newsletter on the web site.  The question is should Catholics support or appose this war?  The Holy Father is openly against any war because of the damage to property and the innocent people who will be killed.  He must always be against war because he has political problems in that he has priests, bishops and Nuncios in all counties of the world to protect.  If he agrees with any war, these people's lives will be lost.  This was the reason that Pope Pius XII in public held a neutral position with Hitler, when in fact he was protecting Jews and feeding information to the Allied Forces.  For diplomatic reasons, sometimes a Leader's outward statements are not his real views.


Because we take into consideration these diplomatic reasons, our moral position in this can be different from the Holy Father.  Our moral position must be based on three things: God's law, the real facts, and the motive.  The motive can be a problem in that there might be wrong motives in the proper action.  God will judge the motives but we have to look at the action. 


God's law can be confusing if you are not well versed in the Bible and the teaching of the Church because most people will just quote "Thou shall not kill.", however, then we find God commanding the Jews to go to war and kill every man, woman and child in 1 Kings 15.  What appears to be a contradiction is a mis-translation of "kill" which should be translated "murder".  We kill to eat and we kill to protect ourselves, but murder is always a sin because it is not protection or self preservation. 


What about motive?  The motive of the warrior can be bad but the results can be the Will of God; and in fact, almost always are the Will of God.  Take for an example God's command to Jeremias in Jeremias 27: 6 where He tells him to tell all the people to not fight against the King of Babylon, Nabuchodonosor. 


"And now I have given all these lands into the hands of Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, my servant."  


My servant?????  God calls one of the worse heretics, murderers and Satanic worshiper His servant.  Why?  Because God will use and does use, even Satan himself, to punish sin and correct error.  Not knowing it, Nabuchodonosor was serving the true God although he thought he was doing what his false gods wanted him to do.  God was using him to correct the sinful ways of His people.




Let us first look at the motive of America, although you will see that to me it does not matter.

In America the people believe that they are in power, but because the news is controlled by those who are in the real power, the voce of the people is a prologue to a tragedy. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and for the most part Americans are ignorant of what politicians are doing or plan to do.             

There is an election coming up and the Democrats in America are trying to see which way the wind is blowing with the people so they can take a stand on the coming war.  Taken as a whole, the 50 Democratic senators' current positions on Iraq forms the all-time record multiple-contortionist pretzel display.   But a week ago they showed signs of finally remembering the First Rule of Holes:  when you're in one, stop digging.  Instead of talking about why they don't want to talk about Iraq, they correctly figured that the easiest thing would be to give Bush some qualified, perfunctory support and hastily change the subject to something more favorable, such as the allegedly collapsing economy.

Tom Daschle, the Democrats' leader in the Senate, has "concerns" and his concerns have concerns.  He's gravely concerned that the President isn't concerned about some of his concerns and that concerns him all the more. 

Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, summing up the Democratic party's current position: "If the UN adopts the kind of resolution authorizing force to enforce the kind of inspections that they should have a resolution adopted for, then I believe this resolution should say: in the event the UN adopts a resolution authorizing member states to use force to enforce the inspections, I believe this resolution should say that under those circumstances we should authorize force to enforce that UN resolution." Got that? I don't!



George Bush is trying to convince us that this first strike will allow Americans to sleep more peacefully in their beds, and says that the Iraqi people will cheer the conquerors.  
Bush plans to knock out Syria's dictator, get the Saudi royal family on his side, inspire the neighboring Iranians into a pro-American stance, banish the Palestinians to Jordan, and clear the way for Israeli settlers. Does anyone think he can do this?
Before the war can begin, however,  the real power in Washington and around the world have their eyes on divvying up the spoils.   First in line to benefit from the war the  Masonic company, Halliburton and its subsidiary Brown & Root, which has cornered the market in supplying American armies of "liberation" around the globe. How much does Brown & Root stand to make in Iraq? We may never know. The numbers are classified.  Having spent 10 years working for Brown and Root I can saw for sure that only the Masons are in charge. 
Before the first Persian Gulf war, Iraq had become a sizable market for American rice, wheat, and chickens. In the last half of the '80s, the United States sold $4 billion in food to Iraq. Twenty percent of the American rice crop went there at one point in the 1980s. It's safe to say there would be nothing like a war, regime change, and the subsequent lifting of sanctions to open up this lucrative market once again.
Oil, clearly, is the commercial jackpot in this war. Even under the sanctions, Iraq provides the United States with 9 percent of its oil supply. Bush assures the American people that he will fight to secure their energy supply, but at the same time, he's giving away future Iraqi oil to buy support from the French and the Russians.
At the recent Group of Eight summit in Canada, Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly told Bush he couldn't care less whether Saddam got the heave-ho, as long as Russia got compensated for about $12 billion in outstanding loans to Iraq, and $4 billion owed them for transporting Iraqi oil. Meanwhile, the Russian oil companies are scrambling to save their recent deals.  The French, too, want American assurances they won't lose oil concessions.  Other smaller outfits are hoping to cash in on oil deals: Petro Vietnam, China's National Petroleum Corporation, and Indonesian companies are all eyeing the Iraqi fields. The prospect of a black-gold rush in Iraq means the United States can exchange oil futures for support for the war. 
If there's war, the one man Bush will need is Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz, crown prince of Saudi Arabia. His kingdom is America's surrogate in the Middle East, providing the U.S. with a secure military base and acting as a stabilizing force within OPEC, absorbing the ups and downs of oil prices. More than anyone else in the royal family, the prince knows how to handle the quarrelsome local tribes including the Wahhabi, whose religious fundamentalism influences Osama bin Laden and many of his followers and how to stave off any fundamentalist revolt by doling out jobs in the Saudi National Guard.
 Most important, the prince has reached out to Iran with the goal of forging a common oil policy. Should either or both of these two nations decide they've had it with Bush, all they have to do is let the much-heralded free market take over, flooding the globe with crude and sending oil prices into a steep dive. Lower prices would wipe out not only smaller international companies that have been enticed into oil play by high prices, but could wipe out the domestic oil companies in the United States, causing sheer political hell for Bush in his little oil bastion of Houston.

The real motive of the West may be to take over all the Arab counties and put in puppet governments that cow down to the USA, like they have done in South America. 


The Catholic Situation in Iraq is confusing.  The Catholic who must go to Mass is free to do so; he is free to build churches. However, Christian schools, especially the Catholic, were nationalized about a decade ago. There is relative liberty. What torments the Church at present is the question of the exodus of Christians. Over half of the Assyrian Church, which is not Catholic, is in Detroit. And many Chaldeans have left the country over the past 10 years. There are 3 or 4 million Iraqis abroad.  There are opposition groups abroad but it is not known to what degree they are popular in Iraq. According to press reports, they have found a leader in the person of Ahmed Chalabi, an opponent who has good presence, but he must unite all the Kurds, the Shiites.


No one denies that Saddam's regime is merciless. It is well known how he got to the summit of power in 1979. Meeting in a room with 200 persons, he gave the names of those who should be eliminated.


Rice, President Bush's adviser, said that the war against Iraq will finally take democracy to the Arab countries; hence, it would be a door of entry. However an Israeli deputy was told that once Saddam Hussein has been overthrown, the Americans will put in another dictator for five or six years, adding: "This is better for you and for us."  One cannot help but ask, why? First America speaks of democracy, human rights, the freedom of the Iraqi people, and then speaks of another dictator. We will see. 



George Weigel, senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, and the author, most recently, of "The Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church" (Basic Books). igel:


"As the classic just-war tradition evolved over the centuries, three situations satisfied the criteria of "just cause": defense against an aggression under way, recovery of something wrongfully taken, and/or punishment for evil.

"Modern just-war thinking, which is reflected in articles 2 and 51 of the U.N. Charter, has tended to limit "just cause" to "defense against an aggression under way." But we should note that the idea of a moral obligation to "humanitarian intervention" in cases of genocide -- of which Pope John Paul II spoke at the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in 1992 -- raises interesting questions about reviving the classic category of "punishment for evil."

"In the case of Iraq, the crucial issue in the moral analysis is what we mean by an "aggression under way." When a vicious regime that has not hesitated to use chemical weapons against its own people and against a neighboring country, a regime that has no concept of the rule of law and that flagrantly violates its international obligations, works feverishly to obtain and deploy further weapons of mass destruction, I think a compelling moral case can be made that this is a matter of an "aggression under way."

"The nature of the regime, which is the crucial factor in the analysis, makes that plain. It surely makes no moral sense to say that the U.S. or the international community can only respond with armed force when an Iraqi missile carrying a weapon of mass destruction has been launched, or is being readied for launch.

"To be sure, there are serious questions of prudence to be addressed in thinking through the question of military action against the Iraqi regime. At the level of moral principle, however, it seems to me that there are, in fact, instances where it is not only right to "go first," but "going first" may even be morally obligatory. And I think this may well be one of those instances.

"There is a great deal of concern, in Europe and elsewhere, about the precedent that would be set by overriding the "presumption of sovereign immunity" that all nation-states enjoy. I would respond that this presumption assumes that the state in question displays at least a minimum of agreement to minimal international norms of order.

"A regime like Saddam Hussein's in Iraq cannot be granted that assumption -- because its behavior has demonstrated that it holds the principles of international order in contempt. Some states, because of the regime's clearly aggressive intent and because there are no effective internal controls on the regime's behavior, simply cannot be permitted to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

"Just-war thinking begins with a basic moral judgment: that legitimate public authorities have a moral obligation to defend and pursue the peace of order, which is composed of justice and freedom. History has shown that that kind of peace can be advanced, in certain precise circumstances, by the proportionate, discriminate and strategically wise use of armed force.

"The U.N. charter itself recognizes a right to national self-defense, which implies that defense against aggression does not require the authorization of the Security Council; it is, rather, an inalienable right of nations. If the use of military force in a given case is intended, among other things, to advance the cause of world order, it certainly helps at the prudential political level if the use of force is approved by the Security Council. But I don't think a correct reading of the just-war tradition leads to the conclusion that such prior approval is morally imperative.

"It has been said recently that a failure to obtain prior Security Council approval for a U.S. or coalition assault to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction would mean that the "law of the strongest" was replacing international law. I respectfully disagree.

"What it would mean is that the United States and allied countries, having made clear that they intend their action to advance the cause of world order to which the U.N. is dedicated, have decided that they have a moral obligation to take measures that the U.N., in its present form and cast of mind, finds it impossible to take -- even though those measures are aimed at advancing the Charter's goals. And that, it seems to me, advances the cause of world order over the long haul.

"The just-war tradition will always remain normative for the Church because it is rooted in the principles of natural law. What is needed today is a development of the tradition.

"The just-war criterion of "last resort" also needs refinement: What, for example, does it mean to say that all non-military actions have been tried and failed when we are confronted with a new and lethal type of international actor, a terrorist organization that recognizes no form of power other than violence and that is largely immune to the diplomatic and economic pressures that can be put on states?"
Robert Royal, president of the Faith & Reason Institute, for his perspective on the United States' refusal to join the International Criminal Court and its lack of cooperation in U.N. programs and the danger of the United States becoming some kind of rogue superpower.

"These fears have little or no basis in reality. For one thing, the American people would never stand for a president or Congress who abused the massive power the United States now possesses. They do, however, often take a different view of action needed than do peoples and governments in other parts of the world. Throughout history, Americans have shown themselves to be, individually and as a body, in theory and in practice, suspicious of all power. But on balance they trust their own leaders and institutions far more than they do international bodies, which they believe have not been very effective in the small conflicts around the world in the past decade, are not very accountable to the world's peoples, and are clearly susceptible to all kinds of political manipulation that may damage crucial American and even world interests.

"There are reasons why Saddam Hussein has been amassing nerve gas and biological weapons, and has been seeking to develop nuclear weapons and more long-range delivery systems. In the wake of 9/11, all this presents new dangers. So while there has been no change in his weapons policy, that is hardly reason for complacency. We can say to a high degree of moral certainty that Saddam does not need such weapons merely for defense against his Muslim neighbors or Israel. He is clearly on an aggressive course that already threatens many lives in the Middle East, and may soon threaten Europe and more distant targets, without even resorting to terrorism.

"So a choice has been placed in front of the nations of the world: Shall we take steps now to prevent future blackmail, aggression or the transfer of weapons of mass destruction to Saddam's friends among the terrorists, or do we wait until the threat is more immediate?

"You may hope that in the interim some means may be found to negotiate a lessening of tensions, but negotiations and sanctions against tyrannical regimes like Cuba, Sudan and Iraq are never effective because the tyrants and their followers are not much interested in what the rest of the world understands as justice or peace.

"Iraq's regime will have to change for the good of the world. And those who want to wait may have a greater moral case to make than those who foresee an easier, more discriminating intervention by acting now.

"The Church as a whole and religious leaders such as the Pope and the bishops have rightly tried to raise the barriers to going to war as high as possible. Modern weapons are so destructive and the potential for civilian casualties so great that the modern decision to resort to force presents grave responsibilities. So even if religious leaders go beyond their strict competence -- and function as a steady voice for nonviolent resolution -- they are mostly, I believe, within their rights.

"But ultimately, political and military leaders, who have the greatest amount of concrete information and bear the responsibility if their judgments are incorrect, must make the final decision. Wars of conquest and mere retaliation are clearly outside of the just-war tradition.

"But there is all the difference in the world between the use of violence to murder and the use of force to prevent murders and massacres. We know this is true when a policeman shoots an aggressor. Many who oppose the use of force nevertheless think we should sometimes intervene to separate belligerents.

"But there is less recognition by Christians that sometimes regimes or rulers are evil or, at least, willing to use evil means for their aims that a civilized world cannot tolerate. That's one of the unhappy results of living in a fallen world, but we should not let our proper reluctance to use force, except when necessary, make us any less certain that there are times when only a just use of force will fulfill our Christian responsibilities."



You can see by my choice of commentaries on the moral aspects of war (George Weigel and Robert Royal) that I hold that an attack on Iraq is justified even without the United Nations or the rest of the world's approval; even if the United States' real motives are money and oil.  This has been the motive of some of the Christian Crusaders and yet the results were that the good outweighed the bad.  They freed the Christians, conquered the Moslems who were killing anyone who would not convert to the Moslem Religion, and stalled off an invasion of Europe. 


Saddam is a mad-man and the people of Iraq have been oppressed by him for too long. Many of these people are friends of mine living in the United States and dreaming of when they can return to their home in Iraq.  As long as people like Saddam feel they can hide behind the sovereignty of a nation and use that sovereignty to attack or support attacks against other counties, there will always be terrorism.  Terrorism will stop when there is no place (no country) for the terrorists to go home to and feel safe. 


Yes!  The motives are probably sinful but I will take a wrong motive to get done what should have been done a long time ago when this mad-man first took power without the vote or even passive approval of the people.  It was then that the other countries should have gone to the aid of the Iraq people and not after hundreds of thousands have died or left the country.  Saddam does not even use Iraq people as his personal body guards because he does not trust his own Iraq people. 


                                                                                      Rick Salbato

                                                                             The month of the Rosary 2002