Thursday, August 29, 2013

"The Catholic Thing" my Butt!

A Facebook friend sends this to me.

Warning: there's a bit of offensive language.  And a LOT of offensive argumentation.  If you can call it that.  Keep in mind this wiener writes for "The Catholic Thing".

Ladies and gentlemen, Brad Miner of :The Catholic Thing" on "Why I'd Bomb Damascus."
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On Syria: In H.P. Willmot’s history of WWII, THE GREAT CRUSADE, he makes the point that Allied failure to act – enforcing treaties with China – to defend Manchuria against the Japanese invasion (1931) was an incitement to global war. Hitler saw that Manchuria was left to twist in the wind, and was emboldened to move on the Sudetenland. In all, 60,000,000 (conservatively) would die in the next fifteen years of slaughter. There was talk in the lead up to the Gulf War (1991) that it was all about oil. I argued at the time – at a National Review gathering (under questioning by WFB) – that, as in the Thirties, we needed to consider that what may seem but a single ember floating on a breeze may drop upon tall, dry grass and ignite a spreading conflagration. And this is the problem we face in Syria. Inaction (as Buddha famously put it) IS an action. Yet if the 20th century teaches anything it’s that (to paraphrase Richard Weaver) action has (unintended) consequences. So: bombing WMD stores in Syria could end up being another Nagasaki or Dresden. But: the Japanese and Germans are now among America’s closest allies. And: the Arab and Muslim nations might unleash hell on Israel. But: Israel isn’t Czechoslovakia. Maybe: Mr. Obama would rather have Israel clean up this mess. But: An attack on Damascus by the U.S. could, as Assad has promised, lead to retaliation against American targets. Or: Assad is taken out in an attack and the rebels succeed, and the rebels are Al Qaeda. If: You toss any sort of incendiary into this situation, you can’t possibly know how it will play out. Still: Failure to act makes the U.S. look like a paper tiger (as Mao used to say). Meanwhile: Any targeted attack on Assad would seem to be in violation of Jimmy Carter’s (Executive Order 12036) prohibition of assassination. (Confirmed by Reagan – EO 12333.) But: The very best result would be a coordinated effort of bombing and spec ops in which among the casualties is Bashar al-Assad. It’s not right; it’s against the law; it solves part of the problem. But: Then what? Quoting those noted political philosophers, The Who, what if: “Meet the new boss/same as the old boss.” Adding: Except worse. Years before my time at National Review, James Burnham used to listen to this sort of dialectic and say: “If there’s no solution, there’s no problem.” If I were president, I’d unleash hell from the sky and mop up all the identifiable bad guys – if that were possible. I’d call Bibi and say: “That’s it, my brother. But we’ll be with you at Meggido if the shit really hits the fan.”

4 comments:

Kevin Tierney said...

I honestly think too many Catholics have gotten way too bogged down in politics, and I say this as a political junkie.

Joey Higgins said...

I don't know if America would still be called a "Paper Tiger" with the amount of civilians/enemy combatants/whoever we have killed since 2001 and the current drone "campaign" we are engaged in.

The idea that having another Hiroshima in order to get more friends down the road is "interesting" as well.

Tom Leith said...

Oh my.

The Catholic Thing would be to lament the bloodshed, tell everyone we do hope they can work out their problems, and look after the refugees as best we can.

I said elsewhere: The world is reaping the fruit of the post-WWI border-drawing and tyrant-installing that completed the imposition of Westphalian-style national rule on parts of the world that had their own supra-national structures; to wit: the Ottoman Empire and the the late, lamented Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Habsburgs -- last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire. These organic societal structures had to be destroyed because they could not be controlled by the USA and GB. To "replace" them, we got the League of Nations. It took another war to bring about the United Nations.

There is NOTHING we can do to help at this point, and any "help" offered by our government will be about helping ourselves (not them) anyway. For "us", sackcloth and ashes seem in order.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI (of course it wasn't called that precisely at the time). Perhaps the world's best museum dedicated to the Great War is in Kansas City, Missouri and FIWI I recommend everyone take a trip out there by Armistice Day, 2017. And learn some history. What happened then is the cause of what is happening now.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Leith,
You are both over-simplifying and neglecting important truths with your history. If what happened during the first Great War is the cause of what is happening now, then one would ask what the cause of that conflict was? (Thus it is an over-simplification). Such a statement also neglects so much else that has happened from that time til now. (Which is a neglect of many important historical truths).

But most importantly, your post betrays a large, I think the largest, opinion on war in our time. It is this:

You think that war is in itself evil. That is an impossibility. War, or "bloodshed" as you put it, is a state; it is a condition, a development. When men's ideas disagree, that is called a political conflict. Often times this political conflict, which is a conflict of idea, comes to resolve itself by a conflict at arms. I do not believe there ever lived a man, however evil, that wanted a war purely for the sake of the war.

There is always some particular result that is desired by each of the parties of which war is but the means.

If you say "I want this bloodshed and destruction to be over," that is well, but the war did not come about without there first being a conflict of ideas. If you pull two hale young men off of each other in the middle of a fight, you do not as a result put an end to the conflict of ideas that started it. They may be held each of them by three men and so cannot, for the time being at any rate, get at each other's throats. If they cease to fight, it is either because they have come to a resolve (which would mean that that conflict ended), or 2) avoided contact with each other (which is only temporary and is therefore no resolve of the issue), or 3) are restrained by force from attacking each other (which, again, is only temporary and is there no settlement of the issue).

The first question we should be asking ourselves in regards to the Syrian conflict, or any conflict, is:
"What were the ideas at conflict which started this bloodshed, and what will the result be?" Then we can decide whose, if anyone's, side we should take.

The only Catholic approach is the intelligent approach. The sackcloth and ash approach that you describe is worse than worthless, for it not only does nothing but thinks it is doing something.... What good has that kind of approach ever done if not allied with action? Action in thought, and, wholly dependent upon the action of thought, the possible action of the body--of force.

We need to insist on learning the truth by weighing all the testimonies and evidence we have at our disposal, for we cannot understand why two disputants are at conflict until we hear the charges and claims or counter-charges and counter-claims of each. (When I say "we" I mean human beings collectively not a particular nation.)

Washing our hands of the business of a conflict that comes to our attention while saying that we hope the parties can work out their problems is a weak and false thing to do. It bears nothing in common with the Faith. Catholicism is a thing that requires one to follow his thoughts all the way through if it is to be wholly accepted.