Sunday, January 22, 2006

Michael Yon on 'Operation Iraqi Children'

Operation Iraqi Children -- Michael Yon blogs about one of the latest grassroots efforts of the American people to aid the nation of Iraq:

I’ve seen the U.S. Army hold medical screenings, build schools and playgrounds, deliver sporting gear, and so on, but much of the help for Iraqi kids is coming from Joe Citizen, who has never been to Iraq, through a program started when one not-so-ordinary citizen traveled there and saw the immediate need.

While on a USO tour of Iraq in 2003, Gary Sinise recognized the potential as well as the plight of these children. Once back in the United States, he joined forces with a couple of smart and good-hearted people, Laura Hillenbrand and Mary Eisenhower, and took action to address the educational needs of Iraqi kids. In what he describes as “a few breathtaking and exhausting weeks,” these three dynamos organized Operation Iraqi Children (OIC). . . .

A must-read post and a project worth supporting by preparing and sending your own School Supply Kit.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I could make an historical argument, I think, to the effect that failure to fight wars in time or appropriately has caused as much chaos, degradation of the human spirit, and slaughter as wars that were in fact fought. Wars are a question of justice. When justice is an obvious and paramount question, it is not a virtue to avoid them. It is the mistake of always framing the issue in terms of peace and not in terms of justice. Logically, the former cannot be had without the latter. Peace without justice is the definition of extreme tyranny. And it is not just a question of justice, but of generosity and self-sacrifice. If there are no causes worth fighting and dying for, we might as well give up pretending that we are civilized.

Fr. James V. Schall, Fr. James V. Schall on Reason and Faith (Interview with Ken Masugi) Nov/Dec 2005.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Spero News: The Year in Military Heroism

The Year in Military Heroism, by Dan from Riehl World View. Jan. 2, 2006:

Between seeing this post of Sondrak's on Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith and all the brouhaha over various nonsensical year end lists, I decided to do a tribute post to America's War Heroes of 2005. In my view, they cannot get and certainly haven't gotten enough attention via the MSM [Main Stream Media] . . .

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Michael Novak - background to the speech "'Asymmetrical Warfare' & Just War"

In a guest-post for First Things' On The Square, Michael Novak provides the background details on his speech “Asymmetrical Warfare” & Just War, delivered to a public audience in Vatican City on February 10, 2003, and later published in the National Review:

Nearly three years ago, Ambassador James Nicholson invited me to give a lecture on February 10, 2003, at the Vatican on the just war criteria regarding Iraq, after 15 or more resolutions by the UN concerning violations of the Truce of 1991. I was to speak for myself, not for the U.S. Government, in the same vein as I had spoken on previous occasions at the invitation of the Embassy to the Vatican. Not being privy to government briefings or intelligence findings, I had to rely solely on the public record. I paid special attention to statements by Mr. Hans Blix, the leader of the UN group of inspectors in Iraq, who said on two different occasions that in December and January that some 5,000 (or slightly more) liters of mustard gas and a similar amount of anthrax were missing and unaccounted for. The inspectors had catalogued these materials earlier, but could no longer find them. It had been the freely undertaken obligation of Saddam Hussein’s Government both to destroy those weapons and to prove that they had destroyed them. Since barely a teaspoon of anthrax had killed and hospitalized people in Washington, D.C., and closed a Senate Office Building for a month, those missing liters seemed to me worrisome. I had no idea what others might mean by “weapons of mass destruction,” but these missing liters were what the term meant to me. My authority was Mr. Blix. . . .

I believed at the time, and I believe still, that Pope John Paul II would want lay persons in my position to do as I then did, make my argument in keeping with Catholic traditions of reasoning in the public arena, in the important work of clarifying issues important to conscience. Some of these issues are prudential and contingent, and lie within the special responsibility of lay inquiry. I had, and was known to have, a personal friendship with the Pope, and felt keenly the responsibility of being open to every nuance in his own public statements, and of representing them fairly. He did not take a pacifist position, not at all, but a prudential position appropriate to the leader of the worldwide Catholic church, with acute responsibility to the Catholic people in the Middle East, and with a worldwide responsibility–even a world-historical responsibility, whose effects might linger for centuries. My own role was far humbler and far more limited. It was not one I had sought, but, when invited, agreed was too important not to take on. What the United States does is important to the Catholic people worldwide and to the Vatican. To be well-informed about how the Vatican’s American friends are thinking, and to learn the basis of their practical judgments, is highly useful, even necessary.

These remarks ended up being delivered to a huge overflow audience, with representatives of at least seventy media outlets present–but not until after I had delivered them to two smaller but significant Vatican audiences in private. I do not think many I spoke to at the Vatican agreed with me; many were in fact Europeans and had views closer to those of the elites of their nations of origin, as some said outright. But they were quite interested in the way I argued and were quite respectful of what I had to say. It felt to me as if they now knew that there was a new argument on the block, which they had not heretofore exactly calibrated.

Two days later, I gave another public lecture in Rome, with further clarification about what was to be expected in Iraq, as I then saw it. It was also published online (in article form), on February 18, 2003.

In view of the controversies swirling in the air today about who said what in the period just before the war, it seemed useful to revisit these texts now, with their errors and faults, as well as reasonably accurate expectations, plainly revealed.