Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Destruction of the Church in Iraq

Who needs to apologize? From Opus Publicum:
Alot of focus has been placed recently on Mark Movesian’s First Things (FT) blog piece on the deplorable situation of Christians in Iraq, “A Line Crossed in the Middle East.” You should go read it; it’s quite good. The article does, however, inadvertently raise the question a friend of mine asked, “What responsibility does FT bear for Iraq?” For those of you too young to remember, during the 1990s and 00s, FT was the main hub for neoconservative Catholicism. The late Fr. John Neuhaus, along with his ideological sentries George Weigel and Michael Novak, beat the war drums leading up to the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 while trashing those Christians who stood in the way.

While FT has undergone some significant internal shakeups since the death of Neuhaus in 2009, the magazine—which at this point is a minor Catholic institution—has never publicly repented of its support for the Iraq War and, by extension, the misery which followed it.
Soul searching does not come easy for Americans. When we do it, we do it begrudgingly. When political leaders such as our current President, Barack Obama, issues public apologies on the world stage, it is taken by many as a sign of weakness and shame. To own up to a past mistake or bad intellectual bet amounts to a self-inflicted reputational gunshot wound, or so we often fear. While it is understandable—though hardly defensible—that overtly ideological rags such as The National Review, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary aren’t falling over themselves to issue mea culpas for America’s Mid East debacle, shouldn’t we expect better of a Catholic publication? It seems almost self-serving and shallow for FT to run pieces condemning the genocide in Mosul without first coming to grips openly for its support of the military action which made a murderous band of radicals like ISIS possible.

Now, some might say that FT only had a “minor role” to play in the Iraq affair, and to a certain extent they are right. In the grand scheme of things FT is a small-time player compared to mainstream conservative publications. For American Catholics, however, FT was, and still remains, a powerful voice. At the very time when certain Catholic intellectuals in America and Europe were expressing skepticism toward the justness of going to war with Iraq, FT was there to set consciences at ease that invading a country which had not attacked the United States was meet and right. There are more than a few Catholics in “my generation” (I am 34) who will say with a straight face that FT tipped their hearts and minds to backing the American invasion of Iraq. Besides, no matter how one judges “influence,” there is no doubt that FT came out for the war and dedicated column space to defending it. That is sufficient for putting them on the culpability hook.

Others might argue that while the FT of the 1990s and 00s bears responsibility for getting into bed with neoconservatism and supporting the Iraq War, today’s FT is a different story. The editorial leadership has changed and many of the regular contributors were not around back then. Ideologically speaking, FT appears to be more diverse than it ever was. Are the children responsible for the sins of their fathers? Well no, not directly. However, as custodians of a publication which committed itself to a disastrous political position, the current editorial leadership, along with its supporting staff, owe it to the Christians now suffering terribly in Iraq to repent of the publication’s misdeeds. Perhaps no single editor or writer on FT is responsible, but here we are talking about a publication/institution which still carries a lot of heft. Shouldn’t it be easier for the current leadership at FT, as compared to the old guard, to take a hard look at the magazine’s past position on Iraq and publicly distance themselves from it? (Read more.)

Via A Conservative Blog for Peace. Share


Nancy Reyes said...

the pure leftist interpretation, but it's not true, of course.

Sadam supported the Sunni minority and killed Shiites and Kurds, and as for the WMD that the left claims were never there, well, Wikileaks suggested a more subtle scenerio, that is explained in detail here. link.

So Sadam was bribing the French and the Vatican and others to lift sanctions while keeping his ability to make WMD in the closet, ready to get out and running the moment sanctions were lifted.

If I trust StrategyPage over the usual parrots in the news business, it's because they get it right about countries where I have family or have lived.

As for pacifists: I have little use for them. They tend to pick and chose their wars with the idea the west is bad, everyone else is honkey dory. Catholic left is just as bad: They were predicting the Communists were the only ones who could oust Marcos. Luckily Our Lady of Peace and Tita Cory had different ideas.

elena maria vidal said...

I disagree, Boink. I am certainly neither a leftist nor a pacifist just because I disagree with the neocon agenda which has been disastrous for thousands of dead and wounded Americans. And for the Christians in Irag. That is the same as saying that people who disagree with Barack Obama are racist. We should not have gone into Iraq. It was a colossal blunder.