Pope mentions Iraq War in his easter greeting

During his Easter Sunday address to thousands of Catholic faithful, our Pope, Benedict XVI, mentioned the futility of the ongoing war in Iraq. I have provided a news story about the pontiff’s address. Pope Benedict has been a vocal critic of the war since his days as Cardinal. Benedict called into the question the morality of preventative or preemptive war and has caught the ire of many people for that. I’m proud that my Pope, like his predecessor, John Paul II, can speak strongly on the matter in Iraq. All Christians–even Protestants and Orthodox–should be grateful that there are Christian leaders throughout the world who are willing to speak up on this matter so bluntly. God Bless us all this year and thank you Benedict for your words. I only wonder why so-called conservatives such as Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh haven’t turned on this guy. The second a celebrity speaks out against the war they’re trashed. What about the leader of the largest Christian body in the world? The thing is, these men are cowards. None could hold a candle to the decency and integrity of Il Papa. On this day of the Resurrection (sp.), I’m proud to call Benedict my Pope.

Pope: ‘Nothing positive’ from Iraq

By FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 30 minutes ago

In an Easter litany of the world’s suffering, Pope Benedict XVI lamented that “nothing positive” is happening in Iraq and decried the unrest in Afghanistan and bloodshed in Africa and Asia.

“How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world,” the pontiff told tens of thousands gathered Sunday at St. Peter’s Square on what is Christianity’s most joyful feast day.

Benedict, delivering his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” Easter address from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, read out a long list of troubling current events, saying he was thinking of the “terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons.”

“Afghanistan is marked by growing unrest and instability,” Benedict said. “In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees.”

He singled out what he called the “catastrophic, and sad to say, underestimated humanitarian situation” in Darfur as well as other African places of suffering, including violence and looting in Congo, fighting in Somalia — which, he said, drove away the prospect of peace — and the “grievous crisis” in Zimbabwe, marked by crackdowns on dissidents, a disastrous economy and severe corruption.

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My issues with the anti-war movement

More than four years after the invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation of a formerly sovereign–albeit corrupt and dictatorial nation–the United States has lost more than 3,100 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors in the conflict. Compared to the numbers of my father and grandfather’s conflicts, Vietnam and World War II respectively, the totals of American dead are much less. In comparison to the the combined combatant deaths of the American Civil War (1861-65), the amount of armed forces personnel is miniscule, less than 1 percent, in fact.

Taken into consideration that the total loss of American life in Iraq, which includes armed forces personnel, private contractors, public officials and journalists,  is relatively low, Americans who support the war tend to write off the sacrafice that is paid in life.

On their syndicated radio programs, both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have used the comparatively low armed forces deaths as a rebuke towards the anti-war movement.

Limbaugh cites scurilous statistics to conclude that an Army soldier is safer in Baghdad than he or she is in the streets of crime-plauged American cities such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Not only does this reasoning cheat Americans of a fair analysis of the War in Iraq, it is also wholly irrelevant. Our is a nation based upon the Enlightenment principles of reason and intellect, not simply emotion. Our joy and tears should take a back seat to the objective measurement of cost and benefit.

Wars are not fought with the consideration of the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines fighting them, but of the compelling national interest that would motivate Congress to pay to send people into harm’s way–the Constitution in particular.

As long as a war in Iraq is fought the troops will and must be a consideration. The problem is however, that both sides treat armed forces personnel like children and until they stop doing that an objective analysis of the war and its costs will scarcely be considered.

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