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Does the situation in Iraq call for US military intervention? August 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, horror, paganism, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the enemy.

CatholicVote sent out an e-mail this morning that seems to argue for US military intervention in Iraq.  I assume they mean over and above the rather piddling response made thus far in the form of a few very limited airstrikes.

I’ve sort of brought up the subject before on my blog, but I thought I would address the topic directly – is this ongoing genocide in Iraq, largely the result of previous, disastrous US policy decisions, rise to the level of demanding some significant response from the United States and other Western nations?   That the ongoing crisis is a direct result of US actions is, I think, unarguable.  From the initial and badly mistaken decision to invade in 2003, to the public revocation of support for most of the ante bellum political leadership of the Mideast giving rise to the “Arab Spring,” (which spring has in reality been a cold winter of islamic hate and radicalism from Tunisia to Iran), to this administration siding with the rebels in Syria and even arming them, no matter how radical they were, and then the precipitous and completely self-serving decision by Obama to pull all troops out of Iraq, which left that false, cobbled together “nation” tottering on the brink of calamity…..the stage was set pretty well by the US, Britain, and the West generally for this unspeakable agony.

Pope Francis has now weighed in more forcefully (if belatedly) against this genocide, and key figures in the Curia seem to be saying that this genocide is a situation that calls for military intervention:

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, who serves as the Pope Francis’ ambassador to Baghdad, told Vatican radio that American strikes are “something that had to be done, otherwise [ISIS] could not be stopped.”

Additionally, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that “military action in this moment is probably necessary.”

so over 100,000 Christians have fled their homeland “horrified and panicked” with “nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Patriarch Sako appealed to Western nations to intervene:

“To summarize the situation of the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region: the churches are deserted and desecrated; five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind, the families have fled with their children abandoning everything else! The level of disaster is extreme.

“The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing. The talks about dividing Iraq are threatening. The Americans are not up to a rapid solution to give hope specifically as they are not going to attack the ISIS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain.”

Having said that, a gravely imprudent decision to go to war – a war Pope Saint John Paul II and his successor both decried repeatedly as unnecessary and unjust – set this tragedy in motion.  The pre-war population of 2,000,000 Chaldean Catholics in Iraq has already been cut in more than half through death and flight, and the 800,000 or so who remain are suffering mightily.  Even if military intervention is justified (as it certainly seems to be), and prudent and necessary, I’m not certain I see a way to get out.  Where will it end?  There seems to be an endless stream of young  muslims ready to take up the black flag of jihad and spread murder and mayhem everywhere they can.

And, as a commenter already noted in another post, this nation really cannot afford another military adventure, no matter how well justified.  I hate to weigh human lives against dollars, but the fact remains this nation has been living beyond its means for decades, and every additional $100 billion (or whatever) seems to doom it even further.

So I’m really torn.  While I can see that a vigorous military response could likely gravely wound ISIS and drive them away from Christian areas, easing the pressure on not just Catholics but everyone who is not a crazed jihadist, I fear that this will only perpetuate the seemingly endless cycle of violence in the area. I don’t see any clear way to extricate military force once involved.  Airstrikes are not terribly costly and may help reduce the greatest pressure, but it won’t win back any of the Christian cities in the Nineveh plain lost to ISIS.  Air power will at best be only a slight remedy.  Maybe there is merit in distributing a whole bunch of arms to the area and training locals to use them- not just Kurds, but Christians, as well.  Apparently Qaraqosh was successfully defended several times by Peshmerga and Catholics when ISIS attacked with small arms, but when they brought in heavy artillery (taken from the cowardly Iraqi Army), there was no defense, so they had to flee.

I have spoken at times of the idea of opening up refugee status to allow these persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria, and other locales to enter the US.  That argument has mostly been made as a riposte to US bishops who seem only concerned about continuing to flood the US with Hispanic Catholics, and to point out the hypocrisy of their stance.  But I don’t want to see the Mideast de-populated of Christians.  That’s our home!  Christians were there long before Mohammad was born, and I pray there will be tens of millions in the Mideast long after islam is just a global bad memory.  So I don’t see a mass flight as a really good response, either, even if I think we Catholics should be pretty open to the idea in individual Saint_James_Moorslayer_museo_pedro_osmacases.

I guess what I’m struggling with is that this seems about as good a case for military intervention as one is likely to get, and yet I’m still pretty divided.  For me, I don’t think the cost factor even enters in.  These are dying people, and not just people but our brothers in the Faith, in our ancestral home, if you will……they deserve our support.  Where I get hung up is, ok, once we help them out, then what?

At this point I’m really just down to prayer as the only universally effective tool we have to deal with this crisis.  The US bishops have asked all Catholics to make this Sunday, August 17 a day of prayer for the persecuted Christians in the Mideast, and I think that’s a good idea, at least for a start.  I pray Our merciful God, the God of armies, will stop this nightmare in its tracks and perform some glorious miracle such as occurred when Saint James, Matamoros, took the field at the Battle of Clavijo in 844.  Ultimately, if the muslims insist on endless war, the Christians of the area are either going to have to find some way to stop the invading hordes, or give the area up, which I would truly hate to see.  I pray God may protect them and have mercy on them, and work a  miracle of conversion on their tormentors.

I’m open to hear your impressions.  It is quite a change for me to be a quasi-peacenik, I was a full bore interventionist back 11 years ago.  I could get somewhat behind military intervention, but I am not terribly hopeful it will really result in long-term peace for the afflicted.

I do know one thing, this debacle is an object lesson in hubris, and not listening to the Vicar of Christ.  Perhaps something to ponder there for all of us.




1. TG - August 12, 2014

Does anybody know anything about the “Yazid”i people in Iraq. I read an article that they worship Lucifer. There’s an article in NE News Now. It was written last Friday.

Tantumblogo - August 12, 2014

They are fire worshipers. Not sure about satan. But derived from Zoroastrianism and thus very pagan and disordered.

2. Branch - August 12, 2014

I am not sure this is about listening to the Vicar of Christ one way or the other. The question is really whether our invading Iraq fulfilled the objective requirements of a just war, which it likely did not. To that extent, yes, heeding the Vicar of Christ would have been wise. But not principally because the guidance is coming from the Vicar of Christ, for I fear that simply reinforces the papolatry that has been suffocating the Church since the election of Pope Francis.

3. Maggie - August 12, 2014

I think it best not to look too closely at what this Bishop of Rome is doing; it just leads to upset and confusion for the faithful. He only must answer to God. I pray every day for his faithfulness, orthodoxy, clearness in matters of faith and morals. Dear Lord, I hope You hear my prayer. So far, not so good from Rome. With Pope Benedict, I knew I could trust him to do and say the right thing (except maybe for resigning). Not so with the present Bishop of Rome. Pray, pray, pray!

4. discipleofthedumbox - August 12, 2014

You appear to be a part of the ‘we caused the problem therefore we should fix it’ group or you are at least leaning that way. I must ask, where is this same outrage for what has been going on in Syria? No one I am aware of is advocating for intervention in that country.

In business, when someone royally screws something up that person is more often than not fired or moved to another project and not asked to fix the same problem he brought about in the first. Why does our government get a pass in this more grave situation? Everything our federal system touches gets invariably worse from healthcare, to religious freedom, to diplomacy.

[sarcasm]But you go on and keep thinking that they will somehow get it miraculously right this time. They just need to drop more bombs on more brown people.[/sarcasm]

Here is what I suggest:

1) Pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq
2) Pray for their persecutors
3) Read your catechism
4) Read the U.S. Constitution
4) Trust not the federal government for they got us into this mess.
5) Trust not the major media existing in these United States for they were complicit in the above.
6) Recall what both the federal government and the major media outlets said to persuade the people of the Union to get involved in 2003.
7) Having done the above and then realizing the insanity of U.S. interventionism considering both its immorality and its unconstitutionality, we should mind our own business, militarily speaking.

The Christians in Iraq are taking action. They are leaving a hostile situation in a hostile land. Like we do for the Cuban refugee, we should probably do for the Iraqi. Outside of that, there is nothing more that I see where our federal group of imbeciles should get involved.

Ooo and how about this idea? The Church should open her doors to receive and care for those who are fleeing. It is something that they are probably already doing but this I am sure is going largely unreported. Who needs government where the Church is active? Where the Church is failing, government will attempt to jump in and replace it. ’nuff said.

Tantumblogo - August 12, 2014

No I’m not leaning towards supporting a military involvement. Or at least much more than we’re doing now. Not that my opinion would matter in the slightest in making that decision. But I don’t think Obama has the stomach for anything like that, especially since he sold himself as the man who got us out of Iraq.

I’m just looking at different aspects. I don’t think it’s a cut and dried situation.

The only thing I really have any confidence in is prayer. Aside from that, and as you mentioned opening up refugee status for these people, I don’t see any ideal or even good way to go forward.

discipleofthedumbox - August 12, 2014

Gotcha. Thanks for that clarification.

5. LaGallina - August 12, 2014

My husband (who is anxiously awaiting the call for the next Crusade) said that the Vatican should hire a security/ military team to protect the Christians in Iraq. Any thoughts on that idea?

Tantumblogo - August 12, 2014

Interesting. The Papal States had an army and navy for centuries. The Swiss Guard is the last remnant of the many Vatican armies. The papal armies were never large, but generally punched above their weight.

I imagine most peacenik hippie lib katholycs would be just aghast at the idea of such, and for that reason I think it’s a non-starter, since those folks remain in control. But historically there is great precedence for such. It would not be a bad idea. A voluntary Crusade to defend the Christians of the Mideast from muslim depredations, armed and paid by the Vatican and/or local churches?!

I think you just hit on the response I could really get behind.

6. MFG - August 12, 2014

Is it wise to invite the same government who caused the problem back in to solve it? If military intervention is justified perhaps other countries can step up.

Hence, this really is a perfect opportunity for Putin, who claims he is now a defender of Christians, to prove himself and jump in to save the day. Russians are quite close to the border anyhow.

Another question in all of this – what does President Bush (43) really think of the situation now? I know most of his advisors will blame Obama, but Bush does seem to realize he was duped by the neo-cons back in 2003. If true, what does one do about the situation now if one bears responsibility?

Tantumblogo - August 12, 2014

It would be nice if Putin, instead of seeking to gain territory at the expense of Christian Ukraine, would use some of that muscle to defend Christians in Iraq. But I won’t hold my breath.

As for 43, many of his advisors had served Bush 41 and come to the exact opposite conclusion in 91 than they did in 03, which was that invading Iraq would lead inexorably to quagmire. His VP was famously against invading Iraq as SecDef in 91, but whole hog in favor in ’03. At least publicly. The boss having made up his mind probably tends to exercise a heavy influence on subordinate’s opinions!

Sorry if I sounded like I was eager for involvement. That’s not the case, I don’t know that there is any effective, earthly response to this crisis. Although, I am troubled by the thought of abandoning these people to their fate.

MFG - August 12, 2014

Here is Pat Buchanan’s take which points out there are plenty of other players in the region that can take better and more direct action against ISIS than the U.S. since they face an existential threat:


discipleofthedumbox - August 13, 2014

The older I get, the more wise this gentleman becomes. I used to believe that what he was saying ever since at least the 80s was patently absurd. In these latter days, the man is a prophet.

discipleofthedumbox - August 13, 2014

“All are potential allies in a coalition to contain or crush ISIS, as is Vladimir Putin’s Russia, if U.S. diplomacy were not frozen in the 1980s”

And it seems to me that many of our brothers and sisters in this Union of states have not gotten the message that we no longer are living through a ‘Cold War’ with communists. It is as if the creation of the Russian Federation means absolutely nothing to them. Folks, the USSR is dead. With recent policies put in place and being enforced by the Russian government it is clear that they are more friendly to Christ and his followers than our own ever increasing secular government. While we here in the states become more like the USSR of the 1980s, they on the other hand are moving more towards Jeffersonian democracy.

7. Steve - August 12, 2014

The Yazidi deserve great attention as to their plight in Iraq.

When our news media report on Iraq, the persecution against the Yazidi receives by far the lion’s share of said coverage.

But the news media show their true anti-Catholic bias in that as compared to the Yazidi, coverage of the persecution against Iraq’s Catholics has received far, far less attention.

Catholics are on the run in Iraq, but the plight of the Yazidi has occupied the bulk of the news media coverage in Iraq.

Television and print news media outlets have granted to the Yazidi far more most dramatic film and photographic coverage than to Iraq’s persecuted Catholics.

8. Steve - August 12, 2014

Where is the imam who a few weeks ago prayed for “peace” (that is, Allah to conquer infidels) during his visit to the Vatican Gardens?

I imagine that he is busy leading rallies to call attention to the persecutions directed against Catholics in Iraq and throughout the world.

Uh huh.

9. Steve - August 12, 2014

In regard to Islamic persection of Catholics, of late, one thing is certain:

The utter futility of Rome’s “interreligious dialogue” with Islam has been demonstrated in undeniable fashion.

Tantumblogo - August 12, 2014

Bingo. If I had a “gold star comment of the day” like a well known priest, you would get it.

10. Rorate Caeli (@RorateCaeli) - August 12, 2014


Tantumblogo - August 12, 2014

You’re a good writer! Nothing more than that?!?

11. Steve - August 13, 2014

Your fine blog inspires me.

I am truly thankful for the opportunity to post to your blog.

I wish that I had your holiness, intelligence and ability to express myself in print.

May Our Heavenly Father continue to inspire you to promote His Church and leaven His world via your blog.


12. Steve - August 13, 2014

Rorate Caeli…thank you for lifting my heart and educating me as to the True Faith.

13. maggycast - August 13, 2014

Where is the Iraq military? What was the point of training and supplying them when they don’t defend their own countrymen? What was the point of the whole Iraq war if they can’t even defend themselves against some ragtag ISIS groups in their own country? Love the idea of calling a Crusade…and love the idea of the Pope having his own standing army for such cases:+) God bless~

discipleofthedumbox - August 13, 2014

Billions of U.S. taxpayer money down the drain…and yet some would like to throw more of our mismanaged money at ‘fixing’ this?! Ludicrous. What we have here is yet more evidence of causes to abolish our government which are neither ‘light’ nor ‘transient’.

Wake up, folks and unplug that matrix cable from the backs of your heads. Join the Texas Nationalist Movement.

14. camper - August 13, 2014

The trouble with the Texas Nationalist Movement is that Republicans throughout the US will never allow it. They will fight to keep Texas, and most sadly, that will settle the issue.

As for Iraq, I read on what I believe was the UK’s Telegraph that ISIS was built with Saudi and Qatari money. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have plenty of money to go around, so that is also what the Christians are up against.

discipleofthedumbox - August 13, 2014

It is not for the Repubnikans to decide. Texans have to decide it else it will never happen.

15. camper - August 13, 2014

There is an alternative to the Texas National Movement mentioned by St. Thomas Aquinas (other than, by the way, praying like crazy) but it is doubtful it would work in America.

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