July 14, 2006

Vatican Statement on the Middle East Situation

Amy quotes it and her readers have, not surprisingly, wildly disparate opinions.

A sampling:
"Lebanon" is a fiction, not a sovereign state. It is a playpen for Hezbollah. Israel is not "attacking" a sovereign state, it is defending itself from terrorists, who hide behind the cover of "Lebanon." Sodano has played this game for years and Truth is always the victim. I hope Benedict has not written the script for this.

Even defending itself Israel must use the principle of 'proportion' in Lebanon and Gaza. This is simply the Just War Teachings of the Church.

The only problem I have with the sentiments expressed is that they show an unfortunate lack of understanding of what an asymmetric war really is. They're grounded, for the most part, in things such as the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which were written when warfare was symmetric. It is a difficult question when civilians cease to be civilians when they willingly and knowingly house, shelter and support combatants. That is an issue I could only wish we had more theological study on that issue - I'm not sure the classic Just War doctrine anticipated it.

The Israeli response IS out of proportion to the offense. Let's step back and see how this started: The kidnapping of one (1) Israeli soldier. For this, Israel seems perfectly willing to send the entire Mideast up in flames and kill Lord knows how many civilians (not to mention losing who knows how many more soldiers). Hezbollah are "lucky" terrorists, because they can always count on Israel over-reacting to anything they do, which of course further inflames the Arabs and is great for recruiting.

If a terrorist group used Niagara Falls, Canada, as a staging area to launch dozens of missiles to Buffalo and Rochester (and had done such things for years without the Canadian government lifting a finger to stop them), how much of the "civilian infrastructure" of Ottawa and perhaps Toronto would be left standing?...Lebanon has been complicit in Hezbollah's terrorism for decades, hosting its headquarters in Beirut and permitting it to use its southern territory as a base of operations.

And people ask "why do they hate us"?

It's largely due to the invertebrate fecklessness that runs through this kind of thinking.

I heard Bill Bennent this morning agree with an emailer asking basically "Why should Israel be concerned about responding in proportion to the attacks, who cares?" he said. I'm no expert on Catholic Just War Doctrine but I kind of took that "Catholic" Bill Bennett could care less about the church's teachings on Just War. Again I'm not expert, just my 2 cents.

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