Is there anything left that matters in international affairs? YES, there is a MORAL line that humanity should not cross. If it does, it has karmically made itself RIPE FOR TERMINATION.
This interesting THEORY is what Joan Chittister, a Benedictine sister, discusses in the article below. Her answer is clear - YES - and she goes on to write out what matters for the US today, in a manner that we need to take note of. Joan Chittister is a well known author and the founder and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality - http://www.benetvision.org . She is also an active member of the International Peace Council.
IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT THAT MATTERS?
by Joan Chittister, OSB
Words to think about from a Benedictine Sister of Eirie.
The article appeared in the National Catholic Reporter of 29 May
This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems
First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they
didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our
mission is greater than one man.
Then they said they wanted Saddam Hussein, "dead or alive."
He's apparently alive but we haven't got him yet, either. However,
President Bush told reporters recently, "It doesn't matter. Our
mission is greater than one man."
Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq to destroy their
weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons
probably don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that
doesn't matter either.
Except that it does matter.
I know we're not supposed to say that. I know it's called
But it's also called honesty. And dishonesty matters.
It matters that the infrastructure of a foreign nation that couldn't
defend itself against us has been destroyed on the grounds that
it was a military threat to the world.
It matters that it was destroyed by us under a new doctrine of
"pre-emptive war" when there was apparently nothing worth
It surely matters to the families here whose sons went to
war to make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction
and will never come home.
It matters to families in the United States whose life support
programs were ended, whose medical insurance ran out, whose
food stamps were cut off, whose day care programs were
eliminated so we could spend the money on sending an army
to do what did not need to be done.
It matters to the Iraqi girl whose face was burned by a
lamp that toppled over as a result of a U.S. bombing run,
(and to five thousand other women children, murdered there
recently, and another ten thousand maimed).
It matters to Ali, the Iraqi boy who lost his family - and both
his arms - in a U.S. air attack. (and to the thousands more
who had similar mutiliations occur.)
It matters to the people in Baghdad whose water supply is now
fetid, whose electricity is gone, whose streets are unsafe, whose
158 government ministries' buildings and all their records have
been destroyed, whose cultural heritage and social system has
been looted and whose cities teem with anti-American protests.
It matters that the people we say we "liberated" do not feel
liberated in the midst of the lawlessness, destruction and wholesale
social suffering that so-called liberation created.
It matters to the United Nations whose integrity was impugned,
whose authority was denied, whose inspection teams are even now
still being overlooked in the process of technical evaluation and
It matters to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the
world, both now and for decades to come, perhaps.
And surely it matters to the integrity of this nation whether or
not its intelligence gathering agencies have any real intelligence
or not before we launch a military armada on its say-so.
And it should matter whether or not our government is either
incompetent and didn't know what they were doing or were
dishonest and refused to say. The unspoken truth is that either
as a people we were misled, or we were lied to, about the real
reason for this war. Either we made a huge - and unforgivable -
mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we are swaggering
around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions
while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule.
If Bill Clinton's definition of "I had no sex" matters enough to
get an entire committee going after him, surely this matters. If a
president's sex life matters, surely a president's use of global force
against some of the weakest people in the world matters. If a
president's word in a court of law about a private indiscretion
matters, surely a president's word to the community of nations and
the security of millions of people matters.
And if not, why not? If not, surely there is something as wrong with
us as citizens, as thinkers, as Christians as there must be with some
facet of the government. If wars that the public says are wrong
yesterday - as over 70% of U.S. citizens did before the attack on
Iraq - suddenly become "right" the minute the first bombs drop,
what kind of national morality is that?
Of what are we really capable as a nation if the considered judgment
of politicians and people around the world means nothing to us
as a people?
What is the depth of the American soul if we can allow destruction to
be done in our name and the name of "liberation" and never even
demand an accounting of its costs, both personal and public, when it
We like to take comfort in the notion that people make a distinction
between our government and ourselves. We like to say that the
people of the world love Americans, they simply mistrust our
government. But excoriating a distant and anonymous
"government" for wreaking rubble on a nation in pretense of good
requires very little of either character or intelligence.
What may count most, however, is that we may well be the ones
Proverbs warns when it reminds us: "Kings take pleasure in
honest lips; they value the one who speaks the truth." The point is
clear: If the people speak and the king doesn't listen, there is
something wrong with the king. If the king acts precipitously and
the people say nothing, something is wrong with the people.
It may be time for us to realize that in a country that prides itself
on being democratic, we are our government. And the rest of the
world is figuring that out very quickly.
From where I stand, that matters." JC
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