You Decide: Has America Taken The Right Course Or Does It Risk Future 'Tragedy'?
Where is our nation headed? This is of course a very relevant point at this time and it starts with war.
What are we to think of Iraq?
It was Pope John Paul II who, in urging that the U.S. stay away from Iraq, said that "war is always a defeat for humanity," going so far as to send an envoy to plead with President Bush personally.
At the same time, a famous Catholic mystic associated with a Church-sanctioned site of apparitions, Maria Esperanza, of Caracas, Venezuela, repeatedly warned (even before September 11) that two foreign powers -- one small, one larger -- would try to provoke the U.S. into a war, and after 9/11, she too urged the U.S. not to start a full-scale conflict, in either Afghanistan or Iraq. The thinking was that it would be better to surgically search for terrorists than to start a military campaign that would hurt civilians and alienate yet more of the Muslim world. It was Esperanza's view that doing such would toss away all the goodwill the world had for America in the wake of September 11 and that a war in Iraq, specifically, but even in Afghanistan, would end in "tragedy."
She said that repeatedly and so we ask ourselves if she was right, if it has been tragic, or if there is tragedy in the future as a result. Already, 2,623 Americans have died in Iraq -- close to the toll of nearly 3,000 on September 11 -- and in addition to thousands if Iraqi soldiers, more than 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed (some estimates go as high as 100,000). In objectivity, and without getting into politics, nor taking sides, such is certainly a tragedy: more than ten times the toll at the World Trade Center (where we lost one of our closest friends).
In a nation the size of Iraq, which has a population of 22 million, the extrapolation means that a comparable civilian disaster in the U.S., where 300 million live, would involve 540,000 civilian dead. The toll of non-military dead in Iraq in the past several years is thus 180 times the size of September 11. According to Fox News, another 52 died in violence there today.
While we have supported President Bush twice for president (due to his pro-life stance), we were concerned from the outset about the strategy of all-out invasion in Afghanistan, the reasons for going into Iraq, and always it revolved around concern for civilians. Pro-life is pro-life, the popes tell us (including Benedict). This also includes capital punishment. In early August, Carmelites meeting at Fatima from around the world issued a strong condemnation of all war.
For his part, President Bush, who struggles as we all do with discernment, sees it under the guidelines of a "just war" and said yesterday that history would vindicate his decision. “If we lose our nerve and leave the Middle East before the job is finished, the world will be much worse off,” the president, who deserves respect as an elected leader, and who has made excellent pro-life appointments to the Supreme Court, said yesterday. Our position remains what it has been always: that the Vatican has the highest discernment on this issue.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see what will play out now in our beloved homeland of America itself. As high in concern are the issues of human embryonic stem cells and the "morning-after" birth control pill, which can cause what is tantamount to abortion and in the end kill more than have died in military conflicts. Nothing is more serious than meddling with the texture of life, in the way of DNA, or anything else. This trumps even war, and we urge Washington to rethink its support for that nefarious pill. While the president was right -- and courageous -- in vetoing federal funds for human embryonic stem cells, we are perplexed by his support for the morning-after pill.
We also warn about a modified view on new methods of embryonic stem cell extraction.
The U.S. has plenty of labs doing private work with embryonic stem cells, and has become the place to go for those around the world who want "designer" babies (choosing gender, for example, and hair color). This is something that should be railed against constantly from the bully pulpit and is more important than geopolitics.
What is the future of America? If a "tragedy" lurks, are we talking about natural events -- which have been targeting us so pointedly -- or economic melt down, or all of the above?
Heed all those indications of a breakdown in infrastructure (especially as has to do with energy).
Years ago, a former university professor and ardent atheist named Dr. Howard Storm (no, we did not contrive his last name) claimed that during a near-death experience (which converted him back to Christianity, and even belief in purgatory) he was told by angels that the U.S. would be broken down during this century and the next in the way of its infrastructure.
'I asked how [purification] would come about, and they said it would be simple, that our society is very dependent on a lot of very fragile things -- energy grid, transportation," Storm said several years ago. "In each geographical area of the United States people used to be relatively self-sufficient as far as agricultural products. Now, how long would any state survive without the transport of food and energy?
"What would happen is these very complex and delicate grids of our economic system would begin to break down. We've created a society of such cruel and self-centered people that the very nature of civilization would begin to break down. The angels showed me that what would happen is that people would begin robbing the grocery stores, hording goods, and killing one another for gasoline and tires, and as a consequence everything would break down and would end up in chaos."
The U.S., he indicated, would become a Third World country.
Can we put any credence in that?
The news tells us that during hurricanes there is a shockingly quick breakdown in infrastructure and the character of the U.S. is radically altering -- in a way that some see as bad, some as good.
Take immigration. In the view of arch-conservative (and traditionalist Catholic) Patrick Buchanan, the U.S. will be a totally different nation by 2050, with 100 million Mexicans in the Southwest, many of whom hanker, he claims, to re-conquer that part of the U.S. (the radicals call it "reconquista").
"As Rome passed away, so, the West is passing away, from the same causes and in much the same way. What the Danube and Rhine were to Rome, the Rio Grande and Mediterranean are to America and Europe, the frontiers of a civilization no longer defended," writes this Catholic, who repeatedly uses the term "third world."
His complaint? One in every twelve people illegally entering America has a criminal record. Every month, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehends more illegal aliens breaking into our country, 150,000, than the number of troops we have in Iraq.
"These numbers are astronomical by any historical standard, and the mindset of many newcomers is not that of the Ellis Island generation," argues Buchanan. "On May 1, almost a million Hispanics marched under Mexican flags through Los Angeles to demand the rights of U.S. citizenship for all illegals. Aerial shots revealed huge signs reading, 'This is Our Land' and 'Chicano Power.' In Mexico City, PAN party members marched beside communists and Subcommandante Marcos in solidarity with their kinsmen in America. 'With all due respect to Uncle Sam,' declaimed one Mexican TV reporter, 'this shows that Los Angeles has never stopped being ours.'"
And so this is the concern of Patrick Buchanan. No doubt, one has to begin worrying if the future will bring civil strife. Such will certainly occur if God withdraws His blessing.
If not, if we go the course He wants, if we more closely evaluate ourselves, and rid our pride, and if we admit mistakes (such as the rampant materialism), perhaps matters will work to the benefit of a still-great nation and the Mexicans, so many of whom are so good, so many humble, will prove to be a salvation as they enter a largely Protestant nation with images of the Guadalupe Virgin.
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