War against Terrorism
Ten Questions on the War
Atila Sinke Guimarães
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Visitors to the TIA website have been asking many questions regarding its position on the present day war against Iraq. They were directed to A.S. Guimarães, who sorted through them and is responding to the most important.
Weapons of mass destruction
1. Question: In your book War, Just War supporting the war in Iraq, you sustain that weapons of mass destruction would be found. Do you still imagine that there are such weapons in that country?
Answer: In that book I proposed a political hypothesis, a calculation of probability to explain the situation. It can be summarized in these words: Since Bush and Blair are veteran politicians, they would not run the risk of presenting such an important fact – the existence of weapons of mass destruction – as one of the reasons for the war with Iraq unless they were certain that such weapons existed. If, on the contrary, they would have lied, eventually the fabrication would be discovered and they would suffer a thunderous political crash. In effect, supporting such a lie would be the equivalent of political suicide.
Would Bush and Colin Powell risk their political careers with a sure-to-be-discovered fabrication?
30 Giorni, September 2001
It is my opinion that they would not run such a risk. It seems to me quite improbable that at the height of their careers, Bush and Blair, along with their various staffs and advisors, including respected men like General Collin Powell, would blatantly tell such a childish and elementary lie. So, I am working with the probability that the weapons exist.
2. Question: Do you exclude the possibility that the existence of WMD would be neither a lie nor a fact, but just a mistake caused by misinformation or exaggerated data given to President Bush and Prime Minister Blair?
Answer: Theoretically we cannot exclude that possibility. But it doesn’t seem probable. We are dealing with the most important and efficient information services in the world, which are the FBI, CIA and Scotland Yard. To be precise you can add the military secret services – Army, Navy and Air Force – of both countries, which certainly had a hand in drawing the conclusions. To imagine that the ensemble of these services would have failed to find a simple thing like weapons in a country and the laboratories and factories to make them would reveal an almost complete incompetence. It is not a probable hypothesis.
If you take this supposed error in information one step further and analyze how it passed muster in the political sphere, you would have to imagine that the high-level staffs of the American President and British Prime Minister also miscalculated the political consequences of those data. An important decision such as to go to war normally passes through many different political “check points” before it is announced to the public. In this case the ensemble of the political staffs that assist both Bush and Blair would have gone wrong. Therefore, we would be facing the possibility that both the American and English governments also would be incompetent and irresponsible. You have to agree that again it is not at all probable.
Therefore, the supposed political fiasco of both American and English governments regarding the WMD seems much more a rumor being spread by pacifist circles and the media than a reality.
3. Question: Why haven’t they appeared yet then? Could you explain why the U.S. and the British governments continue to act as if they exist, even though they have not materialized after five months?
Answer: Many explanations can be brought on stage as hypothesis. Let me point out two more probable ones, in my opinion. I will give examples only with Bush and the United States, since the political situation of Blair in England is a little more complex.
First, until his latest speech September 23 at the United Nations, Bush was receiving comfortable ratings in the polls for his warfare actions. For a politician this is what counts. Therefore, he didn’t need to reinforce a situation that was under control. This could explain his delay in showing concrete evidences of WMD. He would be reserving such proofs for a situation when he would need to bolster his public support, such as a new war against Iran or Syria, or nearer the time of the next presidential election.
The winds of the war almost destroyed the already feeble United Nations.
The Tablet, March 29, 2003
Second, by going to war the US government demoralized the United Nations, whose Security Council threatened to veto its decision. When the war started, the prestige of the UN had dropped to a very low level, and its actual existence was jeopardized. The pacifist forces around the world received a strong slap in the face with the US initiative. You probably recall the Vatican hysteria, for example, in condemning war and supporting the UN before the military campaign was in motion. After the war was launched and the rapid success of US forces, the Vatican lost face, along with most of the other pacifist groups. In short, a great damage was done to the UN and to pacifism.
If Bush would have shown evidence of WMD shortly after the taking over of Iraq, this would have put the UN in an even worse position. It would have clearly revealed the incompetence of the UN team of inspectors, which found no evidence of WMD in Iraq after many months of search. Therefore, had the American and British forces revealed such weapons so early after the victory, this could have caused an irremediable harm to the UN, perhaps its death.
Does Bush want to make such a deep wound? The picture is still cloudy. To delay revealing evidence of WMD favors the UN, but hurts Bush’s career. To show them damages the UN, but favors the political fortune of Bush. This is the political dilemma we are still facing today.
4. Question: Do you think that the revelation of weapons of mass destruction will be postponed indefinitely?
Answer: No, I do not. I think that if WMD exist, they will be revealed soon. This is because Bush’s approval ratings in the polls are dropping, and Blair is experiencing serious difficulties caused by the lack of evidence regarding WMD. Therefore, Bush and Blair may be obliged to show the evidence they have on WMD, not to earn a high political profit, as I mentioned above, but just to avoid a serious loss that could mean their political failure.
Saddam Hussein and September 11
5. Question: If no evidence that Saddam Hussein was linked with the attacks of September 11 is brought to the scene, do you think the war in Iraq would be unjust?
Answer: I think that the war in Iraq continues to be perfectly legitimate. Let me put words to my thinking. The attacks of September 11 were carried out by members of terrorist groups, the principal one being Al-Qaeda.
The September 11 attacks represented the most violent outrage to U.S. honor in its history. The direct and indirect supporters of terrorism should be punished.
Actualite des Religions, November 2001
Last June representatives of the Al-Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups publicly assumed the responsibility for a terrorist attack - Actualite des Religions, June 2003
As far as I know, until now no decisive link between the hijackers and Al-Qaeda has been found to establish that this organization indisputably and exclusively directed the attacks. So, the blame has to be placed not only on one organization, but on the ensemble of Islamic terrorist groups. If this is true, the countries that either supported those groups or rejoiced with the terrorist attacks of September 11 should be considered accomplices of that crime.
Even if these countries did not collaborate directly in striking the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, they could have done so, because they support the same terrorist cause and support their goals against Western Civilization. They constitute a potential danger for the United States. Therefore, they should be chastised by reason of their direct complicity with other terrorist groups, and their indirect complicity with September 11.
One can apply here the principles of Natural Law that justify either punitive or preventive war regarding accomplice nations of an aggressive act, and potential danger to countries. This kind of argument, as you see, does not demand primary and direct evidence that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the attacks of New York and Washington DC in order for him to be punished.
Why the war against Iraq?
6. Question: Why was the war waged against Iraq, and not Syria or Iran? It seems an arbitrary choice that no one understands.
Answer: According to Justice and Morals, the three mentioned countries deserved military intervention. To choose Iraq to strike could have been simply a strategic decision. By hitting the middle and slicing the area in two, the allies divided the supportive terrorist forces and weakened them. This is what was done. It was an intelligent choice. They cut the bread in the middle to make their sandwich. It is easier now to go against Syria or Iran.
7. Question: Why wasn’t such an explanation publicly given?
Answer: Because you don’t reveal strategic military plans to the press. The American President was legitimately elected, and on October 11, 2002 he received the official approval of the Congress to wage war. Therefore, in a matter like this of strategy, he has the necessary public mandate to do what he considers the best for his country without issuing public reports. Military secrecy is not usually revealed or you would be feeding information to the enemies and harming the American forces.
Does this war favor the Jews?
8. Question: Do you think that this war was made to favor the Jews?
Answer: This depends on what you mean by favoring the Jews.
Would pacification of the area be an advantage for the Jews? Bush and Blair declared that their actions against terrorism would include the pacification of the Middle East, and ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. But this does not necessarily mean that a pro-Jewish treatise will be signed between Jews and Palestinians. I don’t think that the Palestinians will sign any accord where they would have to be subordinate to the Jews. So, it is my opinion that a possible pacification of the area should not necessarily be understood as a victory of the Jews.
As for a broader American and British support for Israel and the Jewish religion, as suggested by some conservatives, this still has not materialized. According to this conservative wing, the war would be a mere pretext for the US to help the Jews establish their government over the whole Holy Land, and then extend it to other countries like Syria, Jordan, and part of Saudi Arabia in order to restore the historical Israel conquered by David and governed peacefully under Solomon.
Sheik Ahmed Yassin, spiritual advisor of the Hamas and an inspirer of the suicide attacks for young Muslims.
Actualite des Religions, October 2002
Such a plan, which in short is the plan of international Zionism, has nonetheless still not appeared on the American and British agenda of this war. I think it is wise to be suspicious of Zionism, and watch vigilantly to see if it will try to slide in and impose itself in the political and ideological consequences of the war. But it reveals a lack of seriousness to assume that everything up to now has been done to further Zionism when no evidence has been shown.
Until now, what has been evident is the tremendous growth of a radical Islamic terrorism throughout the world and its open goal of pursuing violence and terrorist tactics against the West. This is the declared reason for the war. To ignore this concrete Islamic threat because of an alleged fear of favoring Israel seems not only shortsighted, but imprudent. It actually favors terrorism.
It is noteworthy how many of the same persons who are furious because of the lack of WMD nonetheless sustain that the war was made to favor Zionism without presenting any concrete evidence for their opinion. They do not see the contradiction of their position. Also they seem to ignore that their unproved assumptions and their unbalanced anti-Semitism coincide with the aspirations of a Nazism that is being revived not only in Europe but also in the US.
9. Question: Since you don’t exclude the possibility that the war could favor Zionism, how do you think this could happen? How could Israel enter the picture and gain the upper hand?
Answer: To enter this terrain, we have to go further than probable hypotheses, which is what I have been making until now. We have to enter into mere speculation.
But, to answer your question, let me raise just one possibility that could make a spectacular entrance of Israel onto the stage. Its very efficient secret service – the Mossad – could discover that Saddam Hussein had transferred to Syria the weapons he had in Iraq. Based on these findings, Israel could make a blitzkrieg – a lighting military campaign – against Syria, take over the place where the weapons are concealed, and reveal them to the world. It would prove that the weapons existed in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was guilty, the allies were right, the war justified, and Israel would emerge a hero. This would be one way to bring the Jews to the scene, justify their participation in a future war against Syria, and allow them to share part of its territory after the victory. But, as I told you, this is nothing but political speculation.
The real roots of terrorism
10. Question: Do you think that the war is the way to resolve the problem of Islamic terrorism? Or is there something else that should be done?
Answer: I think that the war is a normal and good way to punish the offense that Islamic terrorism made against the United States, the American establishment, and the American people. It was the only way accessible to the American government. But it doesn’t resolve the problem. The political solution of removing the regimes that support terrorism, while necessary, is nonetheless insufficient to put an end to terrorism as a religious phenomenon.
While John Paul II amiably shakes hands with Iranian president Allatoyah Khatami in the Vatican, the terrorist groups, below, in Iran multiply under the protection of the regime - Inside the Vatican, April 1999
Actualite des Religions, November 2001
The war that was configured by the attacks of September 11 is a religious war. There is no doubt about that. The Muslims boldly declared this everywhere. They aim to conquer the West for their religion, and finish with the remains of Christianity and Christendom that exist here. This is the substance of the Jihad, the holy war that they declared against us. At depth terrorism is a logical consequence of Islamism, and not only a fruit of some extremist groups.
This is a reality the American administration cannot face, since it is an exclusively lay power. I understand the embarrassment of the government. It cannot do anything in the religious sphere. But unless something changes and West acknowledges the religious perspective of the terrorism it is facing, it is closing one eye to the most important aspect of the reality. This is the problem, shortly put.
You asked me about a solution. In principle, what is needed is a religious reaction proportionate to the danger. Who today has moral authority in the West to preach a new crusade against Islam? The Pope, who still has such authority, will never undertake such an initiative. His initiatives include kissing the Koran and promoting inter-confessional events among Catholics and Muslims under the false presupposition that God is pleased with Islam. In reality he is stimulating the radical groups to continue terrorist activities. As far as I know, no one else has the stature to call for a religious reaction against Mahomet.
So, there is no immediate solution. What we can do is face the reality, pray to Our Lord and Our Lady to help us, and do whatever we can to combat Islamic terrorism in the civil sphere.
Posted October 7, 2003
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