Gloria Purvis: HHS Mandate is Anti-Woman


Gloria Purvis, a young, black woman – precisely the demographic the Democratic party caters to and claims to be the staunch defenders of – has choice words for the Obama administration and the HHS mandate, which forces all insurance companies to provide contraception to everyone and without copay:

Boom.

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Why I Don’t Like Rick Santorum


In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

 – Thomas Jefferson

First, let me preface by saying that, after Congressman Ron Paul, Rick Santorum is my second choice for President among the candidates in the national spotlight, including Obama. I’d much rather see a President Santorum than I would a President Romney, Gingrich or Obama. Therefore, the object of this article is not to bash Santorum but to explain why he does not reflect the Catholic faith in his candidacy and therefore should not be the go-to candidate for Catholics. Furthermore, while Santorum seems intent on establishing himself as the face of the Catholic church in American politics, proudly wearing his faith on his sleeve, I argue that this would be a gross misrepresentation of Catholicism and what it means to be Catholic.

The primary reason that I don’t like Santorum is that, through his actions, he has made it quite clear that he is a politician first and a Catholic second. As such, he has willingly undermined his own Catholic values and personal ideology for political gain. Contrast this to Ron Paul who, to quote Saturday Night Live, has always “stuck to his weird old guns.” (you can laugh; that’s a joke) Even if you disagree with Ron Paul at least he is uncompromising and consistent in his principles even if such commitment is to his own personal loss. Commitment to one’s fundamental principles even to the detriment of one’s political career should be the gold standard that all politicians must rise to meet. Santorum, however, falls far short:

#1 Santorum has made it abundantly clear that he is against abortion and against contraception – there is no doubting that. However, these constitute his “personal” beliefs which he has undermined on multiple occasions depending on where the political winds have blown. In 2004 Santorum made the decision to endorse the pro-abortion Specter in a Republican primary. Specter won narrowly, defeating his pro-life opponent Pat Toomey, and Santorum’s support of Specter was cited as a key help to the liberal Specter. Specter went on the cast the final, crucial vote necessary to pass Obamacare. News outlets such as the Washington Post speculate that the reason Santorum strayed from his own pro-life values to endorse a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life one were purely for political gain.

Additionally, Santorum voted to pass an unbalanced budget that included millions of dollars in funding for Planned Parenthood, America’s single largest abortion provider. Forcing Americans to subsidize the abortion industry when it remains such a controversial issue that so many categorically oppose as wholly evil not only contradicts Catholic moral teaching but is in direct support of tyranny as, to quote Thomas Jefferson, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” The same can be said for Santorum’s position on federal funding of contraception: here is an audio recording (skip to 9:05) of Santorum stating that, while he is “personally opposed” to contraception he would support, not the legalization of contraception, not the free use of contraception, but the funding with taxpayers’ dollars at the highest level of government of contraception – thus forcing Catholic individuals and Catholic institutions to support an industry they abhor as sinful.

#2 While Santorum claims to support small government based on the principle of Catholic subsidiarity his voting record tells a far different story. Among other things, Santurom voted to double the funding for the Dept. of Education, voted for adding Medicare D to the already highly liable entitlement program, has voted in favor of unbalanced budgets, and voted twice in favor of the PATRIOT Act (I’m not yelling, “patriot” is an acronym). Unfortunately, many Christian voters have chosen to ignore Santorum’s big government policies but what America needs to realize is that our staggering national debt and inflation of federal powers is not merely an economic or constitutional issue – its also a moral one. In addition to its stark violation of Catholic subsidiarity – which dictates that the smallest unit of society possible should deal with a problem – Santorum’s policies are irresponsible and imprudent. According to the U.S. National Debt Clock our nation’s total liability per taxpayer is $1,039,057. That’s right, over one million dollars per individual. Our national debt accrues an annual interest of $11,971 per citizen. That’s how much you’d have to pay every year just to cover our debt’s interest. We’ve accrued this debt and its our responsibility to start paying it off. Today. Otherwise we pass this yoke on to our children, and their children, and on and on. What short-term benefits our out-of-control spending habits may yield to us now is nothing in comparison to the blow to future Americans’ very livelihoods when they must pay off their parents’ reckless use of the “federal credit card”.

#3 Santorum’s most egregious violation of his Catholic principles, however, is his foreign policy. First of all, let me provide a brief overview of Catholic just war doctrine (more information can be found here):

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • there must be serious prospects of success;
  • the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

However, in regards to Iran Santorum stated the following in an interview:

“SANTORUM: I would say to every foreign scientist that’s going to Iran to help them with their program,’You will be treated as an enemy combatant like an Al Qaeda member,’ and finally I would be working openly with the state of Israel and I would be saying to the Iranians; ‘You need to open up those facilities, you begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors or we will bomb those facilities with air strikes and make it very public.’

GREGORY: You would lay out a red line and if they pass it, air strikes?

SANTORUM: Iran would not get a nuclear weapon under my watch.”

Rick Santorum also stated, “On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.” Santorum went so far as to say that we should treat nuclear scientists working for the Iranians like enemy combatants.

To initiate airstrikes against Iran for no other reason than to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon (note that our best intelligence has no evidence that any such program exists) constitutes preemptive war and therefore is in direct contradiction of just war doctrine which states that military action may be pursued only in response to an attack of aggression that would cause lasting, grave and certain harm. Additionally, all other measures to avoid war must be tried and proven ineffective. Merely possessing a nuclear weapon in no way would make Iran an aggressor against us and therefore not only would a military response be immoral but for it be be our first response and not our last is absurd.

Additionally, for Rick Santorum to condone the murder of Iranian scientists as “wonderful” is also in complete contradiction of Catholic doctrine as well as national and international law. The targeting of civilians with car bombs in broad daylight in a busy street constitutes the most blatant of terrorist attacks. Last I checked we were at “war” with terrorism in order to eliminate it, not laud it as “wonderful”.

#4 Finally, Santorum supports waterboarding going so far as to state that those who’ve have experienced torture firsthand and oppose waterboarding, like John McCain, “doesn’t understand” interrogation. However, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.” Furthermore, the exact rubric for defining torture is listed below:

The Church defines torture formally (i.e., what makes an action torture):

1. violation of human dignity in the form of
2. intentional mental and/or physical harm in order to
3. use a human person as a means (or instrument) for some producible end
4. against that person’s will.

At low intensity, waterboarding intentionally inflicts mental harm against the prisoner’s will in order to extract information or as punishment, and at even moderate intensities can be lethal. Thus, waterboarding constitutes torture and is an intrinsic evil in violation of Catholic doctrine. Americans who support “advanced interrogation” techniques need to reevaluate their beliefs and ask themselves who are they really loyal to? Do their Christian morals come first or are they merely an accessory to the neoconservative cause? Waterboarding constitute an intrinsic evil to be categorically opposed – regardless of whether the offender is the American CIA or our enemies abroad;

In brief, while I believe Santorum to be viable candidate for Catholics to consider it is only because the alternatives of Romney or Obama are so much worse. For Santorum to flaunt his “personal” Catholic values and then support policies in direct opposition to his faith constitutes an unprecedented duplicitousness that devalues human life and dignity in favor of winning the popularity contest of politics.

Torture Apologists Outraged by Sensory Deprivation Techniques


Neoconservatives are outraged because freedom fighter Amir Fakhravar was detained and subjected to sensory-deprivation via whiteout techniques, representing despicable use of torture by Iran. Yet, the same political ideology lauds use of re-created drowning by our own CIA as an “advanced interrogation” technique and a necessary tool in fighting terrorism. Some conservative Catholics have taken up this same line of thinking, arguing that because the church does not have a specific stance on a specific torture technique then it cannot be torture, and if it is not torture than it cannot constitute inhumane treatment of prisoners, and therefore if it is not inhumane treatment then it is perfectly compatible with Catholic moral teaching.

However, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.” Furthermore, the exact rubric for defining torture is listed below:

The Church defines torture formally (i.e., what makes an action torture):

1. violation of human dignity in the form of
2. intentional mental and/or physical harm in order to
3. use a human person as a means (or instrument) for some producible end
4. against that person’s will.

At low intensity, waterboarding intentionally inflicts mental harm against the prisoner’s will in order to extract information or as punishment, and at even moderate intensities can be lethal. Thus, waterboarding constitutes torture and is an intrinsic evil in violation of Catholic doctrine. Americans who support “advanced interrogation” techniques need to reevaluate their beliefs and ask themselves who are they really loyal to? Do their Christian morals come first or are they merely an accessory to the neoconservative cause? Both sensory deprivation techniques like “white” torture and waterboarding constitute an intrinsic evil to be categorically opposed – regardless of whether the offender is the American CIA or our enemies abroad; for individuals to condemn one and protect the other constitutes an unprecedented duplicitousness that devalues human life in favor of trivial party loyalties.

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Malcolm W. Nance, a counter-terrorism and terrorism intelligence consultant for the U.S. government’s Special Operations, Homeland Security and Intelligence agencies and a 20-year veteran. If you believe that waterboarding is a viable tool or are undecided then I recommend that you read the full article.

1. Waterboarding is a torture technique. Period. There is no way to gloss over it or sugarcoat it. It has no justification outside of its limited role as a training demonstrator. Our service members have to learn that the will to survive requires them accept and understand that they may be subjected to torture, but that America is better than its enemies and it is one’s duty to trust in your nation and God, endure the hardships and return home with honor.

2. Waterboarding is not a simulation. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

Call it “Chinese Water Torture,” “the Barrel,” or “the Waterfall,” it is all the same. Whether the victim is allowed to comply or not is usually left up to the interrogator. Many waterboard team members, even in training, enjoy the sadistic power of making the victim suffer and often ask questions as an after thought. These people are dangerous and predictable and when left unshackled, unsupervised or undetected they bring us the murderous abuses seen at Abu Ghraieb, Baghram and Guantanamo. No doubt, to avoid human factors like fear and guilt someone has created a one-button version that probably looks like an MRI machine with high intensity waterjets.

3. If you support the use of waterboarding on enemy captives, you support the use of that torture on any future American captives. The Small Wars Council had a spirited discussionabout this earlier in the year, especially when former Marine Generals Krulak and Hoar rejected all arguments for torture.

Torture in captivity simulation training reveals there are ways an enemy can inflict punishment which will render the subject wholly helpless and which will generally overcome his willpower. The torturer will trigger within the subject a survival instinct, in this case the ability to breathe, which makes the victim instantly pliable and ready to comply. It is purely and simply a tool by which to deprive a human being of his ability to resist through physical humiliation. The very concept of an American Torturer is an anathema to our values.

I concur strongly with the opinions of professional interrogators like Colonel Stewart Herrington, and victims of torture like Senator John McCain. If you want consistent, accurate and reliable intelligence, be inquisitive, analytical, patient but most of all professional, amiable and compassionate.

Who will complain about the new world-wide embrace of torture? America has justified it legally at the highest levels of government. Even worse, the administration has selectively leaked supposed successes of the water board such as the alleged Khalid Sheik Mohammed confessions. However, in the same breath the CIA sources for the Washington Post noted that in Mohammed’s case they got information but “not all of it reliable.” Of course, when you waterboard you get all the magic answers you want -because remember, the subject will talk. They all talk! Anyone strapped down will say anything, absolutely anything to get the torture to stop. Torture. Does. Not. Work.

According to the President, this is not a torture, so future torturers in other countries now have an American legal basis to perform the acts. Every hostile intelligence agency and terrorist in the world will consider it a viable tool, which can be used with impunity. It has been turned into perfectly acceptable behavior for information finding.

A torture victim can be made to say anything by an evil nation that does not abide by humanity, morality, treaties or rule of law. Today we are on the verge of becoming that nation. Is it possible that September 11 hurt us so much that we have decided to gladly adopt the tools of KGB, the Khmer Rouge, the Nazi Gestapo, the North Vietnamese, the North Koreans and the Burmese Junta?

What next if the waterboarding on a critical the captive doesn’t work and you have a timetable to stop the “ticking bomb” scenario? Electric shock to the genitals? Taking a pregnant woman and electrocuting the fetus inside her? Executing a captive’s children in front of him? Dropping live people from an airplane over the ocean? It has all been done by governments seeking information. All claimed the same need to stop the ticking bomb. It is not a far leap from torture to murder, especially if the subject is defiant. Are we —to trade our nation’s soul for tactical intelligence?

I’ll end with a quote from the Second Vatican Council, in discussing the respect due to the human person:

“Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator

Subsidiarity in Politics


Tom Woods endorses Ron Paul in the video below. Additionally, this is an excellent video on how Catholics can approach American politics without compromising their Catholic principles. I don’t think enough Catholics understand, or have even heard of, the Catholic concept of subsidiarity; I didn’t even know what it was prior to this video.

Origin according to Wikipedia: The word subsidiarity is derived from the Latin word subsidiarius and was first described formally in Catholic social teaching .[1] The concept or principle is found in several constitutions around the world (for example, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which asserts States rights and further, the rights of the people).

The Cost of Unjust War


“Move beyond the prophesying of a smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Today I would like to take the time to approach the issue of US foreign policy from a different perspective and that is by focusing on the actual, gritty real-world effects that our wars have – both on the civilians of the countries we invade or threaten and on our own servicemen and women.

If you want a background as to my perspective in order to better grasp what I have to say below and where I am coming from then you can read my views on the war on terror at large here and on the targeting of civilians here. Also, let me preface the following by stating, so that there is no confusion, that I do not trust Iran or any other country unfriendly towards the United States and in no way view them as the “good guys”. Furthermore, in no way do I support isolationist policies; if America’s national security is under imminent threat and no other method can be reasonably employed than I believe that military intervention against the offending party is licit as long as Catholic just war doctrine is not violated. A brief overview of Catholic just war doctrine is given below as a reference; more information can be found here:

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • there must be serious prospects of success;
  • the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

Now, with that said, I believe that our current foreign policy under Obama and in continuation of the Bush legacy, does violate just war doctrine as evidenced in part by the unnecessary and disproportional hardship faced by millions of people around the world as a direct result of our unjust actions, only a few of which are outlined below.

First, let me address the issue of depleted uranium: It is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. Depleted uranium is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density – twice that of lead – makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, the Gaza strip, Afghanistan and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. Specifically, birth defects and cancer rates have skyrocketed among the civilian population in these regions following conflicts involving DU and many researchers now believe that there is a direct link between DU used by the US military and cancer and birth defects to the point that many now want to define DU as an indiscriminate weapon – specifically banned by Catholic just war doctrine. However, any conclusive evidence on the effects of DU is lacking due to refusal by the US to cooperate with researchers. Without the exact information of when, where and in what quantity our military has used DU its adverse health effects can only be guessed at. However, with literally tons upon tons of the radioactive waste littering past conflict zones it would be irrational not to suspect a cause and effect between DU and the sudden escalation in birth defects and cancer rates. More information on depleted uranium is available here (Warning: disturbing images). The below two quotes are taken from the above link on DU. Concerning birth defects in Iraq:

In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital, Iraq, had 170 new born babies, 24% of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75% of the dead babies were classified as deformed.

This can be compared with data from the month of August in 2002 where there were 530 new born babies of whom six were dead within the first seven days and only one birth defect was reported.

Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects but what is more alarming is:   “a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage.”

Suspected effects of DU on our own personnel:

Terry Jemison of the Department of Veterans Affairs reported this week to the American Free Press that “Gulf-era veterans” now on medical disability since 1991 number 518,739, with only 7,035 reported wounded in Iraq in that same 14-year period.

Soldiers developing malignancies so quickly since 2003 can be expected to develop multiple cancers from independent causes.

This phenomenon has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the U.S. military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991.

Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.

Just 467 U.S. personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991.

Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability.

This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served now have medical problems.

The number of disabled vets reported up to 2000 has been increasing by 43,000 every year.

Brad Flohr of the Department of Veterans Affairs told American Free Press that he believes there are more disabled vets now than even after World War II.

click for enlarged version

Our military has been using depleted uranium for over twenty years now and yet we still have no way of knowing definitively if a link exists between DU and the staggering increases in deformities and malignancies listed above because not only have we refused to fund research in order to determine the moral licitness of our tactics, but our military also categorically refuses to share any information of DU use with researchers – necessary information if the truth is ever to be established on the effects of DU. In the meantime, if we really cared about following just war doctrine we would cease the use of DU under suspicion of indiscriminate effect on civilians; yet, we continue to use DU unreservedly because, apparently, DU’s usefulness as a bunker buster and anti-armor is more important to our military than the lives of civilians or even our own troops.

Next, I’d like to address the Iraq war, specifically. Blessed John Paul II condemned the Iraq war as a violation of Catholic just war doctrine, stating:

War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity… War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations… War cannot be decided upon except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations (Address to Diplomatic Corps,  Jan. 13, 2003).

However, we went to war anyway under the pretext of national defense based on “intelligence” that stated Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. Our “evidence” however consisted of a single eyewitness report and thus was faulty at best. Furthermore, U.N. weapons inspectors presented evidence they said disproved those claims. Despite, the tenuous grounds of our allegations against Hussein we continued with our plan to bomb and invade Iraq. According to CNN, “Subsequent U.S. investigations into the intelligence failure around the claims found that German intelligence considered the defector “crazy” and “out of control,” while friends said he was a “liar.” And, it turned out, the CIA not only never spoke with him, it never even saw transcripts of the German interviews, only the Germans’ analysis of the interviews.” The cost of this unnecessary and unjust war are staggering. Opinion Business Research, estimated that the death toll of Iraqi citizens between March 2003 and August 2007 was 1,033,000. Furthermore, over 4 million people were displaced in one of the largest refugee crises in history and over 140,000 new cancer cases have been reported (depleted uranium being the suspected cause). Finally, the Iraq war has resulted in 4,484 American military casualties and 33,186 wounded. Additionally, the economic hardships and continued adverse health effects inflicted upon the Iraqi populace can be expected to continue for decades to come. So, what did the Iraq war accomplish in light of all this? Well, considering that our national security was never actually in jeopardy and that we killed more Iraqis than Hussein’s despotic regime ever did its hard to argue that we accomplished anything at all.

But the Iraq war is now essentially in our past. It is a cautionary tale, however, that we must heed in the future to avoid similar calamity – the soul of America is in jeopardy in light of such evil, another atrocity like Iraq and we may lose it forever. With US-Iran relations heating up another war seems probable, but we must approach Iran with a prudence that our foreign policy has lacked up to this point. With the publication of the November IAEA report, which claims evidence illustrating the existence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, we must be cautious of the same kind of faulty evidence that lead us into the Iraq war nearly a decade ago. It is paramount that we return to Catholic just war doctrine as the guiding principles underlying our foreign policy.

In addition to the US insistence that Iran not pursue a nuclear weapon, many US leaders are vehemently opposed to Iran’s entire nuclear program, some going so far as to threaten preemptive missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear reactors for fear that Iran’s nuclear power program is a facade and actually the groundwork for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, leaders like Rick Santorum and Barack Obama have refused to take preemptive nuclear strikes off of the table. However, while it is true that the nuclear power capabilities of Iran do bring them one step closer to achieving nuclear weapons than they would otherwise be, using this as justification for preemptive war is wrong for a plurality of reasons. First, Iran’s nuclear program according to experts in the field poses no imminent threat making any military action by the US unjust under Catholic doctrine. Secondly, Iran has met its obligations under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has a right to peaceful use of nuclear energy under the treaty. Third, Iran’s need for nuclear power generation is real. Even when Iran ‘s population was one-third of what it is today, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, negotiating on behalf of President Gerald Ford, persuaded the former Shah that Iran needed over twenty nuclear reactors. With Iran ‘s population of 74 million and its oil resources fast depleting, Iran may be a net importer of oil in less than a decade from now. Nuclear energy is thus a realistic and viable solution for electricity generation in the country. To demand that Iran shut down their nuclear reactors thus forcing its 74 million inhabitants to rely on nonrenewable and fast-depleting oil for their livelihood is draconian. Worse, preemptive nuclear strikes against Iran’s nuclear reactors would result in an estimated 3 million civilian deaths and compromise the well-being of another 71 million people.

In terms of sheer numbers, the United States is perhaps the greatest violator of human rights on the world stage. We need to completely throw out our current, militaristic foreign policy and establish a military strategy based in Catholic just war doctrine. By doing so we can preserve the lives of millions and perhaps even begin healing the deep wounds between the West and Middle East. Its a long and hard road ahead of us, but to quote one source at the Vatican, “The vase had been broken, and we have to try to find a way to mend it.”

The GOP Debate: as Disappointing as Ever


The GOP primary debate is currently on live in South Carolina and I’ve finally reached the breaking point where I just can’t watch anymore. If anyone says anything else interesting I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about it. In the meantime there were two statements made that I found particularly enlightening and would like to address.

The first statement was made by Romney as he announced his support for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial under suspicion of terrorist activity thus allowing the executive branch to completely bypass our judicial system. Up to this point Romney has not held a position on the bill as far as I am aware (At the time of the Iowa caucuses he stated that he was “unaware” of the bill and promised caucus goers that he would read it at a later date). I personally find it very disturbing that our legislators and many of the GOP candidates vying for the presidency have apparently lost all faith in our judicial system during the course of their war on terror and are now eager to completely excise it from our justice system at the expense of the constitutional rights of all American citizens.

The second statement was made by Rick Perry regarding the marines who urinated on the corpses of Afghani soldiers. In response to the marines the Secretary of Defense and the Obama administration condemned the actions as “utterly despicable”. Perry, however, while he thinks that these soldiers should be punished by the military, believes that this reaction from the President is too strong and that the marines should not be prosecuted for any crime. Furthermore, he relayed this incident in order to provide an “example” of Obama’s “disdain” for our military. Let me repeat that: Rick Perry thinks that condemning the marines who urinated on foreign soldiers corpses within their own land as “utterly despicable” equates to disdain by Obama for our entire armed forces, dishonoring them and all their sacrifice. However, what Rick Perry seems incapable of understanding is that the president’s words were entirely accurate: desecration of dead bodies illustrates a grave disrespect for the sanctity of human life and the immutable truth that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God our creator. President Obama’s choice of words were completely appropriate in respect to this violation and in no way was a reflection of his views on the military at large. That Rick Perry is willing to compromise recognition of the infinite value innate to human life for blind allegiance to our military bodes ill for the protection of human rights.

This is why I don’t like watching these debates. It doesn’t seem like much to ask for public servants who will simply uphold our constitutional rights and respect and abide by Catholic moral teaching yet apparently even that is more than our politicians can handle. I urge my readers that, in order to send a message to our politicians, you simply support a candidate compatible with Catholic moral teaching no matter how “unelectable” they may be, a candidate who doesn’t support abortion, unjust war, assassinations, torture, preemptive military strikes, foreign aid to dictators, covert operations against countries without declaration of war, redefinition of marriage, or increases in government power at the expense of our constitutional rights to name a few. Its more difficult than it sounds as such candidates appear to be rare this presidential race. The only major candidate on either side of the aisle who comes close in my opinion is Ron Paul, but don’t take my word for it; find out for yourself.