Sunday, March 7, 2010


Today’s Gospel passage [Luke 13:1-9] tells of murders by an occupying government, a disastrous building project in Siloam, and a barren fig tree [symbol of our leaders]. The reaction of Jesus to the provocative, designed to entrap, news stories is stern, focused, and beyond politics—for all of us—repent, change your heart, change your direction.

From Luke: A tower falls killing 18 in Siloam {every day in Bagdad, today 38 on Election Day*}. Iraq is a series of incessant catastrophes. If one reads the NYT, AP stories, and listens to NPR news, every day there will be more violent deaths in Iraq. Who is to blame? Many insurgents, criminals, factions, and U.S. forces, have been involved. We must leave and soon. This election in Iraq had the largest turnout ever, in an apparently credible voting process, despite 100 blasts from bombs and rockets. Iraqis were undeterred. They know that a successful election is a condition for our leaving—and they dearly want us to leave.

What follows is from a series I could title: Unpublished Letters to the WSJ
{There are many, though one did make it in.}

July 8, 2008
Dear Editors of the Wall Street Journal,

A picture is worth a thousand words. The one that accompanies “Why We Went to War in Iraq,” Doug Feith’s 7-03-08 WSJ editorial**, is a classic, a mass grave of Saddam’s Shiite victims in Hillah, a skull still wearing its headscarf. Its vacant stare should be a reminder of the futility of war [was this the remnant of one of those who answered the call of the first President Bush to rise up against Saddam?].

The photo was apparently taken in 2003 {WSJ does not specify} at grave excavation. The massacre at Hillah was of Shiites by Saddam's forces, occuring on 3-6-1991 just weeks after we'd won the Gulf War.

Instead, the photo's apparent intent is to solidify Mr. Feith’s [formerly one of Donald Rumsfield’s DoD war planners] contention that President Bush’s decision to launch the current war in Iraq was a good and necessary thing. Yes, Saddam was ruthless. This picture is indeed a picture of evil. Evil we tolerated until the world’s oil supply became too scarce. Such pictures are meant to invoke the wrath of indignation which will keep the flames of justified war brightly burning. Blood of martyrs and dried bones used to keep the violence coming, this time from our side.

To bring us up to date, this could have been a picture of Saddam hanging, or of any number of the 650,000 [last reputably studied in 2006] now possible 1,000,000 Iraqi civilians killed, or the more than 4500 U.S. soldiers killed, or Palestinian insurgents blasted from a helicopter or an overturned Israeli bus--more senselessly dead in road and marketplace. We have a surplus of villains and victims in the Middle East, and points West. To fit the article's title best, to be most accurate, the picture should have been an oil well in the desert sand. Some day the two collaborators from Texas, the ex-President and the ex-Vice-President, may tell us the rest of the story, detailing their pre-Iraq War deliberations.

Where are the Ezekiel’s when you need them, to put flesh back on, and new life in, all these dried boned casualties? We need more prophetic Ezekiels, and less pompous well paid politicians & newspaper publishers, in the seats of power Middle East and West.

Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy PA-C

Though written at a time nuclear war was at the door, Merton’s Prayer for Peace is just as pertinent now, with our War Without End on Terror courting similar eventual disaster. There follows an excerpt of this prayer read to Congress on April 12, 1962. [Found at the end of the book, Passion for Peace, by Thomas Merton]

lmighty and merciful God…You have witnessed the impious fury of ten thousand fratricidal wars, in which great powers have torn whole continents to shreds in the name of peace and justice.
And now our nation itself stands in imminent danger of a war the like of which has never been seen!
This nation dedicated to freedom, not to power,
Has obtained, through freedom, a power it did not desire.
And seeking by that power to defend its freedom, it is enslaved by the processes and policies of power.



Thank you to Kathy Brahney for illumination.

Locally: This week's Free Film Series
To be held this year at the Palmer Park Recreation Center, 2829 Armour St., from 7:00pm to 9pm

Tuesday Mar. 9th The Reluctant Prophet The story of a Fenton, MI priest who was the chaplain for the Enola Gay flight crew, that dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima. With time and study, prayer and reflection, he came to regret that action, and led the rest of his life traveling and preaching for reconciliation and nonviolence. Vanunu A short BBC documentary on the development of the nuclear bomb in Israel in the 80’s, and the Israeli man who disclosed the truth, and then was put in solitary confinement for more than a decade. Even now released, he continues under virtual house arrest to this day.

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