Monday, October 26, 2015


Members of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and its allies at the entrance of a Syrian government {our enemy} air base in the northern province of Idlib after seizing it.  This day, an Al Qaeda group was acting as our friend {they fight against ISIS too}.  Photo 9-915 NYT

Modern war is a whack-a-mole policy, always creating more enemies in its destruction, killing and displacing millions, only good for those in the business of war.  Our world leaders, strategists, and clergy are beginning to speak more opening on this, deeply criticizing our present course.
Below is something I wrote in the middle of the Iraq War.   May God grant us the wisdom to put away the double-edged sword of war.

October 14, 2077
Dear Editors of the Washington Post,
The article in your Oct 12th paper, “9 Children Killed in U.S. Raid in Iraq,” is further evidence that our “surge” there is a surge in innocent death.  We again were trying to hit al Qaida, but 16 civilians perished with the suspected 15 insurgents. Just so many more bugs on the windshield of 4 ½ years into our Iraq war policy.
                How many innocents have been killed in this war of occupation?  We no longer count the bodies of any of the casualties of war except our own.  The officials in charge of this modern war must feel that would be counter-productive.  How much innocent death is acceptable?  A Dept. of Defense analyst who did targeting for early bombing campaigns in Iraq states in a public radio documentary worth listening to [esp. part 2], that the allowable limit is 30 civilians for 1 bad guy. 

                Even with our precision munitions this war has killed innocents in the hundreds of thousands according to the only scientific studies that have been done to date (by John’s Hopkins University epidemiologists published in the Lancet medical journal, Oct 04, and Nov 06 issues).

                What happens when we as a people accept even one innocent death as inevitable to protect our way of life?  Ask any of our soldiers who’ve had to shoot or run over children with their convoy vehicles in Iraq, as part of their unwritten rules of engagement, to avoid roadside bombs at all costs. Violence always multiplies violence, both physically and spiritually.  Visible and hidden costs are enormous and exponential for both the victorious and the victim.

                The Pope of my Catholic church {the previous Pope Benedict XVI}, when still a cardinal on May 2, 2003, was asked about this Iraq War.  He said, “There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq…” Then commenting further on civilian casualties, “today we should be asking ourselves if it is licit to admit the very existence of a just war.”  (Zenet News Agency)

                To protect the innocents and respect all life, it will be necessary not only to end our Iraq war, but also to be leaders in a worldwide movement to banish all war.
Yours truly,

Michael McCarthy PA-C
Blue Water Pax Christi
2714 Stone St.
Port Huron, MI  48060
810 982 2870

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

October is Respect Life, and Pray the Rosary month
November brings All Saints, All Souls Days


More –

Monday, October 19, 2015


Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony on 13 September 1993.

On the brink of an opening doorway to peace in the Middle East, on Nov. 4, 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a former general and defense minister, was assassinated, by an ultra-conservative Israeli.   He’d been leading his country to sign the Oslo Peace Accords.  The hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu took over then, and the door remains slammed shut ever since.  I wouldn’t have remembered this except “This American Life” public radio program that was on yesterday [very worth the time listening to].   It outlines the thought of the assassins who show no remorse, and are counted as heroes by many Israelis who want no compromise with the Palestinians.  Still, in the recent past the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians favor the peace yet denied them.  While the Israeli government seems bent on a total-security-at-all-retaliatory-costs policy, based on an opportune assassination.

War between the members of these two sides now again escalates, a third Intifada being threatened as there’s no real movement for just solution to the land and power situation.  Knives and guns and army again into the fray.  The violence this times is taking five times more Palestinian lives than Israeli, which is much less than the often greater than ten to one ratio. 
The bodies of Noor Hassan, 30, and Rahaf Hassan, 2, at their funeral. They were killed by an Israeli retaliatory airstrike in Gaza. Credit Wissam Nassar for NYT
Israeli Retaliatory Strike in Gaza Kills Woman and Child, Palestinians Say -- 10-11-15 NYT

Israel is not alone in this protracted war post assassination situation.   JFK and the Unspeakable is an important book to read, as we approach Nov. 22, the date our President Kennedy was killed, just as he was moving to stop our involvement in Vietnam in 1963 [we didn’t leave until 1975].
The United States has consistently backed up those in Israel who want this take-no-prisoners approach to Israeli nation state power expansion.  But violence is never the solution, no matter which side you’re on, or which country/culture you come from—it only perpetuates more violence.

And witness the recent testimony of an Israeli citizen, victim of a mistaken vengeful attack by another Israeli.  Click on to access story & video--Jewish Man Stabbed by Fellow Israeli in Botched Revenge Attack Denounces Ethnic Violence - NYT 10-16-15


An eye for an eye
An ear for an ear
A mouth for a mouth
A toe for a toe
A tooth for a tooth
A finger for a finger
A brain for a brain
A heart for a heart
A bullet for a bullet
A soul for a soul
A Predator rocket and a bulldozer, for a suicide bomber.
The spirit of perpetual vengeant homicide and holocaust
                Thrives on the ongoing body count
Only to be extinguished by courageous acts
                Of forgiveness and reconciliation.

In the West we export the weapons, machines and money that fuel the conflagrations—
                Until the stench of human sacrifice tortures our nostrils
Reaches somehow beyond TV sets
And in the face of worldwide asphyxiation the only hope is
To renounce our addiction to the militarized oil economy
To convert our fear to trust, in being all God’s family.

                                                                                By Michael McCarthy    January 23, 2002

Dan Ephron, the Jewish journalist interviewed in the NPR program above, has written a book on the assassination, reviewed here in the New Yorker Magazine.

Israeli Retaliatory Strike in Gaza Kills Woman and Child, Palestinians Say -- 10-11-15 NYT
"So far this month, four Israelis have been killed in Palestinian gun and knife attacks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and several more have been wounded. Israeli forces have fatally shot at least 20 Palestinians, many of them teenagers, according to data compiled by the Palestinian Health Ministry and Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group. More than 1,000 Palestinians have been reported injured."

Monday, October 12, 2015


Our war policies are plagued by the delusion that war can be fought by proxy, that we can embark on the path of endless warmaking elsewhere on the planet, in “defense of our interests” employing the locals to do the terrible dirty work.
This is the latest installment’s demise.
“But officials said they were trying to adapt in real time by seeking to identify the leaders of “capable, indigenous forces” in Syria who would sign a pledge to fight the Islamic State group, receive some instruction on human rights, review the law of armed conflict, and leave with communications gear and some help on how to call in airstrikes.”

There is some counter–effort to bring us back to the reality.  You can’t buy loyalty.
“With alarming frequency in recent years, thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have collapsed, stalled or defected, calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs, as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.”

We have been repeating these disastrous mistakes year after year after year.
This is what I wrote about our efforts to export and market these pre-emptive wars over a decade ago.

Published in the Port Huron Times Herald, in edited abbreviated form, 11-20-03

We need to realize that the business of war is hell, and that to promote it, is to directly oppose God’s plan of mercy and forgiveness that we are all desperately in need of.

Artwork by        athy Brahney


Monday, October 5, 2015


The Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after explosions in Kunduz.
CreditDoctors Without Borders, via Associated Press

Hospital personnel in Kabul moved an 8-year-old boy, wounded, along with his father, in an American airstrike in Kunduz on Saturday. CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

see Graph from NYT showing target pattern with apparent distance of Taliban from hospital 

These two stories recently superimpose on our newscasts.   They point to the only reliable and most predictable result of our protracted war-on-terror warfighting, and its culture—a collateral damage of death. 
“A crowded hospital in the embattled city of Kunduz that treats war wounded came under attack on Saturday and the American military acknowledged that it may have killed 19 patients, staff members and others at the facility while firing on insurgents nearby.”
 “The airstrike on Saturday set off fires that were still burning hours later, and a nurse who managed to climb out of the debris described seeing colleagues so badly burned that they had died.”
“…Mr. Harper-Mercer [the killer] was deeply involved with firearms and had a small armory during his Snyder Hall rampage: body armor, five handguns, a semiautomatic rifle and several magazines of ammunition. [later reported as owning 14 guns, and also for years, always wore combat boots and green army pants]

A makeshift memorial near the road leading to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.CreditJohn Locher/Associated Press

We have become slaves to our guns.  We debase ourselves in senseless routine violence because of insane desire to protect ourselves at all costs, by any means necessary.  Yet, as in Jesus’ parable of the farmer so pleased with brand new barns for his hoarded grain, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.” Luke 12:13-21

We are all destined to die—why in a hail of bullets of our hyper-secure society’s own making?  And this while many of us believe that we have been promised new life beyond this world’s death, if we only follow Jesus’ way—the way of unconditional mercy and nonviolent love.


Oregon Gunman’s Father Dismayed by Lack of Gun Legislation - The New York Times
Oregon Killer Described as Man of Few Words, Except on Topic of Guns – The New York Times