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Pope Benedict XVI, “God’s Rottweiler,” to Step Down

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His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, had gathered in a consistory (an assembly of cardinals convoked by the pope) including members of the Papal Household, and the College of Cardinals, for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto. He chose that occasion, according to ANSA Italian News, to announce in Latin a decision that left the assembled churchmen in “deepest silence and confusion.” Pope Benedict declared that he was retiring from the ministry of Bishop of Rome (his position as pope) for the reason of “ingravescentem aetatem” (advanced age); he said that his “strength of mind and body were no longer adequate to continue.”

Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a news conference later that his holiness “took a little surprise.” the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo, called the resignation a “bolt from the blue.”

Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, known by many as “God’s Rottweiler”, with his election in April, 2005, was one of the oldest new popes in history. Last year the pope began using a cane, and recently he appeared to have difficulty reading the texts of addresses. Now 85, Benedict became the pontiff following the death of John Paul II. Benedict XVI will leave on February 28; the Vatican says Pope Benedict’s resignation means the papacy will be vacant until a successor is chosen.

The New York Times on April 26, 2005, Pope Benedict’s first day as pope, wrote that Benedict XVI reached out to Muslims, saying he was grateful for their presence at his investiture ceremony. The new pope, they wrote, hoped for growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

The Jamaica Gleaner on April 21, 2005 declared that Benedict, the 265th pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church had become the first German Pope since the 11th century. They wrote that Benedict may be construed an “interim pope”. “In fact, he may have been seen by the 115 Cardinals who elected him as an ‘interim’ Pope, one who can provide a necessary interlude of stasis after the dynamic and charismatic reign of his predecessor.”

The Huffington Post on April 16, 2010, wrote:

Benedict, elected as an “interim pope” by cardinals seeking a breather after nearly three decades of the charismatic John Paul II, is now marking five years as a successor to St. Peter. But the anniversary of his election on April 19, 2005 is clouded by a worldwide sex abuse scandal that touches Benedict himself, follows earlier controversies involving ties with Islam, and is causing the gravest crisis to hit the church in recent times.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, was born at Marktl am Inn, Germany, on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927, and was baptized on that same day. He grew up near Salzburg, near the Austrian border, in an environment he calls “Mozartian.” He grew up in a difficult period when the Nazi regime pursued a hostile attitude toward the Catholic Church. It is said that the young Joseph saw how some Nazis beat the parish priest before the celebration of Mass. During the closing months of WWII, he was enrolled in the anti-aircraft corps. From 1946 to 1951 he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951. He gained his Doctorate in Theology, and qualified for University teaching, with theses on the Doctrine of St Augustine, and the Theology of History in St. Bonaventure, respectively. On March 25, 1977, Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich and Friezing.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, chose as his episcopal motto: “Cooperators of the truth.”

On the one hand I saw it as the relation between my previous task as professor and my new mission. In spite of different approaches, what was involved, and continued to be so, was following the truth and being at its service. On the other hand I chose that motto because in today’s world the theme of truth is omitted almost entirely, as something too great for man, and yet everything collapses if truth is missing.

As President of the “Preparatory Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” he presented in 1992 six years of work by that commission, a new Catechism (a full statement of beliefs) to be utilized by all Catholics worldwide.

Ratzinger published many papers, including his “Introduction to Christianity,” a compilation of University lectures on the Apostolic Creed, and “Dogma and Preaching,” an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to pastoral arguments.

In The Huffington Post article mentioned earlier credited to Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield had harsh criticism for the Catholic pope. On March 16, 2010 the article “Pope Benedict XVI: Five Years In, Not The ‘Breather’ The Vatican Hoped For,” made reference to worldwide sex scandals and controversies involving ties with Islam causing “The gravest crisis to hit the church in recent times.” “Since a 2006 speech in which Benedict angered Muslims by appearing to suggest the prophet Muhammad spread a message of violence, the papacy has been marked by missteps, mismanagement and media disasters.”

Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, cited communications problems in response to criticism. “Let’s be clear. Everyone has communications problems. One could do better.” Vian stressed that the pope still enjoys the full support of his collaborators and has been undeterred by the sex abuse maelstrom. “They say the pope is alone, that the Vatican is a nest of snakes,” Vian said. “It’s obvious that in such a big world there are different sensibilities. But with all tranquility and serenity, the Curia is with the pope. There are no unfaithful servants.”

Benedict XVI often was repentant regarding the victims of pedophile priests. In 2008 he visited the United States where he apologized for the sex abuse scandal there and met with victims.

We turn a page in the ongoing history of the world, and of the Catholic Church. As this pontiff steps down, we wonder what will happen in Vatican City. Catholics will watch for white smoke, as the College of Cardinals burns ballots while choosing a new successor to the apostle Peter, the first pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Igor

    Benedict may simply have found himself too old and feeble to deal with the extensive corruption and rot within the church. The best he could do now would be to abandon the old pretext that the church must be saved in spite of it’s sins.

    Besides the horrible and ongoing crimes of child exploitation and coverup, it’s past time to deal with the churches heavy Nazi involvement, sordid Nazi history, and ongoing political crimes. The catholic church is the center of Naziism around the world.

  • Baronius

    I’ve never heard him called “God’s Rottweiler” except by left-of-center critics in the press. He’s sometimes referred to as the German Shepherd.

    Igor’s comments are demonstrably false.

  • Igor

    Pope Pius said persecution of jews in germany was none of the church’s business. His attitude prevailed even in America (tho we hated catholics we hated jews even more) where the SS St. Louis was turned away, dooming hundreds to death.

    After the war the Vatican enabled nazis to escape consequences, especially from the Russians, of defeat and the naked craziness and viciousness of nazism. It was known as “The Vatican Highway” that enabled the escape from Europe, of nazis, creation of new identities and passports, and money.

    The Vatican even enabled return of nazis to germany for social and family affairs, and even to find a nice new nazi bride (Mengele did that in 56, IIRC). And that was current at least until the 60’s.

  • Baronius

    Quotes and facts without context.

    There were a lot of Catholics in Europe during the war, and they did a lot of good things and bad things. The French bishops stayed quiet when they knew better. The worst deeds in Croatia were committed by Catholics. Spain took in a lot of Jewish refugees, and priests around Europe saved as many as they could. Anti-Semitism in Poland was terrible among the Catholics, and I can’t fairly defend them as a group, but there were many heroes, such as Maximilian Kolbe and the man who would become Pope John Paul II.

    There’s a difference between anti-Semitism and Nazism. Don’t confuse the two. You can criticize Poland, for example, for their anti-Semitism but you can’t call them supporters of the Nazis.

    Pius XII said and did as much as he could, living in an Axis country. He personally rescued thousands of Jews in Rome, and his people coordinated similar protection around Italy. Check this document, written by the Pope in 1937 and read from every pulpit in Germany on Palm Sunday. It’s an unambiguous denouncement of Nazism. The Catholic Church in Germany was a thorn in Hitler’s side, never supported him, and constituted the only major domestic resistance to him.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Regardless of what Pius did to denounce Nazism, he also beatified Stepinac, the leader of the Catholics in Croatia under the Ustase regime (ruled by Ante Pavelic) during WWII, during which hundreds of thousands of non-Catholics were killed by Catholics, and hundreds of thousands more were exiled. I really do not understand his rationale when he could have beatified Stepinac when it was under him that an honest-to-goodness genocide was committed by Catholics against non-Catholics.

    Here is a Wiki page listing some of what happened.

  • Baronius

    I did single out Croatia as the site of the worst actions by Catholics in WWII. Cardinal Stepinac seems to be that rare case of naivete in in Yugoslavian politics, which is something that will get you killed. He was beatified, but by John Paul II, not Pius XII, long after the war, long after Stepinac had denounced that pro-Nazi government’s policies, then was imprisoned by the next government.

  • Baronius

    I read the section of that Wikipedia article about Stepinac. It says that he didn’t come out against forced conversions – but those conversions were the only thing saving people’s lives. He did endorse fake conversions for people’s safety, the only time I know of when a Church official did so.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying anything here to hurt anyone. It’s just that if Stepinac were as strongly against the genocide as you seem to imply, he could have threatened everyone involved with excommunication – and he had the authority to back up that threat, especially given the fact that Pavelic and his cronies were strong Catholics. That, and it makes it seem as if Stepinac felt it was less important to make a public stand to protect the people than it was to stay alive and in his position of authority.

    If a genocide were in progress among your people, would you risk your life to stop it, especially if you were in a position of real authority? Of course you would – I know you would. But Stepinac didn’t. That’s why I take the more cynical view.

  • Igor

    “All great men are evil men”, said Lord Acton. He was right. Evil seeks out the powerful. It’s sad, but true. You can’t get too attached to your heroes, it won’t be long before they disappoint you.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    From the 11th century: Benedict is suggested by the penultimate papal prediction of St. Malachy.

    The 268th: “At the limits of persecution of Rome’s Sacred Church, the bishop, Peter of Rome, will nourish his sheep through many tribulations, and when these are accomplished, the City of Seven Hills will be destroyed, and the formidable judge will judge his people. THE END”

    21st century bookies are looking at Francis of Arinze of Nigeria and Peter Turkson of Ghana as the two most likely choices, with odds near 2-1.

    12/21/12 turned out to be a bust. Here we go again, but we only have a couple of weeks to look forward to it.

  • John Lake

    Prophecy of St Malachy
    Interesting. There are several references to the Prophesies of Malachy. This one seems legitimate enough. Yes, after some discussions of the prophesies in general, and some dispute as to their authenticity (The Jesuits may have conceived some deception) we do indeed see the second to last prophesy which says a Benedict will bring peace, an olive branch is mentioned, and the last and final prophesy which is short and sweet, and interprets (loosely) as “the end.”

  • Baronius

    The final prediction could be read as “this is the last pope”, sure, and it could be a prediction of the end times. I always thought of it as more a capstone, how the Church sees itself: there will always be a pope leading the Church through hard times until the end of the world. Note that since all popes have been the Bishops of Rome, and successors to Peter, “Peter of Rome” is a pretty generic description.

    On the other hand, it could mean that there will never be another pope until the last one. Could the Church continue without one for any length? Conceivably a generation, but no longer. The machinery of decision-making, even for the assignment of bishops, shuts down when there is no pope in office.

    Of course, the most reasonable answer is that the prophecy is wrong. The Church has never required belief in private revelations of this kind. And while the Malachy prophecy has been good through some stretches, there are other periods that don’t match up too well.

  • Dr Dreadful

    “Peter of Rome” is a pretty generic description.

    Add to this that Cardinal Turkson, if he is elected, is unlikely to take Peter as his papal name.

    Of course, the most reasonable answer is that the prophecy is wrong.

    You don’t say.

  • Baronius

    Doc – You may not realize that the Catholic default position is skepticism in these matters. When a private revelation is claimed, or when a cause of sainthood is taken up, the null hypothesis is that no such thing occurred. A miracle could be witnessed by thousands, but it doesn’t become an article of faith. A message may be found acceptable, or a pilgrimage beneficial, but such things are rarely if ever endorsed beyond that. We’re the Show-Me Religion.

  • Glen Contrarian

    David Horsey of the LA Times has just set the odds for where the next Pope will come from – it’s amusing, if a bit snarky.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, the Catholic Encyclopaedia takes an entirely credulous tone, but then again it was published in 1913 and a number of chastening things have happened to the Church since then!

    As I understand it, the general consensus is that the prophecies are a 16th century forgery, which accounts for their astounding accuracy up to that point in time and their equally remarkable vagueness after it.

  • Baronius

    Entirely credulous? This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia, I believe from the 1913 edition:

    They were first published by Arnold de Wyon, and ever since there has been much discussion as to whether they are genuine predictions of St. Malachy or forgeries. The silence of 400 years on the part of so many learned authors who had written about the popes, and the silence of St. Bernard especially, who wrote the “Life of St. Malachy”, is a strong argument against their authenticity, but it is not conclusive if we adopt Cucherat’s theory that they were hidden in the Archives during those 400 years.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, that’s the only sceptical sentence in that whole entry.

  • Baronius

    And I can’t think of a single chastening thing that’s happened to the Church in terms of its approach to private revelation in the past 100 years.

    Particularly interesting is the series of visions at Fatima a few years after the Encyclopedia was published. In 1917, three children in backwater Portugal claimed to see visions of Mary informing them about the end of the great war, a possible larger war following it, and the need for the conversion of Russia (before the Revolutions). Thousands of people witnessed the “miracle of the sun”. Popes and bishops have gone to the site and professed their belief in the message of Fatima of prayer and conversion, but the Church has only said that the visions are worthy of belief, not that they have any authority.

  • Baronius

    Much discussion about whether they are forgeries isn’t sceptical enough for you? Remind me sometime to add one sentence in one of my political rants about how there’s been much discussion as to whether President Obama is a genuine American or born in Kenya. We’ll see how that goes. Oh, and that his autobiographies are “attributed” to him.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The Encyclopaedia acknowledges that there has been “much discussion”. It indulges in none of that discussion itself, except for, as I said, that single sentence mentioning the silence of theologians and papal historians on the subject. The longer second and third paragraphs of the entry on the Malachite prophecies discusses them entirely as if they were true.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Popes and bishops have gone to the site and professed their belief in the message of Fatima of prayer and conversion, but the Church has only said that the visions are worthy of belief, not that they have any authority.

    Calling something “worthy of belief” doesn’t sound all that sceptical to me.

  • Baronius

    We’re spinning our wheels here. I can hear the difference. If you can’t, believe me, a Catholic can. And if you can’t believe me that a Catholic can, then we’re definitely spinning our wheels here.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Yes, we should probably stop. Your #23 has placed images in my mind of the last 8 popes high-kicking in a Can-Can line…

  • Glen Contrarian

    Does that mean this comments thread is getting canned?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Yes, Baronius, Malachy’s 268th description could very well be a summary of what popes are supposed to be, in general.

    Won’t be any doubt about it come Easter-time, or thereabouts. Or…maybe there won’t be another pope. Maybe the Catholic Church will become something like a Confederacy. Maybe the Pope got tired because in some ways, it already has become that, and as such, harder to reign over, and to rein in.

  • John Lake

    The Catholic Church is so flawed that its future is uncertain. One problem is the pontifical unwillingness to participate in world events. I guess it is a confederacy, with all the cardinals taking part. Maybe some of them have, in their lives, periods of un-sureness or disbelief, making it hard to move on to important matters.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Most people who take their faith seriously have doubts. A doubting faithful person can still keep on keeping on, though, paying attention to the important matters that Catholic Charities attend to, helping the poor and sick, etc. (I am not a Catholic, so this is not an advertisement.)

    Jesus said that if you follow his commandments (the greatest is to love), then God will reveal himself to you. People who still believe in love, but have lost faith in miracles, have been surprised to find themselves in the middle of one in the context of helping someone else.

    I think as long as there are Catholics who are looking for those kinds of miracles, there will always be a church.

  • Baronius

    We survived three centuries of persecution from the Roman Empire, the sack of Rome and the German invasions, the Black Death, the fall of Constantinople, the French Revolution, communism, fascism, and a thousand scandals of our own making. We can survive this. That’s not arrogance, either; it’s faith that God is protecting us.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #9 “‘All great men are evil men’, said Lord Acton. He was right. Evil seeks out the powerful. It’s sad, but true.”

    I understand the sentiment but disagree with the logic. I don’t think power corrupts men, I think corrupt men seek power, and evil men seek absolute power. If you seek power over other men, to control other men… you’re already on your way to evil in my book. Decent men turn down power realizing they’re not worthy, good men understand no one should have the power in the first place. Sounds like Benedict is coming around a bit, shouldn’t have taken the job in the first place though.

  • Baronius

    Doug, the logical conclusion of your comment is that decent men act in such a way as to ensure that the people in power will always be corrupt. How is that decent?

    The humble man neither over- nor under-estimates himself, and is capable of admitting when he is an appropriate choice for the job.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #31

    “Doug, the logical conclusion of your comment is that decent men act in such a way as to ensure that the people in power will always be corrupt”

    Is it that far removed from reality? Do you need more evidence of political corruption and lying to the populace?

    A humble man might consider that his measuring stick differs from that of other men before assuming that by his own standards he is worthy of being placed over others.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    No, it only means that intelligent debate is getting canned…

  • Baronius

    Doug, I’m not crazy about the idea of authorty, but I recognize that there’s a role for it. As a Catholic, I believe that my Church was set up with a heirarchical structure and put into the hands of a jerk (Peter), but is protected from certain kinds of mistakes. As an American, I believe in a political system that limits the amount of damage a politician can do. My instinct is anti-institution, but my philosophy doesn’t rule out the possibility of them having a limited beneficial role.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #34

    You had a fine response above, it was that of Socrates who reasoned that a good man would seek power only to prevent a lesser man of achieving it. You believe you have the ultimate measuring stick provided by the almighty… lots of powerful men have been either religious or held to their belief system with religious fervor.

  • Baronius

    I was responding to what I thought you were saying, that any kind of authority is by nature immoral. It’s a bit of a different question whether the average person would be corrupted by power, or what kind of institutions best prevent abuse of power. I don’t believe I have a divinely-provided yardstick; I do believe that there are certain limits in the ways and the degree to which the Church can go wrong. Again, that’s no the same as saying that every Catholic or even every pope acts properly.

  • John Lake

    Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I believe in the human spirit; that there are good, brave, and capable people out there who can resist evil impulse, and do good for its own sake, for years and years.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Undoubtedly there are, but such behaviour is incompatible with power. Sooner or later, any political leader will be confronted with a decision involving a moral compromise.

    For example: a terrorist organization attacks your nation, causing extensive loss of life. It is known to have its base of operations in a certain country. Do you (a) send troops to that country knowing that the operation will incur heavy costs both in fiscal terms and in lives, and will increase international tensions and risk a wider war; or (b) rely on conventional policing and diplomatic channels to combat the organization, knowing that they may never be brought to justice this way and in the meantime will probably carry out more attacks?

    Not all dilemmas of leadership are so dramatic, obviously, but major situations in which no-one will suffer regardless of what you decide are pretty rare in politics.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Has to be b), every time.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Indeed, and John’s “good, brave, capable person” would probably select option B. In doing so, however, he would unavoidably condemn some people to suffer the continuing violence of the terrorist group. Might not the psychic burden of this render him susceptible to bouts of poorer judgement in the future?

  • roger nowosielski

    @38

    A loaded question, Dreadful.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Well, I couldn’t speak for this “good, brave, capable person”, but it wouldn’t bother me or render me susceptible to making poorer decisions subsequently…

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Oh, and I would be comforted by knowing that the whole world could see that I wasn’t a rampaging tyrant that thought they were above the law.

    Mind you, if the government of the host country was weak or poorly equipped and asked for some “technical assistance”, I’d probably do that!

  • Dr Dreadful

    Roger @ #41: Indeed. Doubtless there were many policy nuances that weren’t considered by the real-life leader who faced roughly that dilemma. I put it out there because many of us, I’m sure, have opinions about what we would have done had we been in his shoes.

    Chris @ #42: The fact that it wouldn’t bother you probably renders you better equipped to govern than John’s hypothetical saint…

  • roger nowosielski

    What I meant though, mainly, is that acts of terrorism do no occur as a rule “out of the blue.”

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    No, but neither can those who occupy the seats of power do anything about the actions of their predecessors. A terrorist group’s animosity towards a country usually has roots going far back before the tenure of any particular one of its leaders. Nevertheless, what a leader does about a terror attack, while it may be informed by the past, nonetheless must be his or her own decision.

  • roger nowosielski

    You may be right about it in general, Dreadful, but it’s not always the case in specific instances, the formation of al-Qaeda, for one.

    It’s been well documented, e.g., that bin Laden’s turnabout could well be averted had he gotten a fair hearing from the powers that be — the US and Saudi Arabia.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Not sure where the thrust of your argument’s going, Rog. Are you of the opinion that a leader of initial integrity must necessarily be corrupted, albeit slightly, by the exercise of power; or can he or she rise above its corrupting influence?

  • roger nowosielski

    #47 was but a response to #46, to elucidate my earlier comment re: “loaded question.”

    As to what happens to people once they rise to power, I have nothing worthwhile to contribute.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The question was designed to illustrate the unavoidable moral compromises a political leader is called upon to reach, thereby rendering even the most honourable of them susceptible to corruption. In the real world, yes, it would be a loaded question, but for the purposes of the example I don’t think it should be looked at that way.

  • roger nowosielski

    I understand that, Dreadful. My contention, however, that your example/question was loaded rests on the fact that you bring in a terrorist organization/network “out of the blue,” creating thus what appears to be a genuine moral dilemma for the powers that be, as though the powers that be had nothing to do with what developed. And for that reason, the dilemma is not genuine.

  • roger nowosielski

    I have no qualms, however, with your reason(s) your example was supposed to illustrate.

  • Irene Athena

    re #39/40 choice a: send in the military vs. choice b: diplomatic channels. It’s not a single leader who’ll be able to extricate foreign policy from those who profit from “choice a” decisions.

    What it will take is a majority calling for “choice b” consistently, and resolutely demanding “choice b” even when the “choice b” candidate they supported is overwhelmed by “choice a” pressure once in office.

    What it will take is a majority encouraging him to stand behind his promises, and standing with him in the fight, instead of making excuses for him.

    Will mediation and reconciliation between groups who have long-standing and legitimate grievances against one another …and us…really prolong violence any more than passing out more guns, more propoganda about the need for another century of anti-terrorism vigilance?

  • John Lake

    #53 (39&40) If that hypothetical terrorist organization was of an unknown origin, would you (a) pick a weak opponent at random, murder his people, and with much fan-fare, hang him, or would you (b) postpone politically necessary response until the true perpetrators were found?
    Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that.

  • Irene Athena

    “He made the best decision he could with the information available to him at the time” is the excuse made for one president by one group of people.

    For another president, another group of people makes the excuse, “you don’t know what it’s like to know the things he knows. You’d make the same decision if you did.”

    “Choice b” looks like a fairy-tale option because when it is suggested, there is always…always…a president in office whose supporters have one of those excuses at the ready.

  • John Lake

    Wise leadership free of conflicting interests is not impossible. In the example given, one solution might include examining the factors which influenced the “terrorists”, and making long range efforts to address them. Then when the injured society had followed common legal requirements, an arrest or other response could be made. This is all very simplistic, and seems to resolve around a theory that there are no wise and unconflicted administrations. I might mention that a return in America to the genuine patriotism that motivated our founding fathers would resolve many of today’s ills. This opens up the case for education.