Mallon's Media Watch

Mallon's Media Watch

Friday, April 04, 2003

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Saddam hid medical supplies while as he complained to the world of children doing without

Meanwhile, north-west of Safwan in Al Zubayr, British troops found thousands of boxes of medical supplies hidden by Saddam's regime.

The tyrant claimed for years that sick children were dying in hospitals from a lack of medicines because of tough UN sanctions against Iraq.

But yesterday soldiers of the 1st Battalion Black Watch exposed his lies after raiding a Ba'ath Party HQ.

They found enough medicine for 10,000 kids, including vital antibiotics and pneumonia and tapeworm treatments, in a locked storeroom.

The supplies have now been handed to Army doctors to treat local patients properly for the first time in months.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2003


David Frum's Diary on National Review Online

I am not a believer in journalistic "objectivity" in wartime. Journalists who cover fires cheer for the firefighters. Journalists who cover crime don't keep neutral between the crooks and their victims. What kind of warped system of values forbids journalists to support their country when the guns are blasting?
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There is a lot of good stuff today (and everyday) on James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" on Note his comments on an article by James Carroll in the Boston Globe yesterday. This Blog has dealt with Mr. Carroll before...

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today
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Each one is a Mensch

Whatever we think of policy, our armed forces in this battle have not only performed with unbelievable professionalism, restraint and heroism but I would add that they have not only been heroes but GENTLEMEN, (the males among them, that is.)

I am very moved by the kindness they are showing the Iraqi people, under very dangerous circumstances, including the POWs surrendering to them.

I have also noticed how much against the popular male-bashing stereotype they are. Men in our culture are so often portrayed as insensitive and uncommunicative, who don't show their emotions or feelings.

On the contrary, when these servicemen are invited by reporters to say hello to those back home, to a man they look right into the camera and tell their wives, "I love you" as well as their children, parents and friends. They are not macho gorillas. Rather, each one of them is a genuine "Mensch." They also don't flinch when thanking God. They are humble, modest. They are also reverent. They did not return fire caome at them from a lankmark mosque, because it was a sacred place, even though they would be justified in doing so.

As a man without a family of my own, I sometimes wish I could exchange places with them.

God bless them, and the brave women too. They are an example for the rest of us.


Iraqi Deserter Tells of Desperation (

The soldier covered his face and wept.

It was a deep, sudden sobbing he couldn't control. His shoulders heaved. Tears wet the frayed cuffs of his green Iraqi army sweater.

He cried because he was alive. He cried because his family may think he's dead. He cried for his country. He cried because--for him--the war was over.

"I'm so sorry. Excuse me. I just can't stop," wept the soldier who fled Saddam Hussein's army and was taken Monday into the hands of U.S.-allied Iraqi Kurdish fighters. "Could this terrible time be over soon? Please, tell me."

The soldier, whom the AP calls Ali, describes a demoralized military with little genuine loyalty to Saddam: "We knew nothing. We were told only that America was trying to take over Iraq," he says. "But we are not so stupid. We know how Saddam rules the country. We know in our hearts we'd be better off without him."

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"Mister, mister, England good!"
Telegraph | News | Royal Marines storm Basra suburb

They received a warm welcome from the members of the 30,000-strong population, with children and adults giving the thumbs-up, smiling and shouting "Mister, mister, England good".


A Royal Marine told of a grenade glancing off his helmet and another told of how an Iraqi colonel driving a car with a briefcase full of cash refused to stop and was shot dead. "I didn't know what to do with the money so I gave it to the kids, bundles of the stuff," the Royal Marine said.

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I've never been a big Dennis Miller fan, but...

Dennis Miller was interviewed on Donahue. The following is a quote from him :

"All the rhetoric on whether or not we should go to war against iraq has got my insane little brain spinning like a roulette wheel. I enjoy reading opinions from both sides but I have detected a hint of confusion from some of you. As I was reading the paper recently, I was reminded of the best advice someone ever gave me. He told me about the KISS method ("keep it simple, stupid!) So, with this as a theme, I'd like to apply this theory for those who don't quite get it. My hope is that we can simplify things a bit and recognize a few important facts.

Here are 10 things to consider when voicing an opinion on this important issue:

1) Out of President Bush and saddam Hussein ... Hussein is the bad guy.

2) If you have faith in the United Nations to do the right thing keep this in mind, they have Libya heading the Committee on Human Rights and Iraq heading the Global Disarmament Committee. Do your own math here

3) If you use Google search and type in "French military victories," your reply will be "Did you mean French military defeats?"

4) If your only anti-war slogan is "No war for oil," sue your school district for allowing you to slip through the cracks and robbing you of the education you deserve.

5) Saddam and Bin Laden will not seek United Nations' approval before they try to kill us.

6) Despite common belief, Martin Sheen is not the president. He plays one on T.V.

7) Even if you are anti-war, you are still an "Infidel!" And Bin Laden wants you dead, too

8) If you believe in a "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" but not in the danger that Hussein poses, quit hanging out with the Dell Computer dude

9) We are not trying to liberate them.

10) Whether you are for military action or against it, our young men and women overseas are fighting for us to defend our right to speak out. We all need to support them without reservation.


Monday, March 31, 2003

A Friend Writes:

To answer your question, yes, ______ said that Saddam and the terrorists are infidels who will go to hell. Now, the specific email that I "replied" to did not, but as I am sure some of the group does, when I check my email I read all of it, and in a discussion I "reply" to the last one, even if my reply also is in response to something said by another in the discussion.

You also seem to accuse me of wanting to just let Saddam continue to torment the Iraqi people. No where did I say that. I agree that his evil actions must stop, and before the war started I did raise concerns about the justness of going to war (since Novak et al. seem to want to expand/develop the first criterion of the Just War theory I still think the Pope and the Church's Magisterium has the competency in that area, not civil authorities; they decide if the criteria are met, not what the criteria are and mean) but since the start of the war I have NOT spoken out saying that the war is unjust and immoral. I only raise questions about attitudes in this time of war. The paper here in Philly reported that on the night the war began the President said that a goal is to kill Saddam. Now I have not heard him say it again (nor the first time, but the press reported it), but he did "pump his fist" like his football team just scored. Even in a just and necessary war, we must always keep in mind that it is a terrible undertaking that we are engaged in. It is not something to be excited about, and I don't think we should watch FoxNews, CNN or whatever like SportsCenter. I am NOT saying that any of the members of this group are doing this, but I have seen it, regrettably even here in the seminary. But in this group I have not heard much praying for the Iraqi people. All loss of human life is terrible, and to quote the Holy Father, "War is ALWAYS a defeat for humanity" (emphasis mine).

Of course we should try to stop evil, and sadly, at times this requires the use of force, even lethal force. But we should always try to use the least amount of force necessary. In the example you used, if the SWAT sniper knew that he could stop the perpetator w/o killing him he would be morally obligated to do so. Now, applying this to the war, I am impressed at the care that the coalition forces are showing to target only military targets so to keep non-combatant casualities to a minimum (and even more impressed by the technology that is making this possible). However, the worse, I fear, is yet to come. And it seems that the Pope was right; the conflict is destabilizing that area of the world, and the longer the war goes on the worse that will become.

In the end I find it terribly sad that we still have such division in the human family. I know that it is due to mine, and all of our personal sin, depriving the world of the grace that God wants us to have (which is the philosophical definition of Evil), a grace that will bind us together in love. Its not just Bush's fault, nor Blair's, nor even Saddam's (though I suspect that he had a bigger part to play); we all share the responsibility for not building the Kingdom of Christ as we are called to.

Yours in Christ,

[Name Withheld]

My Reply:

Dear [Blank}

You always reply thoughtfully and I appreciate that. I did not see that statement by [Blank], and I am thankful that knowing the eternal destiny of any soul is not within my competence. I'm sure many others are grateful for that too. I have enough trouble keeping myself on course even with God's grace.

No I don't accuse you of wanting Saddam to torment the Iraqi people, but I also believe that if we Americans did nothing that is precisely what he would do and worse. He would spread his torment as widely as possible. I am satisfied that all other avenues were exhausted. While some said with a little more time the UN could have handled it, I disagree. In Saddam's hands that time was a weapon. He had 13 years. I read a quote from GWB that every morning he would wake up with the thought, "I wonder if this is the day Saddam will do it." That gave me pause, because certainly he has information and Intelligence which I don't. Any day a suitcase nuke or some other horror could have occurred on his watch. He saw a need to act and I trust him.

I think just war thought need to be revisited in terms of some of the new contingencies the world faces, like asymmetrical war and terrorism.

I wrote this to a prominent Jesuit I know and he replied:

"John, just war theory has become a disease and a shield so we did not have to fight any war, no matter how just. When the Iraqi soldiers dress as civilians and use civilians as hostages, it is almost impossible to know who to shoot except everyone."

As far as the Magisterium, The Catechism itself says: “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy [of war] belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have the responsibility for the common good.”

I don't know to what extent GWB consults Catholic doctrine, (although he does have knowledgeable Catholic consultants), but I'm satisfied that he is conscientious enough and enough of a man of conscience that they are met, and that he is the competent civil authority. His primary job is to protect the American people, and he saw this as necessary.

Americans have the right and duty to question and criticize our government and that is one of the things we are fighting for, but speaking of attitudes I am disturbed by the attitude that the present administration should be the last to be given the benefit of the doubt even after Saddam!

As you say, war is not something to be taken lightly but much of the criticism of the president by the American Leftist "street" has been so childish, irresponsible and ideologically driven that I think it is actually doing our country harm and putting American lives in danger, both at home and in the theater of war.

And that bothers me.

I don't believe in cheering for death, the war is not a football gane, but victory over tyrrany and the liberation of peoples is something to rejoice in. We pray for souls, while it is with Pricipalities and Powers we do battle.


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Deal Hudson: Sed Contra

A case in point is the steady stream of e-mails I receive asking me when I'm going to defend the Holy Father's "position" on Iraq the way I'm defending his position on abortion. The two positions are equivalent only if the question is about the application of principle, not the contingent or prudential conclusions that may follow. The difference between a conclusion drawn from the principles of just-war theory and the sanctity of life is simple: Some wars are just, whereas no innocent life should be killed. Cardinal Ratzinger's doctrinal note makes this distinction clear: The "Church's magisterium does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions."


Douglas W. Kmiec on Just War on National Review Online

In the classic Catholic position on just war articulated centuries ago by Augustine and Aquinas, the strict, moral duty to maintain the security of others is placed squarely upon the designated leadership of one's own nation. President Bush is accountable for our security, the United Nations is not. With all due respect to Cardinal Laghi, the Vatican envoy who visited with the president earlier this week, the legality and justice of this war does not depend upon the view of the Security Council, which has never had the direct responsibility of our continued well being.

That President Bush understands the full weight of this obligation was plainly evident in his press conference. "My job is to protect America, and that's exactly what I'm going to do," he said. "People can ascribe all kinds of intentions, [but] I swore to protect and defend the Constitution." Indeed, his duty arguably transcends constitutional document, originating in the Great Commandment, itself. One manifests love of neighbor, after all, by protecting the innocent and their families from imminent and grave attack. While the imminence of terrorist assault by nerve gas, biological toxins, dirty bombs, and the like is unknown, their gravity is not. The harms that would flow from the vast and easily transportable stockpiles of munitions Saddam Hussein has left unexplained are, as the president has said, "a direct threat."


Excellent Article:

William J. Bennett: Why We Must Fight

Just after the celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, it is appropriate to remember his lament: "The world has never had a good definition of the word 'liberty.'" With Hussein flouting international law, and President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair attempting to enforce it, portrayals of Bush as Adolf Hitler — as we saw and heard in the "human-rights" protests — betray an ignorance of liberty, an ignorance of right and wrong, an ignorance of commonsense. Because Bush and Blair are putting together a coalition of countries to oust Hussein, they are labeled the warmongers and tyrants. We live in a confusing time indeed.

Lincoln described liberty by a useful analogy: "The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty." Lincoln made it clear who the sheep was and who the wolf was. It is equally important to recognize who the liberator is. Those who march against the U.S. and the U.K. today, those who condemn Bush and Blair and remain silent when it comes to Hussein, are in league with the wolf's view that the shepherds are destroying liberty. The people of Iraq will soon know what Afghanis know. The true wolf was devouring Afghanis, the true shepherd saved them.


Sunday, March 30, 2003

A Friend Writes:

It is good that so many are praying for our troops; that they will be kept safe and returned soon. However I am disturbed by all the talk of the enemy, and the villianizing of the "enemy" as being evil. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and to pray for those who hate us. Yes, that means even for Saddam, and not that some bullet kills him. As the Lord says thru the prophet Ezekiel, "As I live says the Lord, I do not wish the sinner to die but to turn to me and live." Now we need to pray for the Iraqi people, not just those who we are trying to liberate, but even those who are fighting against us. Queen of Peace, pray for us (the big, Catholic us, which means everybody).

I reply

Has anyone advocated killing Saddam in the exchange of emails here? Has anyone expressed hatred for him? Has anyone advocated his eternal damnation? I think all of us would love to see Saddam meet Jesus like St. Paul, cease his tyranny, and surrender himself to international authorities, and live out his years in penance.

Do you believe that some people choose evil over good? Engaging in activities that can best be described as diabolical? Tourturing and mutilating children and other helpless people? Nobody needs to "villanize" Saddam. He alreay is a villan. Only God knows the true disposition of his soul and the extent of his personal culpability, but we need to evaluate his actions and the state of our own souls if we allow him to continue in his actions.

If a maniac is shooting up children in a MacDonalds Is it wrong for a swat team to shoot him while he is shooting at children and won't stop to negotiate?

Saddam was treated cruelly by his father. I sympathize, and would like to see him get therapy. But I am not prepared to sit by while he takes it out on the helpless citizens of an entire nation, and shows clear signs of extending his revenge on the entire world through massive weapons systems.

I think all of us are aware that Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, but it is neither just nor charitable (even to him) to allow him to continue his rampage of rape, torture, murder and other atrocities on a nationwide, and potentially worldwide scale.