Bishops & Their Critics
President George W. Bush’s decision
to go to war with Iraq was initially supported by a host of liberals,
among them New Republic editor Peter Beinart and New Yorker writer
George Packer. These commentators were convinced that Iraq posed an
imminent threat to its neighbors and that Saddam Hussein’s regime had
to be removed for both security and moral reasons.
As the administration’s case for war
was gradually exposed as a fabrication and the botched nature of the
occupation became clear, most of these liberals have admitted they were
No such admissions of error, or even
regret, have been issued by outspoken Catholic neoconservatives who,
using the most tortured just-war arguments, publicly defended Bush’s
war of choice. Michael Novak, of the American Enterprise Institute,
even flew to Rome to persuade the Vatican not to oppose the invasion.
In First Things, George Weigel, of the Ethics and Public Policy Center,
memorably lectured religious leaders on the “charism of political
discernment” enjoyed by those in the White House (“Moral Clarity in a
Time of War,” January 2003). It was a charism, Weigel pointedly wrote,
“not shared by bishops.” He assured the war’s critics that elected
officials “are more fully informed about the relevant facts.”
Read the whole thing.