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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Tuesday, December 16, 2003  

Have some soup, poor fellow!

Cue music: "Boo Hoo"

This just in from Rome: Cardinal says US treated Saddam 'like a cow'


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A top Vatican official said Tuesday he felt pity and compassion for Saddam Hussein and criticized the U.S. military for showing video footage of him being treated "like a cow."

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace department and a former papal envoy to the United Nations, told a news conference it would be "illusory" to think the arrest of the former Iraqi president would heal all the damage caused by a war which the Holy See opposed.

"I felt pity to see this man destroyed, (the military) looking at his teeth as if he were a cow. They could have spared us these pictures," he said.

Oh, agony, agony, agony.

"Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him," he said in answer to questions about Saddam's arrest.

You want to take the deposed Iraqi strongman by the hand and say reassuringly, "There, there. Poor tyrant. Poor, poor tyrant."

"It's true that we should be happy that this (arrest) has come about because it is the watershed that was necessary... we hope that this will not have worse and other serious consequences," Martino said.

How can we be happy confronted with images like these? We can get used to mass graves, to iron maidens, to torture videos.

But the tongue depressor! Not the tongue depressor! Foul Americans!

He added: "But is seems to me to be illusory to hope that this will repair the dramas and the damage of the defeat for humanity that a war always brings about."

The Vatican did not consider the war in Iraq "a just war" because it was not backed by the United Nations and because the Vatican believed more negotiations were necessary to avoid it.

The news conference was called for Martino to present the World Day of Peace message, in which Pope John Paul took a swipe at the United States for invading Iraq without the backing of the United Nations.

Make that World Day of Appeasement message.

Cardinal Martino, the Vatican's answer to Jacques Chirac, lends Church authority to Axis of Weasels venality. What next from the "Peace and Justice" wing this holiday season? Might oppressed Palestinian militants be invited to retake the Church of the Nativity?

As the Vatican takes the rumpled Iraqi despot to the nearest peace-and-justice shelter for a cup of hot soup, a few queries:

Is this a bishop's skull of the sort said by Athanasius to line the floor of hell? No, it's that of one of Saddam's victims.

Say, who's chairing the UN Human Rights Commission these days?

Where was the moral beacon of Turtle Bay recently on the question of anti-semitism?

To paraphrase the Power Line, these are the folks the Democratic Party – and the Vatican – wish to have final say over the defense of the United States? (Via Steve Anderson)

UPDATE: Dom Bettinelli weighs in:

A man in his tragedy? I can't believe this stuff. Saddam is a genocidal maniac who felt no compunction about having men, women, and children thrown into shredders and then watching the results on videotape for his entertainment. I don't understand this impulse to excuse what Saddam did to his people. Where was Cardinal Martino's soothing and compassionate words for the Iraqi man who spent 20 years hiding in a wall to keep away from Saddam's executioners? Where was his compassion for the Kurds of Halabjah who were brutally murdered with poison gas? Where was his compassion for the hundreds of women raped and then murdered by Saddam's sons? Where was his compassion for the hundreds of thousands of Shiites killed by Saddam after the 1991 uprising?

So does Rod Dreher:

Cardinal Martino's compassion for the victims of Saddam is hiding in the same spider hole where the Vatican keeps its compassion for the child victims of pederast priests. People dumped on me for conflating the moral blindness of the Vatican on the war with the moral blindness of the Vatican in the sex abuse crisis. But I think the revolting Martino's comments clarify the link. These episcopal creatures refuse to see evil for what it is, when it upsets their view of the world.

And George Lee, on Cardinal Martino:

The man is Squalor Incarnate. He spent years and years as an observer at the UN and came away admiring it.

US armed forces have done more to bring about Peace and Justice than all the Peace and Justice Councils and Commissions ever will…

MORE: Eric Johnson


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