Phillip, on another thread, reminded me of Peggy Noonan’s column this morning (or technically, her column tomorrow, since that’s when it appears in print), in which she praised the Pope for his input into the debate over Syria:
After 10 days of debate in Europe and America, the wisest words on a path forward have come from the Pope. Francis wrote this week to Vladimir Putin, as the host of the G-20. He damned “the senseless massacre” unfolding in Syria and pleaded with the leaders gathered in St. Petersburg not to “remain indifferent”—remain—to the “dramatic situation.” He asked the governments of the world “to do everything possible to assure humanitarian assistance” within and without Syria’s borders.
But, he said, a “military solution” is a “futile pursuit.”
And he is right. The only strong response is not a military response.
The world must think—and speak—with stature and seriousness, of the moment we’re in and the darkness on the other side of the door. It must rebuke those who used the weapons, condemn their use, and shun the users. It must do more, in concert—surely we can agree on this—to help Syria’s refugees. It must stand up for civilization.
But a military strike is not the way, and not the way for America.
Francis was speaking, as popes do, on the moral aspects of the situation. In America, practical and political aspects have emerged, and they are pretty clear….
I deeply appreciate the Pope’s intervention into this situation. He’s saying things we need to consider. That’s not saying I’m entirely convinced that we don’t need to act militarily. There are times when force must be used against those who use force against the defenseless.
But I acknowledge that it remains debatable whether this is indeed one of those times. I still think it is, but the Holy Father is making me think even harder about it…