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Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq [Hardcover]

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Item description for Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq by Bishop Hilarion Capucci...

Refuting the myth that America's socially conservative thinkers, journalists, and commentators tend to support the war in Iraq, this text incorporates the opinions of some of the leading figures in America's conservative movement on why the decision to go to war and the continuing occupation of Iraq was and is the wrong course of action. Twenty-five articles by influential thinkers such as former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, syndicated columnists Sam Francis, Joseph Sobran, Eric Margolis, and Charley Reese, leading economist Jude Wanniski, social critics Tom Fleming and Paul Gottfried, and religious figures Bishop John Michael Botean and the late Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani make the case against the Iraqi conflict using conservative arguments on geopolitics, Christian morality, and common sense. Four detailed appendices on the war teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are also provided.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   447
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.7"
Weight:   1.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 15, 2005
Publisher   Ihs Press
ISBN  1932528040  
ISBN13  9781932528046  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > Iraq
2Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > Freedom & Security > Security
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5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > U.S.
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics

Reviews - What do customers think about Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq?

The "Just War" Moral Imperative  Apr 19, 2008
Congressman Ron Paul stated in one of the early 2008 presidential debates that the most serious moral crisis facing America was the recent adoption by the Bush administration and the Congress of the evil doctrine of preemptive war and the abandonment of the centuries old Christian doctrine of Just War.

Read this excellent book to find out the reasons why this is such an important moral issue.
Unconvincing  Jan 14, 2008
Is the war in Iraq a great idea? Oh, probably not. But these folks are hardly the ones to preach to us about it! Instead of seeing reasons why we ought to have handled Saddam Hussein's Iraq in some other way, we see outright apologies for Saddam Hussein's behavior! We're told that the case against him is bogus!

I'm against war. I think war is destructive and hurts everyone. And most folks who are against war get some sympathy from me. But not always! In 1945, when the German National Socialists were on the verge of defeat, the Allies could have simply quit fighting, claiming that they were ending the war early. Instead, they continued until they got an unconditional surrender. I think it was wise to do that, and in the long run, such a policy was of significant benefit to quite a few people.

Whenever there is a war, there will be some people who are genuinely for peace, and may be willing to help do things to defend attacked civilians but not willing to be aggressors. But there will also be those who simply side with the thugs: they are more than willing to help aggressors, they're just not willing to help the victims. When they advise the victims to refuse to defend themselves, they are simply part of the problem.

Do the contributors in this volume really appear to me to be against war? Um, no. I think many of them might be rather willing to start a war, an aggressive war no less, in the Middle East, as long as that war were against Israel rather than against some other state. We see a one page introduction from Bishop Hilarion Capucci. And there are articles by Patrick Buchanan, Joseph Sobran, Charley Reese, and a bunch of others. I think the whole idea of these people trying to tell the rest of us about morality is silly.

Buchanan blames our misadventures in Iraq on folks who have a "passionate commitment" to Israel "that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country." Really? I'm not so sure that American actions in Iraq were even that useful to Israel in the first place. And I think such a comment might apply even more to those whose passion to damage Israel causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country. Buchanan also makes fun of the idea that imposing "peace" on Israel might simply be a replay of Munich in 1938. He adds that "U. S. and Israeli interests are not identical. They often collide, and when they do, U. S. interests must prevail." Okay. That's fair. I would like to add that the interests of the United States and some extremist and racist Arab opponents of Israel are not identical. And when these interests collide, American interests must prevail!

Hilarion Capucci is both a thug and an archbishop of the Catholic Church. He used his status as a bigwig to smuggle weapons to terrorists. On August 18, 1974, he was finally arrested by Israeli security forces; his car was found stuffed with TNT and guns. Although Capucci was sentenced to twelve years in prison, the Pope pleaded for an earlier release, and he got out in 1977, with an understanding that he would stay out of politics. He hasn't exactly done that. I find it hard to believe that the Vatican would put up with such a misuse of an archbishop's status: does the Vatican really want the Catholic Church's leaders to have their limousines stopped and searched all the time for weapons? Or worse, have their churches inspected for weapons as well? All because it supports having an archbishop smuggle weapons to a terrorist group that's mostly Muslim and anti-Catholic in the first place?

I do not recommend this book, and I think it says a great deal that Capucci was chosen to write an introduction for it.
Anti-War Catholics (And Others) Speak Out Against the Iraq War.  Aug 21, 2007
The right of war is hateful, and its punishment is most grave; therefore it is to be restricted as far as can be.
- Francisco Suarez, S.J.

All modern war is to be forbidden.
- Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani.

_Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq_, published in 2007 by Light in the Darkness Publications, an imprint of IHS Press, is a collection of essays and writings of various anti-war Catholic intellectuals and philosophers, paleo-conservative commentators, and others. The book maintains that it is "Asserting the traditional, Christian just war doctrine against the neoconservative caricature that masks violence and aggression." It is frequently maintained by those on the left that the war has been fought by the "far right wing"; however, as these essays show, not only are the categories of right and left no longer useful in our modern age, but the reasons given for fighting the War in Iraq were anything but conservative and not in keeping with Just War doctrine. The Catholic Church regards war as a great evil and prays that man may be delivered from war along with hunger and pestilence. The church has condemned radical pacifism (in the sense that one is unjustified to use force in direct self-defence); however the church maintains that a war may only be fought provided it has a just cause. As explained by Romano Amerio, a war is just if: it is declared by a competent authority, it is aimed at righting a wrong, there is reasonable hope of actually righting a wrong, and it is conducted with moderation. The just war doctrine goes back to St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas and was further developed by later scholars. The authors appearing in this volume maintain that the Iraq War (a pre-emptive war) does not meet these criteria and that further, as some maintain, no modern war may indeed meet these criteria. As such the war is to be condemned by Catholics and can be seen as an integral feature of the "culture of death", including abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. Further, it should be noted that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have condemned this war.

The book begins with a foreword by Bishop Hilarion Capucci and an introduction by Prof. George Lopez.

The first section of this book is entitled "The Statesmen Speak: A War Both Unnecessary and Vain". This includes essays by Jude Wanniski (explaining how he believes the case made against Sadaam to be bogus), Marc Bossuyt (explaining the issue of economic sanctions against Iraq - the callous remarks of Madeleine Albright that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth the price should be noted here and certainly refute the claims made by some that "No one died while Clinton lied"), Joy Gordon (explaining the real "oil-for food" scandal), and Patrick Buchanan (explaining the role of the "War Party" and Jewish neoconservatives in fighting the war against Iraq to further Israeli interests).

The second section of this book is entitled "Conservative and Anti-War: Patriotism, Prudence, and the Moral Law". This section includes authors writing from the perspective of paleo-conservativism, showing the phoney nature of the neoconservative imposters. This section includes essays by Samuel Francis (arguing that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel", showing how a false patriotism has been used by the neoconservatives, and illustrating the fundamental difference between the goals of the neoconservatives and those of genuine conservatives and the "Old Right" particularly as they concern the State), Joseph Sobran (showing the immorality of the war and arguing that the war is murder), Charley Reese (arguing that "legal nonsense" has been used to justify the war), Thomas Fleming (showing the history of the Middle East and the role of American imperialism), Wendell Berry (arguing that war is ultimately a failure and that the importation of globalist culture is destroying traditional ways of life and the environment), and Paul Gottfried (showing how the neoconservatives are not genuine conservatives at all and that their zealous lust for global democracy is anything but a conservative program).

The third section of this book is entitled "The Venerable Tradition: Putting the Brakes on Aggression and Securing Justice for Iraq". This includes essays by the following: Fr. Juan Carlos Iscara (explaining that "might is not right" and arguing for the just war tradition), Thomas Ryba (explaining the role of epistemic adequacy in the just war criteria), David Gordon (exposing the fallacies used by neoconservative Catholics to defend the war in Iraq and their abuse of the just war theory for their own ends), and James Hanink (arguing for the role of Iraqi sovereignity and conscience).

The fourth section in this book is entitled "Judgment and Inspiration: The Church Still Speaks with Authority". This section includes essays by the following: William T. Cavanaugh (arguing that we must turn to the church for moral guidance and that further if not the church then we have nowhere to turn - this applies particularly to pro-war Catholics who claim that we should turn to the president for guidance first), Bishop John Michael Botean (a Lenten letter issued to Romanian Catholics arguing that participation in the war was a mortal sin), an explanation of this same letter by Bishop Botean, Edward Peters (a canonist comments on the letter from Bishop Botean), and Deacon Keith Fournier (arguing for peace).

The fifth section in this book is entitled "Higher Law: Conscience, Morality, and the Transcendent Vision". This section includes essays by the following: John Rao (showing the decadent nature of modern Western and American civilization and arguing that the spread of pluralism is behind this war), Robert Hickson (arguing that limits must be set on just war criteria as they apply to the modern world), Paul Likoudis (arguing that new weapons have made a new understanding of warfare necessary), Laurence M. Vance (showing the failure of nerve of Christians to oppose the war), Peter E. Chojnowski (arguing for conscientious objection), Army Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia (arguing for conscientious objection), and an appendix by Eric Gill (the distributist writer who opposed the Second World War). It should also be noted that many Catholics also opposed the Second World War including such figures as Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe.

The final section of this book is entitled "Speaking with Authority: The True Just-War Doctrine as a Light for Our Time". This includes essays by Fr. Franzisko Stratmann (explaining why wars are unnecessary, that warfare may be outgrown just as slavery has been despite man's fallen nature, and cannot be justified with reference to Old Testament wars - this essay is particularly interesting in this respect), Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani (an opponent to certain aspects of the Second Vatican Council notes that modern warfare cannot be just), and Romano Amerio (a chapter from the book _Iota Unum_ showing the Catholic position on just war and the need for a confederation of Christian nations).

These essays (along with the companion volume _Neo-CONNED! Again_) offer an excellent introduction to the social teachings of the Catholic church concerning warfare. As it turns out, the just war criteria are not met by those who have pushed for the Iraq War. As such, this war is to be condemned by Catholics. The fact that many Catholics retain allegiance to neoconservativism only shows how deeply in need of an understanding of church tradition they are. Further and finally it should be pointed out that much left wing opposition to war is not truly anti-war in that many of those on the left who opposed the War in Iraq did support the wars of Clinton or others.
The Case Against This Monstrous War  Nov 9, 2005
I must simply quote Thomas Woods here: "I have never recommended a book as strongly as I am recommending "Neoconned" and "Neoconned Again", two new collections of essays that make just about every argument you can think of against the war in Iraq. Now if you're thinking that you've read enough about this subject already, or that such books just aren't your cup of tea, or that you have too much to read as it is, I urge you to abandon such thoughts right away. These books need to be purchased by everyone, right away, this minute, and need to be circulated just as far as possible.

I was asked early last year to contribute an essay to these volumes. At that time I was consumed by the task of writing The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, along with my usual dozen other projects, and unfortunately had to decline. All I can say is, they sure didn't need my essay. Light in the Darkness Publications has assembled one of the most impressive lineups of scholars and commentators I have ever seen on any subject. Many of the names will be familiar to LRC readers; see the list for volume 1 here and volume 2 here.

Worth the price of the two volumes alone is the very lengthy interview with the late, great Jude Wanniski, the supply-side theorist who had such influence on President Ronald Reagan (and who therefore cannot be dismissed so easily as a leftist peacenik). In recent years Wanniski had become - along with all too few other conservatives - skeptical not only of government intervention on the domestic front but of its foreign interventions as well. (Recall Joe Sobran's amusing dictum: if you want the government to intervene domestically you're a liberal, if you want the government to intervene abroad you're a conservative, if you want the government to intervene both domestically and abroad you're a moderate, and if you don't want the government to intervene either domestically or abroad you're an extremist.)

It may sound like an exaggeration to say that just about every major claim made about Iraq and Saddam by the U.S. government since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait has been misleading or simply false, and that the mainstream media has bought into these distortions with nary a peep of opposition, but that's just about the only conclusion one can draw from Wanniski's case. If you think it's an open and shut case that Saddam "gassed his own people," not to mention countless other episodes routinely cited to work us into a frenzy for war, you need to read this. (Saddam did brutally suppress uprisings against his regime, but violence in the service of nationalism seems to disturb the neoconservative conscience only selectively - China and Iraq bad, Russia and the United States [under Lincoln] good.)

Although not every essay touches on the issue explicitly, the first of the two volumes is organized around Catholic just-war theory and what it has to say about the war in Iraq. Now hold on a minute before you say you're non-Catholic and just move along. The principles of Catholic just-war theory, long appropriated and developed by a great many non-Catholics, are widely regarded as useful tools for moral reflection, and you'll be surprised at just how satisfying it is to see how dramatically short the war in Iraq falls on the basis of every one of those principles.

Wanniski also reminds us of the real history of the past 15 years. He recalls the destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure, including the deliberate targeting of water treatment facilities (followed by a sanctions regime that forbade the entry into Iraq of equipment needed to repair them) and other installations vital to civilian life. This was all necessary, say the shills, because Saddam was such a bad person. The sanctions, too, which led to half a million children dead - "worth it," according to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who did not question that figure - were routinely defended on the same grounds. (Wanniski also addresses the "if Saddam hadn't built so many palaces he could have fed his people" argument.) A prosperous, secular country that was liberal by regional standards, and which could boast one of the finest health care systems in the Middle East, was reduced to an economic basket case, and plagued by a nightmare of disease, malnourishment, and sick and deformed children - all as the result of a vain effort to dislodge its leader. If the "Saddam was bad" defense strikes you as insufficient to justify the infliction of this degree of suffering - of which this is the tip of the iceberg - welcome to the human race.

That people who describe themselves as Christians supported this policy is but the icing on the cake. As I recall, there was a Christian theologian of no small importance who condemned the idea that we should "do evil that good may come."

A surprising contributor to these volumes is Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, who headed what in his day was known as the Holy Office of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Ottaviani was known for his outspoken opposition to the new rite of Mass, which he considered an intolerable liberal innovation, so it would not be easy to accuse him of "liberalism." And yet the editors include for us a wonderful and compelling essay of his called "Modern War Is to Be Absolutely Forbidden." Let's see pro-war Catholics wiggle out of this one.

Professor Peter Chojnowski, another traditional Catholic, contributes a surprisingly radical essay on the right of conscientious objection. He reminds us of an important statement by the Ethics Committee of the Catholic Association for International Peace six decades ago. That committee included distinguished and orthodox scholars such as Msgr. Fulton Sheen (who wrote scholarly books early in his career) and Msgr. John A. Ryan. It concluded:

Practically speaking, the task of deciding the justice or injustice of any particular war devolves upon the conscience of the individual conscript or soldier. It is his conscientious duty to decide, as a matter of concrete fact, whether any particular war is aggressive or defensive, and, if defensive, whether it is justified or unjustified, and, in consequence, whether he is free or obliged or forbidden to participate formally in it, whether he is free or obliged or forbidden to be a conscientious objector.

That's another small taste of the hidden history that these books have made available.

Volume 2 is, if anything, more impressive still, and features a wider variety of ideological perspectives. No, I don't much care for some of what Noam Chomsky says, but I am prepared to give a respectful hearing to anyone with the intelligence and the strength of character to denounce wickedness and folly, especially this particular case of wickedness and folly. Featuring an introduction by former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, volume 2 includes dozens of essays by such authors as Claes Ryn, Kirkpatrick Sale, Alexander Cockburn, Gordon Prather, Mark and Louise Zwick, Justin Raimondo, Robert Fisk, and Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski.

Like many Americans, I've grown sad and frustrated at the triumph of neoconservative foreign policy. It was sold to Americans not merely on the basis of lies, but also by means of bumper-sticker slogans trotted out - and dutifully absorbed and repeated by shills determined to live down to every caricature of conservatism ever devised - by a White House that cynically exploited ordinary people's patriotic inclinations in order to prosecute a war whose aims remain obscure to this day.

These books, a small victory in themselves, actually lifted my spirits. It was a great pleasure to see how many serious, intelligent observers were keeping a watchful eye on the Bush administration well before criticism of the Iraq misadventure became fashionable, and to see their case against it laid out with such devastating precision. That case is so powerful and overwhelming that it will leave you more dumbfounded than ever that anyone ever fell for it, that anyone got away with denouncing skeptics of transparent White House propaganda as "unpatriotic," or that so many people believe conservatism involves no higher value than giving intellectual cover to a series of ever-changing, ad hoc rationalizations for war.

These books deserve to become bestsellers. To those who opposed the Iraq war, think of purchasing these books as casting a vote against the War Party, against the war-war choice of Bush/Kerry that we got in 2004, and against a cowardly, servile mainstream media whose mea culpas about pre-war intelligence came, well, rather too late.

If you have friends on the left or the right, or even in the center for that matter, please forward this column to them. The same supposedly "liberal" media that brazenly repeated White House fabrications that a simple Google search could have refuted are unlikely to showcase these books. (Can someone please remind the major conservative publications that the "liberal" media supported this war with a vengeance?) They belong not only in Americans' homes but also in classrooms, libraries (buy a set and donate it!), and wherever intelligent Americans may be found.

Ordinary Americans who were too busy with their own lives to investigate the administration's claims too closely may come to see they've been had, if they haven't realized it already. But the most outspoken of the war's supporters are all but impossible to persuade. Some of them are simply venal, eager to curry favor with the regime no matter how idiotic or intellectually insulting the line they are expected to tow. Others, whether they realize it or not, look at the world as a giant baseball game, with the U.S. government as our team. They'll rush out of the dugout to protest an obviously sound call at first base or a called strike that was in fact well within the strike zone. When in matters of foreign policy their team sets forth a barrage of propaganda they would have laughed at had it come from the Soviet Union in the 1980s or Syria today, they cannot defend it enthusiastically enough. Go, team.

Such a juvenile mentality would have been considered utterly beneath conservatism in, say, the 1940s. At that time, you could find major conservatives who were willing to hold their own government to the same moral standards they applied to others. Even a man known as "Mr. Republican," Senator Robert Taft, could cast a skeptical eye on the Truman administration's early Cold War foreign policy as - no, this isn't a misprint - gratuitously provocative.

Today, even to look for motivations behind 9/11 is to invite accusations of "blaming America" for the attacks, as if a detective seeking a killer's motive should be accused of blaming the victim for his fate. It is next to impossible to render serious judgments about foreign policy when public discourse is dominated by anti-intellectual hysterics calling themselves patriots. These two books do the best job yet.

It may be worth noting, if only in order to underscore the intensity of my feelings about these volumes, that not only do I have no relationship to Light in the Darkness Publications, an imprint of IHS Press (no relation to the Institute for Humane Studies), but I have actually had some public and contentious exchanges with J. Forrest Sharpe, one of the editors of Neoconned, on unrelated matters. I am happy to let bygones be bygones. Sharpe has done his country and the cause of truth a valuable service and deserves only the most enthusiastic support.

It is not possible to do these books justice in a single column. All I can say is that they are of the utmost importance. I cannot urge readers of this column strongly enough: put aside any inclination you may have to let these volumes pass you by, or even to put off buying them until a later date. Buy them right now. You will not regret it."

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