23 May 2004

The Defense of 'Command Influence'

Secretary Rumsfeld has hinted that some form of compensation may be paid to those who suffered the abuses. But money will not redeem either the ethical lapses or the systemic failures that precluded appreciation of the seriousness of what had occurred among the most senior elected and appointed officials and uniformed officers.

In his 1963 encyclical �Pacem in Terris� (Peace on Earth), Pope John XIII sic wrote that �every fundamental human right draws its indestructible moral force from the natural law, which in granting it imposes a corresponding obligation. Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget or neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other.�

That this is how countries in the Muslim world and beyond regard the U.S. is not surprising. One can only hope that the White House and the Pentagon have taken the message to heart.

If the White House and the Pentagon understood Pacem in terris they would not have invaded Iraq.

NB Pacem in terris was issued by John XXIII not John XIII. Just for the record there was an antipope who reigned as John XXIII in the fifteenth century and the name was not used again until Cardinal Roncalli's election in 1958.

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