The Holy Father said today that military action is not an appropriate response to terrorism.
The spread of terrorism across the world “calls for firmness and decision, in fighting the workers of death,” the Pope said. But he quickly added that the decisive action against terrorism should not take the form of a military campaign. “Violence begets violence,” he said. “War must always be considered a defeat: a defeat of reason and of humanity.” He argued that world leaders should seek to root out the primary causes of terrorism, “especially misery, desperation and the emptiness in hearts.”
John Paul II urged international leaders “not to give in to the logic of violence, vendetta, and hatred, but rather to persevere in dialogue.” He concluded by expressing the hope that “men soon make a spiritual and cultural leap forward to outlaw war!”
I’m sorry, but that sounds awfully naive. If we passed international laws to outlaw war, does anyone think that would stop men like Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein from continuing their reigns of terror? Would it have stopped the massacre on 9/11 or in Madrid or in Beslan? Dialogue and changing the conditions that create violent men are fine, but that changes the future. We must still take firm action to stop the men who perpetrate evil today. If we had followed the Holy Father’s advice back in 1571 when the Turks were invading Europe, we would all be Muslims today. It also seems to contradict the Holy Father’s own position back in 2001 when he supported US military action in Afghanistan.