Metropolitan Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Church’s equivalent of Secretary of State, had strong words against the coming US attack on Syria. Excerpt:
“Once again,” Hilarion warned, “thousands of lives will be sacrificed on the altar of an imaginary democracy;” among them, according to the Metropolitan, there are, first of all, “Christians, about whose fate no one cares.”
They are at “risk of becoming hostages to the situation and the main victims of radical extremist forces, who, with the help of the United States, will come to power.”
Christians, about whose fate no one cares. No one at senior levels of this Administration, and very few in Washington, it seems. You watch: we’re going to do this thing, and if it brings the rebels to power, they are going to do to the Christian churches and monasteries in Syria — among the oldest in the world — exactly what Muslim fighters did to Christian churches and monasteries in Serbia. And that will not matter one bit to most people in this overwhelmingly Christian country, the United States of America. Don’t get me wrong; I would be against this if there weren’t a single Christian in Syria. But the fact that there are millions of them, and they’re going to face slaughter and exile if the rebels win, makes it even more outrageous that the United States is taking part in this.
It matters to Rusty Reno, the Catholic editor of First Things, who writes to express his skepticism over US plans. Excerpt:
The first thing to say concerns the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. This is being treated as a bright-line violation of global norms that in itself requires retaliation. Requires? One of the principles of just-war thinking is probability of success. It does no good—and would be morally culpable—to launch strikes that are unlikely to achieve a good outcome, which in this case means the thorough defeat of the Assad regime. For only that outcome would create a deterrent for the future use of banned weapons.
I think that outcome very unlikely. … I’m no pacifist, not even close, but I’m opposed to symbolic killing. I’m opposed to launching cruise missiles in order to “show resolve” or “send a message.” If we’re going to do something in Syria, then it needs to be part of a plan that aims at consequences that makes sense as part of a larger strategy of imposing at least the negative peace of an end to conflict in Syria.
When the United States launches those missiles this week, it will be striking blows for the coming Islamic fundamentalist regime in Syria, which will entail the elimination of the ancient Christian community in Syria. But hey, because Iran. Your tax dollars at work.
UPDATE: And it’s not even going to earn Obama and the US any love from the Arab Muslims, as Jonathan S. Tobin points out in Commentary:
While the Arab League is not the most consequential institution in the world, its opposition to Obama’s plans is telling. As the New York Times notes:
The vast majority of Arabs are emotionally opposed to any Western military action in the region no matter how humanitarian the cause, and no Arab nation or leader has publicly endorsed such a step, even in countries like the Persian Gulf monarchies whose diplomats for months have privately urged the West to step in. In the region, only Turkey has pledged to support intervention.
This is important not so much because it illustrates the hypocrisy of the Arab League and the opinion of the so-called Arab street but because it demonstrates the utter lack of success of President Obama’s efforts to appease them during the course of his administration. Not his Cairo speech which sought to validate Muslim myths of victimization at the hands of the West, nor his fights with Israel, his efforts to work with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or his withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan have convinced anyone there that Obama’s America is any less of an inherent enemy to the Arabs than Bush’s America.
Just as Muslims claimed that American wars fought to save Muslim lives in Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq were really expressions of American imperialism, now Obama’s war in Syria is treated the same way. If the injustice of this charge rankles the president, he should remember that Bush had just as much if not more reason to complain of unfair treatment abroad and at home from critics like his successor.
So we are going to spend our money killing Syrians, destabilizing Syria, setting the stage for the murder and exile of Arab Christians, and the Arab Muslims will hate us even more than they do now. Plus the Russians. What, exactly, is in this for the US?