The bombings in London have revealed once again how far removed the Rove/Cheney/Bush Administration is philosophically from the Christian creed to which so many of their supporters want to be devoted. Mr. Bush made remarks the beginning of this week in Quantico, Virginia that made clear how little he respects Jesus' message of love for friends and enemies. Mr. Bush said, "These kind of people who blow up subways and buses are not people you can negotiate with, or reason with, or appease. In the face of such adversaries there is only one course of action: We will continue to take the fight to the enemy, and we will fight until this enemy is defeated."
In other words, there is no use trying to reach out to aggrieved peoples in the Middle East and beyond, who have had their petroleum resources excavated by companies and governments that provide so little to the common people in those parts of the world. The words of Mr. Bush's speech writers are meant to reinforce a perception of insanity and total evil on the part of the adversary, thus supporting the Administration's policy of pursuing more killing in more countries rather than understanding and responding to root causes.
Mr. Bush added, "The terrorists remain dangerous, but from the mountains of Afghanistan to the border regions of Pakistan, to the Horn of Africa, and to the islands of the Philippines, our coalition is bringing our enemies to justice, and bringing justice to our enemies. We will keep the terrorists on the run until they have no place left to hide." The problem is evident in the words written for him: violence in all these places, which seems to be spreading further every year, represents the most predictable of human responses. Violence begets violence. The United States is far less safe now than it was before the invasion of Iraq. As widely reported, Iraq has become a training ground for those who hate the US, in a way it never was prior to the invasion.
Jesus got this one right. In the Sermon on the Mount, he said, "It is not those who say ‘Lord, Lord' that enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of my Father." (Matthew 7:21). And what is the Father's will? "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34). Even the pragmatists among us must now accede that Jesus' advice is also the practical solution to our problems in the Middle East. Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged as much in his remarks to Parliament contemporaneous to Mr. Bush's speech to the FBI. Mr. Blair sought conciliation with the Muslim world. He recognized that bombings like those in the London transport system cannot be stopped with intimidation and more killing in Iraq.
As Catholic Christians, we have a duty to tell the truth and to remind the world that one cannot claim to be a Christian while denying the central tenet of our faith. But even at a practical level, as long as the cycle of hatred is fueled by Manichean extremists like Rove, Cheney and Bush, the suffering will not only continue but will expand.