Today the Vanguardia is leading off, again, with the Church's role in the opposition to a war on Saddam. The Pope is sending the former Papal nuncio in Washington, Pio Laghi, another Latin European in a high place in the Church, to jaw at President Bush for a while; the Pope may go to the UN to speak on April 11. Enric Juliana, Catholic bigot, says in an analysis piece, "Maybe many (antiwar) young people will suffer from a great disappointment soon, but they will keep in their memories the image of an old man dressed in white, who is at their side with the valiant stubbornness of an adolescent. They will have time to learn that the Pope of Rome was, in the year 2003, the "uncontrolled factor" (i.e. loose cannon) by the fine strategists of the American Enterprise Institute, and that the Vatican and republican France shared a side for once in history, so that the astute Dominique de Villepin, the hussar who enjoys the suave perfume of the violet, Napoleon's favorite flower, was not the only hero of the cause of peace."
Yecch. That's revolting. The Pope is the man who has declared a day of fasting and prayer in favor of "peace". He's taken a side and that side is that of the anti-American, pro-Saddam international left. The Pope is supporting a cruel and dangerous tyrant in the name of peace. There goes his place in history. The man who would have been remembered as one of the heroes of the struggle against Communism will now be remembered as a partisan of Saddam Hussein. The Kurt Waldheim episode had been forgotten; it will now be revived. Glenn Reynolds is ripping the Pope and the Church a new one, and he's not being entirely fair about it, but if you've got Glenn Reynolds mad it means that you've lost the American center. Reynolds is not always right but he is no radical on anything but guns, and he's plugged in to what middle-class, middle-income, Middle America think. You don't want to lose these people, and I think the Church has lost them.
I wouldn't be hammering on this so much if the Vangua weren't so insistent.
The eight Cataloony human shields left in Iraq (the rest, showing admirable good sense, got smart and took off after being treated to too many Potemkin tours of Baghdad; those remaining are hardcore ultra-leftists) will not be sent to a hospital. Instead they will be placed at an oil refinery, two electric power plants, a silo, and a water treatment plant. I don't think we're going to hit any of these places because we'd just have to build them again after the war. Meanwhile, most of the Brits went home after Rumsfeld made it clear that their presence didn't matter a damned thing to him. That is, when they heard they might actually get killed if they stayed, they cravenly fled back home. Cluck, cluck, cluck. Cock-a-doodle-doo! Bawk! Bawk! The Spanish Communist Party has sent a delegation to Baghdad. They weren't allowed to talk to anyone in the opposition, but they did get a meeting with Tareq Aziz in which they denounced, like, war and stuff. Maybe if we attack right now we can blow them straight to hell. It really wouldn't bother me if those guys never came back, and if they get killed the cause of death ought to be recorded as "suicide".
The Red Brigades are back in Italy, middle-class punks, wannabe revolutionaries, just plain assholes. Two of them shot it out with the cops on a Rome-Florence express; a policeman and an asshole were killed. Another policeman was wounded. The second asshole, a woman, has been arrested.
Jacques Chirac has announced a "new Franco-Algerian alliance" in Algiers in a "passionate speech" before the parliament. At least 100,000 people have been killed in Algeria since the 1992 military coup. More than 100 people were massacred by either government troops, paramilitaries, or Islamist radicals in the first week of January 2003 alone. 7000 people are currently listed as "disappeared" by no less than Human Rights Watch, not suspicious of pro-Americanism. Representatives of the Berber opposition in the Cabilia region east of Algiers were not permitted to meet with Chirac. And these people dare to criticize the Americans. France has been directly responsible for what has happened in Algeria both before and since they lost the civil war in 1962. Algeria was a French colony for more than 130 years. During the 1954-62 war both sides murdered and tortured civilians left and right, tens of thousands of them, and then the French ran off and left their Algerian allies to be massacred. No modern colonial power has ever behaved worse except for the Belgians in the Congo.
They actually had a cool anti-war protest here in Barcelona. First there was a manifesto that was a typical anti-Yankee tantrum, but then they read Lysistrata, the comedy by Aristophanes in which the women of a city at war refuse sex to their husbands until they stop the war. Well-known local actors, to whom I will give no publicity, were the readers. That's pretty classy; I much prefer Greek theater to the normal fare at a demo.