Take it serious: Tis the "Rowan" articl

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Posted by andreas from dtm2-t8-1.mcbone.net ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 at 10:01AM :

In Reply to: Hey info freaks: What's wrong here ? posted by andreas from dtm2-t8-1.mcbone.net ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 at 9:44AM :

Little help: Tis the "Rowan" article

I.e. this is the original article referred to by the Irish Times's writer when presenting Dr. Rowans (new Archbishop of Canterbury) statements on Iraqi Christians and the risks they have to face in case of a US/UK led war on Iraq.

Take your time for your own analyses of these articles.

Here my own recommendations to you AS ASSYRIANS:
Take the dangers of media manipulations extremely serious!

... and:

Nobody said that a Christian HAS to be an idiot or jackass:

"Be wise as serpents and harmless
as doves." [Mt 10:16]

It's up to you


'The states of the region are not at the moment models of political stability,' says Williams. 'Any action that presents Saddam Hussein as some kind of Muslim martyr will strengthen the hand of extreme Islamist groups in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia.'

Words Against War

England’s incoming Archbishop of Canterbury speaks out against an assault on Iraq

By William Underhill

Nov. 1 — As the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams is already courting controversy.

WILLIAMS, WHO TAKES office next month as leader of the 70 million Anglicans around the globe, has spoken out against an American and British assault on Iraq. His position reflects the stand taken by Church of England bishops, who have also publicly expressed their concern about conflict in the Middle East. At 52, the archbishop is the youngest to head the church in 200 years. He spoke to NEWSWEEK’s William Underhill from his office in Wales, where he is currently serving as archbishop. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: You have signed a petition describing a possible attack on Iraq as “immoral and illegal.” Why?
Rowan Williams: I think the word “illegal” was used in connection with the way both the “just-war” tradition of the church and international law discourage pre-emptive action in the absence of some distinct act of aggression. And it’s “immoral” because in classic Christian philosophy and ethics, prudence is part of morality and the calculation of consequences has to be a very important part of the decision-making process. That’s apart from the obvious issue of civilian casualties.

What consequences do you fear?
One is that the states of the region are not at the moment models of political stability, and any action that presents Saddam Hussein quite falsely as some kind of Muslim martyr will strengthen the hand of extreme Islamic groups in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Also, Christians in the region without exception say their position as minorities would be put seriously at threat. We have [already] seen extremist reaction against Christians in Pakistan, so there is very understandable anxiety. One more thing. It’s a very long shot, but India and Pakistan are currently in very delicate relations, and pre-emptive action against a possible aggressor may not be the message that we want to give out.

Are there any circumstances in which intervention would be justifiable?
If a clear act of aggression had taken place, which could be met by some sort of concerted, coalition-based response, including other Muslim states. One aspect of the Afghan action last year was the extreme care that was taken to draw in Muslim states, to avoid the impression of any sort of anti-Muslim action. Also, if the United Nations were to authorize an action based on a very clear, very visible calculation of public and regional risk.

Is there a danger that you are surrendering your own judgment to that of the United Nations?
That’s why I would still have some questions about just giving blanket [approval]. I would regard United Nations approbation as a necessary—rather than a sufficient—condition.

Isn’t there a case for saying that the people of Iraq deserve to be liberated from an oppressive regime, just as much as the Afghans from the Taliban?
There is a very strong case for saying that, and that is where the difficult calculations come in. If the price of liberating the people of Iraq is the setting of what could be dangerous precedents for international relations by ill-advised military action, you would have to think twice about it. Secondly, the saving of the people of Iraq requires investment in long-term nation-building. We have a country whose political institutions are rudimentary and whose physical infrastructure has been systematically undermined for a decade and whose technology has largely been at the service of attempts to restore its military capacity. It is not a six-month job. I would be slightly easier in my mind if I saw clearer evidence of how this task was going to be taken forward. I have no complacency about the condition of the Iraqi people. It’s appalling, and Saddam Hussein is a monstrous tyrant. The temptation is to be seen to be doing something.

The church was accused of appeasement in its attitude to Hitler, no?
That was a case in which you were dealing with what you might call old-fashioned modern wars. In the 1930s, we were looking at conflicts of typical sovereign states, conflicts that had their origins in the breach of clear treaty obligations that bound us to action in circumstances and where the localizing of the threat was very clear and concrete. Since at least 1950—the beginning of the nuclear age, broadly speaking—we have dealt with a world where conflict is much less localized and much less bound-up with the activities of sovereign states. Quite a careful distinction has to be drawn between the Europe of 1938 and the atmosphere of the postmodern environment in which we stand, where because of information technology and military technology and economics, the consequences of particular reactions to military crises are so much more complicated.

Both Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush are professing Christians. They must be making their own calculations. How would you persuade them that your calculations were superior?

There is a perfectly real moral passion about the atrocity of Saddam Hussein’s regime—something to which we have woken up rather later in the day. I would want to say to them, and it may sound strange coming from a cleric, but morality is about calculation, as well. It is not about the grand gesture. I would also want to talk about how, in the medium- to long-term, you combat a tyrannous and oppressive regime by building positive alternatives and setting up positive images and openings in neighbor states. That is a proper Christian concern because you are talking—among other things—about concepts of common security that have very deep roots in Christian tradition.

Are you concerned by the harsh public criticisms of Islam by the Christian right in America?
It worries me a great deal that caricatures of Islam should be peddled. One thing that emerges very clearly to me in interfaith discussions in this part of Britain has been the clarity of a great many Muslim teachers—and they don’t get much exposure in the media—about the incompatibility of terrorism and the Qur’an. I have heard some extremely eloquent expositions of human rights and human nature in the Qur’an. I sometimes think that the further away from large ordinary Muslim communities that Christian commentators are, the more caricatured their views become.

You were in Manhattan on September 11. How has that affected your thinking?
I was in an office block belonging to Trinity Church about 200 yards from the Twin Towers. It has colored my feelings to the extent that it is to me a terrible thought that the suffering I saw could be inflicted by us on others. That’s a gut reaction, but one that I felt very strongly as we were being evacuated from the building that morning amid a cloud of rubble and the collapse of the second tower. It also prompted me and many of the Americans I was with to ask—not in an exonerating way—where such hatred comes from. The decisions terrorists make may be evil, but you still have to ask where they come from.

Did you have similar qualms over military action against the Taliban?
I did. Partly because I thought it would have been at least interesting to see if the Taliban’s bluff could have been called at the point when they said they would have been prepared to hand over Osama Bin Laden to an Islamic court. It would have been a very interesting challenge to see if some international institution could have put together a plausible Islamic court. There were alternatives that we were perhaps reluctant to explore. As it happened, the war was briefer than I expected and its outcome—at least in the short-term—was more successful. My inner jury on nation-building is still out.

© 2002 Newsweek, Inc.

-- andreas
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