When in Rome - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
When in Rome

Rome, Italy — European liberals are gloating over the scenes of anti-American discord in Iraq. But why do they think these scenes prove that Iraq wasn’t liberated? Ingratitude toward American liberators should come as no surprise to them. They behaved the same, though less starkly, after World War II. Does their anti-Americanism prove that Nazi-occupied Europe wasn’t liberated by the U.S.?

Were the Iraq crisis left to the European liberals, a mass murderer and menace to world peace would still be in power. This is the bottom line, and European liberals won’t acknowledge it. They just change the subject to the nettlesome problems in Iraq, as if these problems were created by the U.S. rather than by Saddam Hussein.

Vendors in Rome continue to sell the ubiquitous rainbow antiwar flag. Have they not noticed that Saddam Hussein’s regime has collapsed? The grime and graffiti in Rome is worthy of the Baghdad looters that so distress European liberals. Much has been made of the lawlessness in Iraq. Why aren’t European liberals equally distressed about the lawlessness in their streets? They get worked up over looting in Baghdad but do little to stop the outrageous defacing of historic buildings and churches in their own backyard. In Milan, “Bush the assassin” appears on an elegant apartment building, and at least one old church has been entirely abandoned to the graffiti gangs. In Rome there is plenty of graffiti gibberish about fascism. The leftists dress Italian President Silvio Berlusconi up in some of their literature as Benito Mussolini.

Italy’s capital needs a Rudy Giuliani. The widespread graffiti in Rome is depressing. The complaints about the barbarism of war are coming from barbarians. Europeans liberals don’t recognize the enemies of peace abroad or at home. There is a lot of straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel.

Even L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, is a tribune for foolish antiwar protests. In the copy I picked up this week, a Good Friday homily is printed which begins with a reflection on a Beatles song about “living life in peace.” The homilist was Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, described as “Preacher of the Papal Household.” He said the song “contains a longing for something good and holy which we should not ignore, no matter how mistaken the ways it suggests to achieve it.”

“It is clear to us today that the only way to peace is by destroying enmity, not the enemy (should we destroy half the population of the world dissatisfied with the way things are? And how do we identify the enemy where terrorism is concerned?”), he said.

Casting Christ as a pacifist — though Christ never condemned just Roman centurions and used parables that assumed the just use of force against aggressors — Cantalamessa said the “world order itself demands today that Christ’s way to peace replace Augustus’s. The modern conscience can no longer accept what Virgil put to his fellow citizens as their calling: ‘Tu regere imperio populos Romane, memento’ [your task, Rome, is to be ruler of the peoples]. Every nation has the right to govern itself.”

Notice the suggestion here that America is an Augustan imperium. And notice the curious respect for the modern conscience. Since when has the Catholic Church considered the modern conscience a reliable guide to right and wrong?

While churchmen talked about Beatles songs and patted themselves on the back for their modern conscience and commitment to peace, the American military advanced real peace through the use of just force against a wicked tyrant. The European liberals who talk the most about peace know the least about achieving it.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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