The National Catholic Review
No One Now Believes

Why We Must Withdraw From Iraq, by Msgr. Robert W. McElroy, (4/30) is an excellent argument against war in general; but before we carry out his suggested prudently crafted American military withdrawal from Iraq, we should make sure that Iran, Syria, Osama bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and so on read and concur with the article. Then we can all relax.

No one now believes that the pre-emptive attack against Iraq was a good move. Many at the time believed that Iraq posed a greater threat to us than Osama bin Laden did a few short years prior to the disasters of Sept. 11, 2001. So our leaders made the best decision based on what we thought we knew. Unfortunately we cannot take back our move; so now we must make the wisest choices possible to ameliorate the situationnot only in Iraq, but also in the entire Mideastwith the least harm to all concerned, especially those Iraqis who have been our allies. Before even contemplating our prudent withdrawal, we should examine all likely consequences, one of which is the likelihood that any potential future ally would hesitate to place confidence in our loyalty and commitment.

Martin Kinnavy
Warren, Ohio

Uncertain Success

Msgr. Robert W. McElroy begins his discussion as to why the war in Iraq is not justified by saying that the just cause argued by the administration is transformational democratization (4/30). Rather, I believe, it is the prevention of wholesale slaughter of Sunnis by Shiites and Shiites by Sunnis. This is certainly a just cause. Further, America’s intention in this war is now exactly that, namely, the prevention of the slaughter of innocent human lives. I agree with Monsignor McElroy that we need to do everything to initiate dialogue and negotiation, and that the question regarding the likelihood of success is uncertain.

John McCarthy
Weston, Mass.

Justify a Withdrawal

Msgr. Robert W. McElroy’s article on the Iraq war (April 30) is an excellent analysis of the four just-war principles that need to be applied to judge the validity of this controversial calamity. Sadly for all of usAmericans, Iraqis and world citizenscontinuing the conflict cannot be morally justified on any basis. Nor, as Monsignor McElroy stated well, should opponents of the war be the ones required to justify a withdrawal. Unfortunately, when our country departs from its founding principles by pursuing an imperialistic foreign policy, the results prove to be costly, wide-spread and probably long-lasting. Pur-suing Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Afghanistan can be defended. The same cannot be said for invading Iraq.

As a former member of St. Gregory’s parish in San Mateo, a graduate of the Jesuit University of San Francisco and a Marine officer in the Korean War, I applaud Monsignor McElroy’s analysis and conclusions.

Robert Hanson
Rancho Murieta, Calif.

Inflammatory Language

I read with pleasure your current comment Unrepentant Media (4/30), on the Duke lacrosse team incident and the unaccountable journalism of personal destruction. I thought how good it is that we have insightful observers trying to improve public discussion.

Then I read the next editorial, Corporate Hall of Shame and you do exactly what you just criticized others in the press of doing. You give credence to a zealot group’s undocumented allegations, in this case about corporationsbut apparently without doing any fact-checking of your own.

First you scared me: my throat became parched at the image of Coca Cola Company drying up sources of fresh water all over the world.... Then you provided the facts: Water bottling...is one of the least regulated industries in the United States and is less safe than tap water.

As a former employee of a federal regulatory agency, I know that bottled water and tap water are in fact regulated, as much or more than other products, under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and both are required under these laws to meet the same standards of safety for contaminants.

I think there are a lot of things wrong with bottled waterthe price mark-up for the water is over 1,000 percent; the empty bottles are everywhere, are unsightly and environmentally polluting; but certainly two federal laws and several pages for bottled water in the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 165.110) is proof enough that it is indeed regulated by the federal government, in addition to local health authorities.

You earned a place in the hall of shame for this performance. As a Jesuit magazine, you should try to raise the quality and accuracy of public discussion and not amplify the inflammatory language that characterizes so much of today’s political and social debate.

Michael Eck
Washington, D.C.

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