While Bush conversed with the Pope about the "worrisome situation in Iraq" expressing concern for the remaining Christians in Iraq he apparently failed to mention that the US has been driving them out. It might have slipped Bush’s attention, but it is impossible that the Pope was unaware of what has been happening in recent months. The US and British forces have been evicting monks from monastaries to make quarters for their troops.
"Bush was concerned that the society that was evolving would not tolerate the Christian religion," Bush explained at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi during the president’s swing through Europe. MSNBC
A reporter asked Bush if he and the Pope discussed if Iraq is a "just war"... The president said their was no discussion of "just war," a Christian doctrine that says war must have a reasonable chance of success of not doing more harm than good. According to the doctrine, war must be a last resort, launched in response to unjust aggression and civilians must be safeguarded.
We didn't talk about "just war." He did express deep concern about the Christians inside Iraq, that he was concerned that the society that was evolving would not tolerate the Christian religion. And I assured him we're working hard to make sure that people lived up to the constitution, the modern constitution voted on by the people that would honor people from different walks of life and different attitudes. MSNBC
Where in their conversation was the expressed desire that the war come to an end? In his concern for the Christians remaining in Iraq what did the Pope say about the US driving Christians out of monasteries and churches to make more barracks?
Now it transpires that America's crusading Christian soldiers are evicting the monks from the monasteries to make quarters for occupation troops, according to Azzaman, ( http://www.azzaman.com courtesy http://www.uruknet.info ) Churches too are being evacuated. Patriarch Emanuel Deli, Head of the Chaldean Community in Iraq, is quoted as saying: "U.S. and Iraqi officials are responsible ... They have insulted and humiliated our temples and churches", he said, pleading with the international community to intervene.
U.S. troops, reports Azzaman, "have turned one of Baghdad's largest monasteries, where the Chaldeans had a theology college and seminary, into a military barracks". Nearly every report on soldiers or their families refers to their unwavering faith in God sustaining them in their missions and if they become casualties, belief that they are now with their Maker. Are Iraqi Christians, established in Iraq since the time of Christ, children of a lesser God? Are their rich holy places, revered by them and by their Muslim neighbours suddenly not sacrosanct - some of which have stood for over a thousand years and have survived all of Mesopotamia's bloody invasions and vicissitudes?
Another violation of the Geneva Conventions, another war crime:
The 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, strengthened by the Additional Protocols of 1977, is specific and prohibits: "... acts of hostility (against) places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples". Article 53 also prohibits to use of such property "in support of the military effort".
After World War II, several Nazi officials were sentenced to death for violations of cultural property and the more recent Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal (ICTY) was also empowered to prosecute those deemed responsible for the "seizure of, destruction or willful damage to institutions dedicated to religion, charity, education ... historic monuments".
The Geneva Conventions, declared quaint and obsolete by this administration’s mouthpiece Gonzales serving at the pleasure of his president. This time the war crime is against Christians, the most minority of populations in Iraq.