National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Wassup at America?

It was painful enough to read an article at the Jesuit-run magazine America in which David Carroll Cochran wondered if soldiers could be killed on the field of battle, using the example of a young Joseph Ratzinger during World War II. Newsflash to Mr. Cochran: The morally troubling aspect of warfare in WWII was that the fighting was not confined to combatants. 

But, worse than painful is this article by Margot Patterson which rehearses the tired moral equivalence of days gone by, making excuses for Vladimir Putin's thuggery in Ukraine and elsewhere. Patterson writes, "Warnings of the provocation to Russia engendered by NATO's continued expansion eastward have gone unheeded for 15 years." Of course, NATO was invited in to Poland and the Baltic States, it did not invade them. She asks: "Should we see the crisis in Ukraine as the Western powers of light arrayed against the Russian powers of darkness?" Well, I do not think it is so much the "Western powers" as it is the Ukrainian people themselves who wish to stay as far away as possible from Putin's oligarchy, where basic democratic rights are trampled, and embrace the West. That is what got this whole crisis started, yes, the refusal of the pro-Putin regime to embrace the West more fully? 

The moral equivalence Patterson floats is typical of the "blame the West" foolishness I associate with the worst ideological excesses of the twentieth century. It is a thing I had hoped we had gotten past. But, it is worse than that. Putin is a thug by any standards and if Patterson wants to speak to some Russian civil rights activists, they are a bit hard to find because so many are in prison, but they can be found. Making excuses for Putin (by invoking Toynbee no less!)  is itself a moral failure. I am unsure why America would publish this and I fear what is next? "My friend Assad, a misunderstood man." "Boko Haram - They're nice to their pets!" "Hugo Chavez - we miss you!" 

NCR-issue-christmas-icon.jpgGive a Christmas gift that lasts all year. Give the gift of NCR!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

December 5-18, 2014

12-5-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.