Institut sv. Josefa    



Michal Semín

I cannot imagine a serious discussion about the war in Iraq and its ideological background without reading first the two impressive volumes published by Light in the Darkness Publications (a new imprint of IHS Press), entitled Neo-CONNED! (Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq) and Neo-CONNED! Again (Hypocrisy, Lawlessness and the Rape of Iraq). They comprise of a dozens of articles, written by virtually a “Who’s Who” of the anti-war camp.

This alone would be a sufficient reason for purchasing the books and digesting the arguments conveyed against the hubristic policies of contemporary American political elites. But there is something very special about this impressive collection of writings which makes it even more important: it provides a tool for introducing the readers outside of the Church to Her teachings just war and just foreign policy, based on Revelation, sacred Tradition, and the Natural Law.

It is also, however, important for the Catholic opposition to this fateful war to read and understand the concerns of the secular front, which is wrong in many respects, but right in terms of its judgment upon this particular enterprise. Has there been a better chance in the recent past for us, traditional Catholics, to engage in a publicly acknowledged debate as the present one on the adventure in Middle East? These books are going to be widely read by minds detached from the graces of Faith, and we can only pray that this occasion is going to trigger their interest in looking for more answers to today’s hot social issues.

Just imagine all the secular opponents of the war contemplating the well-reasoned (and thus able-to-be-grasped-by-anyone-with-an-open-mind)contribution of Fr. Juan Carlos Iscara, the professor of history from Winona (the SSPX priestly seminary); the theological studies on war of Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Prof. Romano Amerio (the author of the justifiably famous analyses of the postconciliar detour from clear Catholic thought Iota Unum); and the historical review of Prof. William Cavanaugh, which examines the history of the Church’s teaching and practice on the authority of the hierarchy in matters of war and peace! With all due respect to my beloved contributors to The Remnant, Catholic Family News, and The Angelus, cannot Prof. John Rao and Dr. Peter Chojnowski hope for and expect a better exposure of their solid and traditionally Catholic approach to the morality of modern warfare beyond the boundaries of our numerically small camp, without selling away on the matters of Faith and morals?

It is good to see in one publication authors from the Catholic traditional press with the publishers of conservative periodicals (Thomas Fleming from Chronicles, E. Michael Jones from Culture Wars, and Paul Likoudis from The Wanderer) agreeing at least on something! This is more important than anything.  For too long people of good will have been fighting each other instead of fighting the enemy.  The enemy uses our infighting to move toward his ultimate goal, as Solange Hertz so aptly puts it in the last five words of her article entitled “Global Democracy and the Rise of the King of Darkness”: to get rid of God. 

Each contribution is preceded with a one-page introduction by the editors, which is very helpful for getting a first grasp of the topics discussed and the context in which the particular analyst perceives the issue of war and the ideology from which that perception stems. Not by the chance are the books titled Neo-CONNED!. As every reader of The Remnant knows by now, American foreign policy was hijacked by a group called neoconservatives. There is nothing conservative about them (Paul Gottfried tackles this aspect of things in his piece in the first volume), as is pretty clear from the ideological layout of the neocon vision, issued by a frequent contributor to the National Review, Michael Ledeen:

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

For a reader with even a remnant of Catholic sensibility, this reads as being part more of Alta Vendita than a conservative foreign policy grounded in the Christian tradition of just war. Do we, traditional Catholics, want to serve the interests of a clan waging war with the goal of “tearing down the old order”? Don’t we have enough of that, only looking to the ruins within the Church herself, brought about by the same mentality by our postconciliar churchmen?

As someone who writes from a little country in the heart of Europe, whose “old order” was torn down by President Wilson and his “Dream Team” after World War I, I can bring to your attention what comes after such a storm: destruction of civilization and its replacement by sheer force, hiding behind the Great Will of the Zeitgeist. Communism would never have appeared on the face of the earth without the previous destruction brought about by the false, messianic agenda of political and social progressivism. Neoconservatism, despite the conflict between itself and Communism during the Cold War, has much more in common with its former enemy than with Christendom and any possible attempts to revive the idea in our modern circumstances. As someone who lived through the latest phase of Marxism-Leninism in its Soviet mode, has been expelled from university and jailed, I can smell the rat. The war in Iraq (and possible new, future wars), led by the neoconservatives, Zionists, and other parties with a vested interest in the Middle East conflict, is not only not a war to crush Islam, but it is rather going to bring about a state of affairs that will make our time look sunny and rosy.

Catholics and all open-minded men of good will must read these books for a full conceptual grasp of what the tragedy of the war in Iraq implies for the rule of law, fairness and decency, and the moral law as enunciated by the Church and codified by the Faith.