January 31, 2005

THE "PRO-LIFE" LIE

By Daniel C. Maguire

People should be judged by the ideals they most loudly profess.

O.K., "Pro-Lifers," here goes.

Archbishop Tutu (would that we had even one bishop like him in the United
States!) writes: "Some 2 million children have died in dozens of wars
during the past decade...This is more than three times the number of
battlefield deaths of American soldiers in all their wars since
1776...Today, civilians account for more than 90 percent of war
casualties."

Children are the prime casualties of modern war. As Professor Jeffrey
Sachs of Columbia University writes: "Children in urban war zones die in
vast numbers, not just due to violence, but also from diarrhea,
respiratory infections and other causes, owing to unsafe drinking water,
lack of refrigerated foods, and acute shortages of blood and basic
medicines in clinics and hospitals." Pregnant women and their fetuses
suffer from these same lethal deprivations and pregnant women and their
fetuses are being bombed in their homes.

If you who sanctimoniously wear the "pro-life" banner were really
pro-life-and pro-fetus--- that would bother you and we would be hearing
your voices raised powerfully in peace protests around the world. We
don't. Therefore we must conclude that you are not "pro-life" and that if
you say you are, you are liars. (Those who disapprove of all abortions
and also oppose war must find another motto: "pro-life" has been coopted
on the American scene by right wing militarists.)

American military leaders in Iraq have been quoted as saying "we don't do
body counts." (Interesting, since even "the mob" does body counts.) The
respected British journal The Lancet does do body-counts; they counted
the bodies of civilians killed in Iraq. They concluded that there are
more than 100,000 civilians deaths, most due to U.S. military action.

President Bush is responsible for those murders because he entered this
war without the Declaration of War that the constitution (Article one,
Section 8) requires. A cowardly Congress in a week of infamy (October
3-10, 2002) limply handed over their war-declaring rights to him, giving
the president open-ended authority to use unrestricted power, which could
mean nuclear weapons, whenever he alone deemed it appropriate.

How did those who call them selves "pro-life" respond to this appalling
assault on the Constitution and on life. They voted en masse for George
W. Bush, the slaughter-master of Iraq, the killer of civilian men, women
and children, including pregnant women and their fetuses in a war that
Pope John Paul called a "defeat for humanity." Mr. Bush said he saw their
vote as an endorsement of his war. He was right. The election was a
chance to vote against that war, but, overwhelmingly the so called
"pro-life" vote was for war.

Can you understand why we call you liars?

Sister Joan Chittister writes of a front page, large four-color picture
in The Irish Times. It showed a small Iraqi girl. "Her little body was a
coil of steel. She sat knees up, cowering, screaming madly into the dark
night. Her white clothes and spread hands and small tight face were
blood-spattered. The blood was the blood of her father and mother, shot
through the car window in Tal Afar by American soldiers while she sat
beside her parents in the car, her four brothers and sisters in the back
seat."

Indifference to this and to all those war crimes like it, on the part of
anyone is criminal and sinful in the extreme. Indifference to it by those
who canonize themselves with the "pro-life" insignia shown by their
recent vote for more of it, is even worse. Such hypocrisy should be
called by its name. Its name is fraud. Its name is lying, lying under the
very banner of "life."

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