Friday, April 11

GI who pulled trigger share anguish of 2 deaths.

Corporal Mager had pulled his helmet up to listen, and his face tightened. He appeared to accept the recounting that the two men killed were innocent. No Iraqi made any move to approach him, and nobody shouted any abuse. The men at the grave went on digging, their white flags blowing in the morning breeze. Corporal Mager watched, and appeared lost in thought. Then he looked up, with a sadness that was beyond affectation, and asked that a message be passed to the Iraqis, a message for himself, and for America. "Tell them the fact that I pulled the trigger that killed some of these people makes me very unhappy," he said. "Tell them that America did not want things to happen this way. Tell them that I wish that Iraqis will live a better life."

Then he clambered back on the tank, and it drove away.

Do read the whole thing - up to the very last paragraph.

Hospitals in southern Iraq

The weblog of Stuart Hughes, BBC producer, who got his foot blown off by a landmine in northern Iraq on April 2, a blast that killed a BBC cameraman.

Back to Iraq with a lengthy look at competing interests in northern Iraq

At this point, it’s probably a good idea just to tell you that I don’t believe what anyone is telling me at face value. The Kurds, deep in their hearts, really do want an independent Kurdistan and this talk of federalism is the practical side of Kurdish nationalism. If they thought they could get away with it, they would bolt Iraq and never look back, I think. The Turkomen don’t really feel that threatened, but they see the Kurds with their new buddies, the Americans, and worry they’ll be left out of any settlement and development plans in the north. So, they’re trying to play the Turks off the Americans to keep the Kurds in check. And the Turks … Well, actually, I believe them when they say they’re worried about their security. They’re a truly paranoid bunch.

US won't sponsor resolution criticizing China's human rights record

Two weeks after declaring that China had a poor human rights record, the State Department said Friday it will not seek a resolution criticizing China in the top United Nations rights forum.Spokesman Richard Boucher credited China with "some limited but significant progress" in protection of human rights, including the release of a number of political prisoners.He said much remains to be done, adding that the administration will continue to press China's new government to improve its human rights record.Since China's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators at Tienenman Square in 1989, the United States has introduced China resolutions almost every year at the annual meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

Because, you know...the Vatican isn't concerned about wars or anything.

Vatican issues a reminder of what's going on in the rest of the world.

In early April, the Vatican missionary news agency, Fides, published a 22-page dossier to draw attention to the "silent wars" around the globe. The agency complained that, judging by newspaper headlines and running TV coverage, Iraq was the only war worth reporting -- or worth protesting.

"Millions of victims, including women and children, millions of wounded, millions of disabled who will always carry the signs of violence in their flesh do not make news, do not stir the media and do not send people marching in protest," it said.

"They don't even merit a few lines in a newspaper," it said.

The pope has reminded people that as Baghdad, Iraq, burns, the Holy Land is still being devastated by continual violence between Palestinians and Israeli occupation troops.

On April 9, the pope said that while the world's attention was focused on Iraq equally tragic news was coming in from the Great Lakes region in Africa, where a massacre left hundreds of people dead.

In fact, according to an April report by the International Rescue Committee, the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which began in 1998, has cost 3.3 million lives, more than any war since World War II.

Missionaries in Charity in Baghdad are fine

Though the nuns in Baghdad, who are looking after 22 Iraqi children, most of them mentally challenged, haven't asked for any reinforcement, two more sisters are waiting to go to the Iraqi capital."Two sisters volunteered to go to Baghdad. But they are stuck at Amman because of the war," Kumar said.Sister Nirmala, who heads the Missionaries of Charity, spoke to the four nuns about two weeks ago. "Since then we have been getting news of their well-being from our regional office in Amman," she said.Kumar said the nuns had said they were receiving "every help" locally and that they didn't need any supplies.The Missionaries of Charity is hoping to be involved in a bigger way in providing relief to those affected by the war in Iraq.

A WaPo portrait of Baghdad

Refugees returning to help rebuild

The Word From Rome is up - not quite as interesting as in previous weeks - a report (posted earlier in the week as a separate story) on the study group on pedophilia and the priesthood that met last week, more discussions about homosexuality and the priesthood, and John Allen's interview with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton"

For Italians, the big news was that Bolton met with Ruini rather than Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state and hence the pope’s “prime minister.” Sodano has been sharply critical of the U.S.-led war, while Ruini has opposed the war but has also criticized anti-American tendencies in the European peace movement.

Strictly speaking, the meeting with Ruini was puzzling from the point of view of protocol, and some church-watchers felt it was poor form on Ruini’s part — a kind of upstaging of Sodano on his own turf. Bolton went out of his way at the press conference to praise Ruini as someone with “knowledge and familiarity on some of these issues.” ....

...While the Bush administration may want to forgive and forget, sources tell me the Vatican is not so eager to forget their objections now that things seemed more or less settled on the ground. Certainly the Holy See wants to work with the United States on post-war issues, especially a settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian problem, and it’s also true that some in the curia believe the pope’s anti-war line was exploited by groups with a completely different agenda from the church. At the same time, there is a wide sense in the Vatican that the U.S. decision to go to war without a United Nations mandate, and without having exhausted all peaceful means of achieving disarmament and reform, was dangerous. As one senior Vatican official put it to me April 10, “Even if the war is over, the moral question remains.”


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