Santorum more electable than Romney?

Electable? When the playing field is fair, that's Rick.

Part of the Conventional Wisdom of GOP primary season 2012 has been that Romney is the “most electable” of the GOP contenders.

Somehow that’s supposed to make us forget his absolute unreliability on pretty much everything that matters to conservatives. “Anyone but Obama” doesn’t mean we want someone who will slow down and manage better the decline of U.S., Inc.

Romney has won four primaries. But his victories have come in his own back yard (New Hampshire), including a state that sends Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to the Senate (Maine); a state with a heavy Mormon population (Nevada); and a state where he simply drowned the opposition in cash (Florida). So given a really fair fight he hasn’t won.

Contrast that with Santorum taking Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, four fairly different states, none near his home state, with different political tendencies, and all battleground states in the general election, despite a much smaller organization and far less money.

And Public Policy Polling has Santorum slightly ahead (but within the MoE) this primary election day morning in MICHIGAN. Remember: Michigan is Mitt Romney’s real home state and the state where his dad was a popular governor and his family is still active. For Romney, Michigan is pretty much a must-win. But since Michigan awards her delegates proportionally, even if Romney technically wins by a few percentage points—after spending scads of money in a state he should win handily—Santorum’s strong showing is still quite significant.

I’ve not been the most ardent Santorum supporter, torn among Perry, Gingrich, and him, but a podcast up today with the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto (hat tip to Ben Domenech) has me a little more comfortable in a Santorum nomination.

In short, while Santorum has been presented as too extreme to take on Obama and win, the polling and electoral trends have been in his favor, even as people *have* come to know him more and digest the media and Romney attacks/distortions they’ve been fed.

I still think I would prefer a Gingrich presidency, but since his negatives have been hovering north of Obama’s, making his chances of getting elected even lower, I could go for a Santorum candidacy.

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47 thoughts on “Santorum more electable than Romney?

  1. [...] Santorum More Electable Than Romney? – Tom Crowe, Catholic Vote [...]

  2. Joe M says:

    Thank you Tom. I have to disagree on this one. I don’t think Romney is as moderate as he is made out to be. But, it works in his favor in the general election if he is perceived that way. — Santorum has made the argument that in a “fair” contest, he wins. To me, that is a bad argument for him as a candidate because the truth is, the general election is not going to be a “fair” contest. He is conceding that he isn’t able to overcome criticism that is most likely far more mild than what would be thrown at him by Obama. — I give credit to the GOP field for scrappiness and being more competitive with Romney than anticipated. But, Romney has, imo, shown a better ability to respond, counter and win politically. I think that his messaging and debate style will show particularly well next to Obama.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Joe M— I think you miss what he means by “fair.” I think what he means (and the primary battles have borne this out) is that when the state is not either in Mitt Romney’s back yard and when the campaign spending is closer to parity, he can and does win. Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota. Romney won two states in his political back yard and a state where he outspent the next closest opponent 60-1. Since Romney won’t be able to outspend Obama in that manner, but Obama won’t be able to outspend any GOP nom in that manner, I think that actually ends up being an argument for Santorum and against Romney. Romney has shown an ability to say anything, go nuclear negative, and get all a-fluster when someone really pushes him. When he’s attacking fellow GOP folks it’ll work bc the MSM will carry his water. Against Obama? Not gonna work the same way.

      1. Joe M says:

        Yeah. But, the spending parity he is referring to is basically the non-existant level. Romney did not spend much money at all in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota. I believe that he was over-confident in those states and was trying to win without spending in order to disprove his opponents arguments that he can only win by outspending. — I don’t recall Romney being significantly flustered? — The MSM may not carry it afterward. But, the nation will be watching those debates live and I think Romney has a very good shot at stumping Obama there, the way he already has Santorum and Gingrich. Whatever questions someone has about Romney, I think he at least deserves credit there. He’s a good debater and has a technical grasp on the issues.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Joe M— But a number of the issues that will be in question in the general will be about Obamacare. With the namesake of Romneycare as the GOP nominee it’s hard to see how that becomes a winning issue for the GOP. I think he can beat Obama, but only because of the not-Obama vote.

          1. Joe M says:

            That definitely is problematic for Romney. Though, I think Americans will recognize that regardless of the past comparison, it will still be a choice between keeping or repealing Obamacare.

  3. T More says:

    Tom,

    National head-to-head polls have consistently showed only Gingrich trailing Santorum. Only Paul and Romney have shown the ability to appeal to moderates and independents of we are discussing electability. http://www.thestatecolumn.com/articles/2012/02/28/poll-ron-paul-bests-obama-for-the-first-time-nationally/ Perhaps we should look at Catholic teaching since this is ostensibly a Catholic (not Republican) website. Who is more consistent on life issues than Dr. Paul? I agree that life issues are the most important. I can also tell you without any doubt that the greatest threat to our national security is the debt. This information is supported by our own military and intelligence agencies who all support Dr. Paul in huge majorities. As the only candidate proposing cuts Dr. Paul is the most endorsed by conservative economic groups.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      T More— Do yourself a favor and listen to the linked podcast. I didn’t make up what I wrote about Santorum’s electability. ——— The rest? Again, Paul is a non-starter, primarily because of his head-in-the-sand isolationism (of *course* the military is opposed to war—they’re the ones who have born the brunt of the poor execution of the last number of years, and they’re the ones who would get sent to a new one! We would rue the day our military is the first to beat the drums of war!) Also, we don’t live in Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers world, so the support of the military community is not proof of anything except that the guy whom they support does not overtly hate the military. The line about our national debt being the number one national security threat coming from the military? I wasn’t aware that such determinations were their expertise; I thought they were in the business of determining how to win wars, etc.

      1. T More says:

        Historically the military has overwhelmingly supported pro-war Republican candidates. His “head-in-the-sand isolationism” and attempts to curb the military industrial complex that has doubled its spending since 2000 was first encouraged by that pacifist Eisenhower. The CIA and other intelligence agencies espouse the idea that our debt is the greatest security threat. Why does “Catholic”Vote continue to ignore Santorum’s positions that conflict with Church teaching such as the death penalty, preemptive war, torture, etc. All we ask for is honesty unlike the rest of the MSM. Obviously no candidate is perfect but shouldn’t you at least address quotes like this? “Just look at my record,” he said smiling, “I was criticized by governor Romney . . . or maybe it was Congressman Paul’s campaign for voting for contraception! That I voted for funding for, I think it was Title X, which I have voted for in the past, that provides for free contraception through organizations even like Planned Parenthood.”

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Yes, and the Eisenhower years are far behind us, with a whole new geo-political reality that cannot abide that sort of policy. Attempts to curb the military-industrial complex? You mean spending in one area actually called for by the Constitution? What’s inherently wrong with doubling, either as a sheer value or as a percentage of GDP, the spending of the military? Even if our debt is the greatest threat to national security it does not logically follow that the military budget is where the cuts necessarily ought to come from. Santorum likely has no quibble with the Church’s teaching on the death penalty, preemptive war, torture, etc., but he likely would disagree with you on how/where to draw the line in the prudential application of those teachings—a disagreement that is entirely within the scope of “good people disagreeing.” I have not defended him on the Title X thing and have not had time to look into it. I still cannot support Paul because of his foreign policy and his tendency to say utterly mad things, and I have not settled on a candidate yet, but right now I’m leaning either Gingrich or Santorum, with the hope that either Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels will be dragged into the fight at the convention like Ambrose was dragged to the cathedral of Milan.

          1. T More says:

            When Eisenhower was speaking we were at the dawn of the Cold War dealing with the threat of the USSR. Now the Cold War is over and we have the most powerful military in the world so Eisenhower’s warnings are to be ignored? The Constitution suggests providing for the common defense, not spending billions to maintain 900+ military bases around the world and carrying on multiple undeclared wars. It does not say that the military budget should never be reigned in. Are you suggesting that the military is the only government department devoid of waste or inefficiency? Why wouldn’t you try and reduce spending in all areas given the sheer scope of the debt we face? If you argue that the line for Catholic teaching can include punitive executions in the most advanced nation on earth, preemptive wars with massive civilian casualties, and what every human rights organization in the world considers to be torture then frankly a line does not exist. I am surprised you have managed to write this many articles without addressing Santorum’s support of Title X, the Specter issue, or assassination. If you are a Constitutionalist you may also want to visit the PATRIOT Act and indefinite detainment. I would suggest taking a Catholic first approach.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            T More— At the dawn of the Cold War we were not dealing with non-state militarized actors a-la al Qaeda and the massive proliferation of nuclear weapons. It was a bipolar world, while now there’s only one superpower, but there are scads more dangerous threats than in Ike’s day. Even at that, Ike hardly advocated for never again using the military. He also presided over the calming down from a World War, so naturally the defense budget might contract. Of course, it was Reagan’s military spending, and the threat thereof, that ultimately played a huge role in bankrupting the Evil Empire. So there’s that. ———— I’m not saying the defense budget is devoid of waste, but you could eliminate the entire thing and barely scratch the surface of the budget problem. The problem is entitlements, not defense or discretionary spending. Unless and until that is recognized and becomes talking point number one, we are not having a serious conversation about fixing our debt problems. ———— I find your couching of “the line” biased and full of non sequiturs. I said nothing about the death penalty; civilian casualties are a separate issue (jus in bello) from the rationale for launching a war (jus ad bellum) and I believe you’ll find that the civilian casualties in these wars have been far, far lower than in any previous modern war that approaches this magnitude (thanks to the quality of our troops and weapons systems) and only got as high as they did because of the dishonorable tactics of our enemies hiding out in populated places and ambushing our troops with no regard for the civilians they killed; and while I have said nothing on specific tactics used in interrogations, right is right if the world be wrong, including “every human rights organization in the world.” ——— Indefinite detainment of non-U.S. citizens taken on the field of battle engaging in hostilities against the U.S. or our allies is not a Constitutional issue at all since the Constitution does not extend to them, and if they were not in uniform or otherwise holding up their end of the bargain, neither do the Geneva Conventions. Human rights still apply, of course, which is apparently why we just built a $750 million soccer field for a bunch of them, but non U.S. citizens have no call on the U.S. Constitution. The PATRIOT Act doesn’t bother me.

    2. Joe M says:

      T More. Paul’s numbers are inflated in the primary because he polls well with Democrats. In fact, recent polls have shown him doing better with Democrats than Republicans. — Obama would defeat Ron Paul by the biggest land-slide in election history.

  4. Anne K. says:

    Joe, you sound like a talking head making talking points for Romney.

  5. Joe says:

    Tom, Santorum is electable among conservatives, yes. But once the primaries are over, those conservatives backing Santorum would still support Romney over Obama — I dare say none of them would vote for Obama, and few would go third-party and thereby split the conservative vote.

    The real battle of the general election is over the middle. The right will vote for the Republican, and the left will vote for the Democrat, and the middle is where decisions are made. Santorum could very easily push the middle away from himself and towards Obama.

    In addition to the question of his viability as an opponent to Obama, there is the question of, “would he do a good job?” From my observations, I am unconvinced of his ability to exercise the office. Plenty of people out there agree with me on who the best musicians are, but I’d trust few of them with an instrument.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Joe— Do yourself a favor and listen to Taranto’s podcast. In it he points out that your thesis is incorrect—Santorum fares better against Obama than does Romney in more general polling than just GOP primary voters. So no, you are not correct that Santorum ipso facto alienates the middle. Also, while conservatives will *still* vote for Romney, fewer of them will and less of the base will be enthusiastic for the milquetoast Romney. It’ll be McCain or Dole all over again. You don’t win the general by assuming the base and running to the middle.

      1. pergon says:

        I’ve not seen any poll that shows Santorum does better than Romney against Obama in a general election, but that’s neither here nor there. The issue is can Santorum carry the electoral college, which is how we elect the President in these United States. The answer there, based on everything I’ve seen, is a resounding no. Santorum vs Obama is awash in blue for Obama, not red.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Pergon… Dear me, does no one pay attention to the actual content? Listen to the podcast. You have an issue with Taranto, not with me. My information comes from his reporting.

          1. Joe M says:

            Going by the polls available at realclearpolitics.com , Romney appears to have a slight edge on electibility at this moment. — Though, I agree with Joe that the entire dynamic changes once we get into the general election. — I think it’s incorrect that Romney is more moderate than the other candidates. Looking at the platform he is running on, it is comparable to what the others are advocating for, if not more conservative on some issues. That said, I WANT people to continue to paint him as a moderate. I think that works in his favor during the general election when the GOP is counting on a de-energized Democratic base. If Romney is seen by low-info Democrats as a moderate, I believe they will stay home. Santorum has been successfully (but unfairly) painted as an extremist. I believe that if he were the candidate, more Democrats would get off the couch to vote against him.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            The platform Romney is running on and the politician Romney has been are inconsistent, at best. He has proven himself willing to say whatever it takes. His impact on Dem voter turnout ought not to be a criterion for the GOP nomination. Romney would depress the GOP base turnout, while Santorum would not; and Obama drives the moderates and independents away. If anything, the moderates/indys will sit on their hands, or turn out for Santorum, if he is the nominee. So in that score he does all right.

          3. Joe M says:

            Tom. I agree to an extent. Romney has changed course and it’s reasonable to question how committed he is to what he is now advocating for. But, I don’t think it’s as far as “proving himself willing to say whatever it takes.” I don’t think he is a perfect candidate. But, I do think he would come through on the key issues. — I don’t know if it’s right that moderates will turn out for Santorum. In the 2006 Senate election, he lost on independents and moderates badly.

          4. Tom Crowe says:

            Joe M— Santorum certainly would not be as appealing as Romney to moderates, but I”m not sure it’s for the right reasons. I think that which would excite moderates about Romney would turn off at least as many conservatives—people who would “still” vote for Romney if they voted, but who would be less likely to turn out to vote and less likely to be active for him. I think either of them has an equal chance of beating Obama at this point, so it’s a matter of which would be a better POTUS. At this point, between those two, I’d have to lean Santorum. (Not, mind you, that I think Romney would be awful, but at this point I have the luxury of choosing)

          5. Joe M says:

            A fair assessment. What about Romney do you see exciting moderates?

          6. Tom Crowe says:

            The fact that they trust he is one. The same reason I don’t see him exciting conservatives.

    2. Joe M says:

      I think Joe is right. I don’t object to Santorum as a person. I think there is a lot to like about him and I agree that he has been unfairly beat up by the press. However, being unfairly beaten up by the press should be seen as a given. One of the qualifications we should consider is how well prepared a candidate is for dealing with that. And to be honest, I have to give Santorum an F in that regard. For example, Santorum saying that Kennedy’s speech makes him “want to throw up” basically undermines an opportunity for us to have a serious dialogue about what is going on with Separation of Church and State issues. We don’t get to the real matter because the media takes commentary like that and uses it for their agenda. Of course, that isn’t right for them to do. BUT, we need a leader who is adept enough to recognize that they will do that if you give them the opportunity. Santorum, once the spotlight was on him, has proven to be a hyperbolic quote machine. — He may be a great person in many regards. But, a skilled message craft he is not.

      1. Tom Crowe says:

        Joe M— They beat him up even when he *isn’t* giving them an opportunity. The leader we need is the one who isn’t cowed by their distortions but stays on message. Santorum hasn’t been the best, but he hasn’t been the worst either.

        1. Joe M says:

          No. We don’t need someone who is cowed. But, they do need to be fleet of foot. The media has shown that they’re willing and able to tank a politician over a single quote. Santorum seems to give them the red meat they’re after.

          1. Tom Crowe says:

            Joe M— No argument on this one. Santorum has said more things lately that can and would be held against him in a court of public opinion. Romney has said his fair share over the course of the last couple decades also. The third option, Gingrich, who also has had foot-in-mouth disease, is the only one who has shown he can successfully chew on the media folks and twist it to his advantage afterward. I’m not enthralled with any of them, however.

          2. Joe M says:

            True. Though, I think Newt’s chewing of CNN only worked because it was the GOP primary. That same reaction, I believe, would yield different results in a general election debate.

  6. Alex says:

    I don’t understand how you support any of these guys. I’m convinced that supporters of anyone besides Ron Paul are completely ignorant of our current financial crisis. I’m sorry for my rudeness, but I call it as I see it. We are on the verge of the largest economic collapse in our nation’s history. The dollar is in a death spiral. Our monetary system is broken and needs more reform than simply a “reduction in government spending.”. I have little doubt that any of these abovementioned men would go to war with Iran. That would be the last straw. Our economy cannot handle another war. We, as Catholics, can talk about abortion, contraception, and character all we want, but the grim reality is that none of this will matter when our country collapses financially. The oil industry is already coming off the dollar, and demand for our broken currency will continue to plummet. This is not going to end well if our next President isn’t committed to massive IMMEDIATE cuts and a complete monetary overhaul.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Alex— You win! I was wondering who would be the first Ron Paul supporter to note my complete discounting of his candidacy. Ron Paul’s foreign policy makes him a non-starter. And while it may not be the best reason, the rest of the world (including China) is worse-off than we are financially. I’d be all for Ron Paul being made Secretary of the Treasury or similar, but cannot support him for POTUS, primarily because of his unrealistic isolationist foreign policy, in addition to his latent racism, or at least utter, contemptible irresponsibility w.r.t. his newsletter. And, contra your point, a strong economy does not matter (indeed, is not possible) if life is not respected and security at home and abroad is not maintained.

      1. Christopher says:

        It is a shame that Santorum is the “Catholic” candidate, especially given his voting record. He has again and again voted for bills that give funding to Planned Parenthood. Admittedly he has said that as President he would not sign them and only voted for them because of the good in them that were not associated with Planned Parenthood. The thing is why is that reason/excuse a good reason to vote for a bill but not good enough to make one sign it into law? Such a reason given for directly voting for the subsidizing of Planned Parenthood’s abortion business so as to be able to do other good things does not give grounding for a distinction in action but if one thinks it is a valid ground to vote for a bill, it would also be a valid ground to sign that bill since both actions assent to it and put it into law (though obviously in different respects). The voiced consent to it, however, does not differ in these circumstances. Such actions show that Santorum’s reason is an excuse. Yes, he has a pro-life family that welcomes children and that is to be commended but why does this not influence his public life concerning his votes in congress? He preaches reigning in the expanding federal government but he voted for bailouts and has voted again and again to expand the federal power, but now that it is popular to make everything a moral issue, he panders. Also, Santorum has again and again shown in speeches that he would increase our interventionism and nation building tendencies in foreign policy. St. Thomas in the Summa asks “Is it always sinful to engage in war?” He answers that it is not always sinful but even the way he phrases the question shows his position that though war can be handled justly, it is often sinful and hard to conduct well. The way Santorum speaks about Iran, it seems that he might phrase the question “Is it ever sinful to engage in war?” It just seems that even though Santorum is the “Catholic” candidate he is just more of the same. Admittedly, he is not as bad as Romney or President Obama, but such differences between the three seem rather of degree than of a substantive difference concerning the understanding the role of government and civic life. His voting record, that to which he has created through direct assent to bills, has given me little reason to suspect that he is not just another candidate that says one thing that the people like to hear and does something else with his political power. Men reveal who they are by their actions, not political speeches.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Mind you, Christopher, I have not said I enthusiastically support any candidate. I have only said whom I would not vote for—Romney, Paul, and Obama. Gingrich and Santorum both have reasons that they wouldn’t be my ideal choice, but we’re not dealing with ideals, we’re dealing with available options.

          1. Christopher says:

            This understanding of “vote for the most electable” or “the lesser of two evils” is the very problem facing the American electoral system right now and reinforces the two party system. The American system only works when you vote for the person you want to win and agree with or else you get something no body wants because there was another option people more strongly did not want (which looked like it was going to happen for a little while: Romney vs. Obama). When one does not vote for who one wants to win, you are never truly represented but rather only represented as a quantity or a number behind a person. The idea that we must elect someone because he is “the lesser of two evils” or “not as bad as the other candidate” and is “electable” says nothing about trustworthiness or anything else. A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for what one has termed as evil. And the idea that “we are not dealing with ideals” is false. Politics (according to Aristotle and Saint Thomas) is the supreme science of the human good. We are dealing in embodied ideals. Suggestions to the opposite and the proposition of things like “we must not let the best be the enemy of the good” are the excuses of those looking to compromise on their ideals of what is good. To not vote for how one really wants this country to be run is to reinforce the two party system that is driving our country into effectively the same foreign and domestic policies no matter who is running the musical chairs we call American Politics. Unfortunately, I feel this is the sad state in which the great American experiment is.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Christopher— You equivocate on the word “ideal.” I used it in the sense of “ideal candidate,” meaning, “if I were to pick or design the candidate.” It appears you used it in the sense of “stay true to your ideals.” Staying true to one’s ideals is not inconsistent with supporting a less-than-ideal candidate who most closely meets one’s ideals but is not morally reprehensible. In the moral struggle each of us makes to attain sainthood and bring those whom we may directly affect to sainthood you are absolutely correct that we cannot compromise. In the body politic which pits us in political opposition to the desires and volition of many who do not share the same values, compromise on those areas where compromise is possible is not immoral. If each perfectly moral person voted only for their candidate and not for other good (but less-good) candidates those who are willing to compromise more and coalesce around an even-less-good (or perhaps bad) candidate will win the day and rule the body politic. Unless and until all of the available candidates are actually morally reprehensible (none on the GOP side reach that threshold) then there is nothing immoral about voting for a non-ideal candidate.

          3. Joe M says:

            Christopher. Your analysis of why “electibility” is not important has a logic problem. The reason the person is considered more electable is not because everyone thinks they are evil but better than the other guy. It’s because they poll better in a head-to-head match-up than the other guy. In other words, that person has more actual support than the other candidates.

      2. Alex says:

        This is where my comment about those “ignorant of the current financial crisis” comes in. You wouldn’t be saying “a strong economy does not matter” if you understood the direness of the situation we are in. Humor me Tom, and entertain the strong possibility of the collapse of our currency in the next 10 years. I also find it funny that the only dirt you have on Ron Paul is newsletters that he did not even write himself. While I could go on and on about how Rick Santorum helped balloon the federal government, funded planned parenthood, put a pro-abortion candidate in the Senate, ect.

      3. Alex says:

        Not to mention your comment about an “isolationist” foreign policy illustrates a clear ignorance of Paul’s position completely. Please do your homework before leading other Catholics astray.

    2. Joe M says:

      Alex. Ron Paul and other Libertarians grossly exaggerate the impact of military spending on our economy. Even with Iraq and Afghanistan, it has hovered close to 5% of GDP for 30+ years. Military spending is not threatening our economy by any measure. Entitlements are. — Furthermore, it is not Christian to ignore the oppression of people in foreign lands as Ron Paul advocates. See Psalm 82:4.

      1. Alex says:

        See the Just War Theory Joe. Our popes have condemned the War in Iraq (which Rick supported) as well as all preemptive wars. Thank you, that is all.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          No, Alex, “our popes” have most definitely *not* condemned the war in Iraq. Main reason being they *have* read just war theory, and know making such a moral determination is not in their purview. It is the purview of the lawful leaders of the society questioning whether war is a good idea. They have voiced their opposition, but that is a far cry from “condemnation” in anything approaching a morally binding sense.

          1. Alex says:

            This is ridiculous Tom. You are picking the words of Pope Benedict XVI apart just to support your point. If you want to whine about semantics, be my guest. But when a pope consistently speaks out against a war, saying things like “Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq,” I think Catholics who support the war really need to reassess their positions. Pope John II spoke out against the war as well, calling it “immoral” and “a crime against peace.” If you don’t to call that condemnation, that’s your game, and it is pathetic.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Alex— I would *expect* popes to speak out consistently against war. And I fully agree with Pope Benedict’s “enough” comments… I address, somewhat, jus ad bellum elsewhere, but as regards jus in bello you might note that among those killed in Iraq, the vast majority of those killed by our troops were waging war or insurrection against us or the legitimate Iraqi government, and thus made themselves targets in legitimate war-fighting activity. Then you might note that our troops (with some unfortunate, notable exceptions, which are investigated and prosecuted, if applicable) have been the most humane fighting force, taking great pains to avoid unnecessary casualties, even risking their own lives, which has yielded an incredibly low civilian death tally, considering the lethality of the weapons being used. Further you might note that among the innocent civilians killed, a goodly portion were killed by the insurgents whether because the innocent civilians were assisting our forces and the legitimate government, or were near our troops when the insurgents chose to attack, or were near insurgents who were intentionally hiding among women and children because they know our troops take great pains to avoid civilian casualties. So when the Pope condemns the bloodletting, does that ipso facto mean “you Americans are totally wrong”? I don’t think so. As for JPII, I did research back in the day to see what his comments were and I don’t recall seeing those words applied in the manner you imply. Could you please provide a link to the full text where you got those comments?

        2. Joe M says:

          Alex. The war in Iraq was not pre-emptive. It is well documented that Saddam Hussein and his regime was systematically committing grave acts of oppression on the Iraqi people. Putting a stop to it was consistent with both Just War Theory and Psalm 82:4.

          1. Alex says:

            Joe. I don’t think you realize that the sanctions we put on Iraq all throughout the 90′s killed so many more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein did. Because of our sanctions, we were able to perpetuate Hussein’s power and thousands of civilians starved to death. BECAUSE OF US. We were the aggressors. Invasion was not consistent with Just War Theory because what we did was not a last resort. We shouldn’t have been involved in the first place.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Alex— Our sanctions killed Iraqis? Wow, that’s a neat bit of moral gymnastics. Oddly, if Saddam had held up his end of the bargain the sanctions would not have been imposed, and those people would not have died. So which has more moral responsibility, the madman who drove his country into a state of moral opposition to the rest of the world, or those who tried to stop him through peaceful means? It was a last resort, after twelve years and 16 UNSC resolutions failed to get the necessary response out of Saddam. He also attacked our planes patrolling the agreed-upon no-fly-zone. He also attempted the assassination of a former U.S. President. He also paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who killed Israelis, thus being a direct sponsor of attacks against an ally. These are all acts of war, and all contravention of the armistice he signed to end the first Gulf War. So no, we were not the aggressors, and, frankly, it was not a pre-emptive war.

          3. Alex says:

            Tom – I love how you avoided the Popes entirely. I’m going to have to go with Benedict XVI and John Paul II on this one. I’m sure your vast stores of knowledge probably match theirs, but I’m still going to have to side with the Popes.

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