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Seminary rector rues US intervention in Iraq, says Syrian rebels have little interest in democracy

Catholic World News - September 03, 2013

The rector of the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome has told the Aleteia news site that the Syrian rebels have little interest in promoting democracy.

“We see ‘democrats’ who enjoy cutting off the heads of their opponents, eating the hearts of faithful soldiers, firing on truck drivers who don’t know the [Muslim] morning and evening prayers,” said Msgr. Georges Noradounguian.

Turning to the topic of possible American military intervention, the priest added, “If Syrian forces had attacked Iran with chemical weapons, would the reaction of the international community today be the same?”

Comparing American military intervention to totalitarianism, he said:

Often we realize too late that the support given to wars for freedom and democracy was misplaced and actually achieved the opposite objectives.

From the time the war on terror was declared, terrorism has been spread even further. From the time we began to speak about the danger of the extremists, they have multiplied and spread everywhere. From the time talk of dictatorial, totalitarian systems began, we’ve gone from petty dictators on a smaller scale with more limited negative consequences, to a time and place of large scale dictators with catastrophic consequences. There is a totalitarianism that is imposed with force against one’s own citizens, and then there are totalitarian regimes that impose themselves on countries and entire populations, through economic and military power, by planning and financing wars ad infinitum, and by delineating red lines: the use of chemical weapons or weapons' mass destruction.

Msgr. Noradounguian called upon the West to “make a serious examination of conscience; reread the wars of the last 20 years and learn the lesson from them. Were these wars consistent in their goals and results? Is Iraq free and democratic? … Are there less victims now, after the war in Iraq and after the fall of the regime, than at the time of the dictator?”

“Naturally I’m not in favor of dictators,” he continued. “But my question as a Christian is this: Is the one million casualties and the destabilization of a country really the only way and the only price to be paid for getting rid of a dictator?”

“Christians find themselves facing not good choices but rather harsh realities,” he continued. “What happened to the Christians in Turkey? And the Christians in Iraq, where are they? And the Christians in Egypt, where are they? What are they living through? Christians in Syria see the absurd, false wars that lead to the destabilization and destruction of their countries and force them to migrate to unknown destinations to start their lives from a scratch, from zero, and abandon the countries that hold their history and their culture and their Christian identity and their work.”

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