Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ecclesiastical cluelessness

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, may have many virtues, but as historian and political commentator he once again demonstrates why many of us discount political statements by religious leaders. Williams gave an interview to a Muslim magazine during which he compared the US involvement in Iraq unfavorably to the British imperial effort. His statement is first, then part of a comment by Victor Davis Hanson at NRO:

It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that's what the British Empire did - in India, for example. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together - Iraq, for example.

.... Williams should read a little about British military campaigns in India, and then count the corpses.

.... I don't recall the British, after their second year in India, fostering nation-wide elections.

If he is worried about the soul of civilization in general, and the U.S. in particular, he might equally ask his Muslim interviewers about the status of women in the Muslim world, polygamy, female circumcision, the existence of slavery in the Sudan, the status of free expression and dissent, and religious tolerance (i.e., he should try to visit Mecca on his next goodwill, interfaith tour).

All Williams will accomplish is to convince Episcopalians in the U.S. not to follow the Anglican Church, and most Americans in general that, if they need any reminders, many of the loud left-wing British elite, nursed on envy of the US, still petulant over lost power and influence, and scared stiff of the demographic and immigration trends in its own country, are well, unhinged. (more)

A reasonable conclusion from the Archbishop's remark is that we should plan to stay in Iraq for a long time rather than "move on and [let] other people...put it back together.

The Corner on National Review Online

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