Thursday, April 10, 2003

Not a word about humanitarian aid or relief for Iraq in the Monday, April 7, New York Times. Not a one.

There is a story on the front page, though, involving a topic I'd like to follow but don't have the time to do thoroughly: namely, the U.N.'s role in the reconstruction of Iraq.

"Transition Plans; Rule by U.S. and Britain May Pass 6 Months, Wolfowitz Asserts" (online titled "Rule by Allies May Pass 6 Months, Wolfowitz Asserts"), by Todd S. Purdum, reports that the U.S. deputy defense secretary said there will be "a role for the United Nations to play in bringing relief aid to postwar Iraq, if not in political administration as many European countries want." [quote from article, not Wolfowitz]

"Speaking of the United Nations, Mr. Wolfowitz said on Fox: 'The reconstruction of Iraq, I think, is going to be one of the most important projects for the international community in many years. And the U.N. can be a mechanism for bringing that assistance to the Iraqi people. But our goal has got to be to transfer authority and the operation of the government as quickly as possible not to some other external authority, but to the Iraqi people themselves.'

"In the session with reporters, Mr. Wolfowitz said Iraq would be able to contribute to the costs. 'The oil revenues of Iraq, now, for the first time in decades will be dedicated to the welfare of the Iraqi people instead of building up the instruments of a tyrannical state,' he said."

Departing from the New York Times for a moment, I think it's worth noting this quote, also from Wolfowitz's appearance April 6 on Fox News Sunday, extracted from an A.P. story on the San Diego Union-Tribune Web site:

"A U.N.-administered government is 'not a model we want to follow, of a sort of permanent international administration,' Wolfowitz said."

Fighting the Good Fight?

From what I've read, every major religious organization in the world is, or was, opposed to the war on Iraq. There was an interesting piece in Monday's Times about a congregation of United Methodists -- President Bush's denomination -- in the Bronx.

The page B12 story by Daniel J. Wakin, titled "Some in Bronx Congregation Doubt Fellow United Methodist (the President)" (online "Some Doubt Fellow United Methodist [the President]"), says the members of Calvary United Methodist Church in the Bronx neighborhood of Morris Heights, are "heavily but not unanimously against the invasion of Iraq, and did not seem to change with the prospect of a climactic battle for Baghdad."

Wakin reports: "Most of Calvary's members immigrated from the Caribbean, but African-Americans, African immigrants and Latino men and women are also among the members. The congregants are schoolteachers, cooks, shopkeepers, nurses' aides and home attendants, with a smattering of professionals.

"It is a place where the women wear hats, the children wear lace and the pianist keeps playing an ill-tuned grand as the minister gives her communion. The weekly calendar is filled with bible study classes and choir practices and men's- and women's-group meetings."

Wakin talked also with the minster of Calvary, Rev. Gordon A. R. Edwards:

" 'I'm mindful of the fact that President Bush is a United Methodist,' he said. 'United Methodists are United Methodists many times in name, not in subscribing to social principles. When push comes to shove, social principles go to the winds.' In going to war, the president violated those principles, he said."

Of course I've only given you the quotes from people who oppose the war, but I also gave you the link so you can go and read the rest for yourself.

That is all for now.