Musings of a 20-something lethargic IITian on India and Catholicism.
Thursday, January 23, 2003
Last night's BBC Hardtalk featured Keiren Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in the UK. The main topic of discussion was, of course, the Church's opposition to the US/UK war in Iraq. In between, Tim Sebastien also touched upon other issues such as the Church's recent messages to politicians and the sex scandals.
These were precisely the points that Bishop Kieren failed to press. At several points Tim pressed him with, "But the final authority to decide on war rests with the politicians, right?" And Bishop Kieren agreed.
I don't see why he could not simply have replied - "There is a big difference between power and authority." Possessing a gun gives me the power to kill someone, but not the authority to do so. If I am a soldier at war, then I am given the authority to kill the opponent (but even that, not indiscriminately).
George W. Bush and Tony Blair have the power to attack Iraq (and go it alone with impunity if they desire, probably). Not the authority. Their legitimate authority is derived from their positions as democratically elected representatives of their people. Of the people of US and UK - not Iraq. The only legally competent body that could give them that authority is the United Nations - that too because Iraq has accepted the UN as a higher authority (remember, through all the sanctions, Iraq continues to be a member of the UN).
I've noticed this on a few occasions in the past as well, but Hardtalk seems to pick on speakers who seem incapable of defending their points under fire. I wonder if this is a deliberate attempt on the side of the producers to put through an agenda.
 From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on Iraq.
 Of course, under conditions of war and aggression, the aggressor devolves the authority to be prosecuted on the aggressed - which is why the aggressed can resort to any means necessary and sufficient to defend itself. posted by Kensy | 8:44 PM
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