Certain Kinds of Pacifism, More Hate Thrown into the Streets

Father Giussani's letter to the Editor in light of the United States' conflict in the Middle East.
Luigi Giussani

Dear Editor,
The sides that are confronting each other, in view of a coming war, are full of reasons and accusations. At this point, the reasons are more impressive than the accusations and are, in their most salient aspects, the ones that make us say: "Whatever error the United States makes, it cannot be destroyed by bombs and terrorism!" Or: "Given the disasters that bombs cause, we cannot allow a tyrant like Saddam to use them as he wishes!"
Those who want all nations to be subjected to the judgment of the UN are right. It seems impossible, however, to reach a decision by saying which side is right or wrong. Iraq could then say, "If the UN is at the service of the United States and England, then we will not respect it." On the other side, the United States and England could declare, "We will respect the UN, if it supports what we say." Thus both sides have reason to say: "Let's get on with this war."
To get out of this atrocious impasse, we have to recognize that the real problem is not that of discussing and negotiating--as certain "peace-lovers" would like, when in reality they are the most rabid warmongers--because each of the belligerents starts from the conviction that the other wants war in order to defend or destroy a primacy of power. Those who are against Iraq would be defending the power they have, and those who oppose the United States would like to grab a power they do not yet have. This is why the issue seems irresolvable, except by the use of force. The reason of those who want to triumph by force, of those who know they possess a force that can silence the other side, would remain solid. Among other things, this should also make certain leaders of the pacifist movements think twice about whether this is just more hate thrown into the streets.
The solution is not even that of taking sides with one or the other. When society reaches certain crucial passages, the real problem is that a judgment of praise or condemnation should take into account above all the need to educate young people and adults, i.e. everyone, because ordinary people need to activate their own capacity for justice and goodness. If mankind is not educated to a real appreciation of man, and thus, a real justice, it cannot feel free of the disasters that mankind itself provokes, and thus, forces itself to face. Mankind, therefore, in making excuses for the error of evil, perpetrates its application, in the way that it considers just: the error of war.
The real drama of mankind today is not that the United States may want to destroy Iraq in order to gain some advantage from its action, or that Saddam is a threat to the West, but the fact that neither side has an education that is adequate to the size and depth of the fight between men. It is, indeed, a problem of education, one voiced by the Pope alone, because the tribunal requested to judge the other side--Italian President Ciampi, too, referred to this recently--calls for an education in the name of a true unity and justice.
The gravity of the problem being debated by the world today is the rebellion against truth that brought original sin into the world and still causes its effects on man, on the mankind of all times. This is why, in the face of what happens, we cannot eliminate or skip over the figure of Christ. This is the fulcrum--the fulcrum!--of the truth about man (and whoever in history destroys Christianity murders humanity). This is why our authority is the Pope, who has made two decisive statements: in history, war precedes peace, and, to avoid war, peace is necessary.
In a situation where no one seems to want peace, and the ways to obtain it appear blatantly false, to wage war is abominable. It is devoting oneself to massacre. Therefore, we say “No” to war at any cost, which is what the United States wants to take to Iraq. But we also say “Yes” to America, because the United States has the possibility for an education that truly preserves the desire for peace and justice.
We are all a bit demoralized as long as human society goes ahead following the instincts it feels, in the name of a justice that cannot do justice. In order to do justice, we have to correct at least ourselves. The problem is to educate people to understand this. The problem of justice is what will always cause Christ to be condemned and persecuted in His real Body, which is the Church. So the truest way for a Christian to help the world to be more human is that of increasing, as much as possible, the judgment that the world will end when Christ has completed being a "ferment": thus, at the end of the world. Christ's resurrection is, throughout the entire history of mankind until the end, the starting point of an "atomic bomb" that will dominate history until it is completed. (It will dominate, because the dominion will be at the end). For this reason, the end of this history will never be in the hands of a man. There is no man who can obtain it, because it remains the Father's mystery.
The Pope has said that war is a crime, that war that comes about through original sin, present in the world through the sins of men, i.e., our sins. Thus to take the Rosary in hand and pray to Our Lady, as John Paul II continually urges us to do, is so that crimes may occur as little as possible. The fundamental idea is the maturity of the Christian vocation, which is the blossoming of humanity, as revealed by the example of Christ (and this truly completes the discourse).