Calls It A "Continual Slaughter"
Happy Easter England, From Iran And Iraq
Pope Benedict XVI delivered a pointed denouncement of the United States failure to contain the violence in Iraq, in some of the strongest words delivered by a pope against US misadventures in war in decades :
"Afghanistan is marked by growing unrest and instability. In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees."The Pope used his Easter address to talk about the growing spread of war and violence and depravity across the planet :
"How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world..."
Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the..."terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons."
The Pope referred to the "...catastrophic, and sad to say, underestimated humanitarian situation" in Darfur, the growing war in Somalia, the brutality engulfing the Congo, the "crisis" in Zimbabwe. He said a negotiated solution needed to found to end the increasingly bloody battles in Sri Lanka and said he prayed for reconciliation in East Timor as the world's newest nation goes to the polls this weekend.
Few seem more surprised than the British prime minister himself when the Iranian president announced on Thursday that he was going to set free, without charge or trial, the 15 British sailors and marines who strayed into disputed Iranian waters, after collecting intelligence in the Persian Gulf the week before.
Iraq delivered the UK an Easter surprise as well : 4 dead UK troops, killed by a roadside bomb in Basra, followed by horrific scenes of Iraqis literally dancing in the street next to massive crater, picking through the wreckage for souvenirs. Two of the dead were only 19 years old, two were women.
From 'Your New Reality' :
British prime minister, Tony Blair, stepped out of No. 10 Downing Street to face the television cameras. He looked extremely uncomfortable, tired and depressed. His eyes continually dropped to the ground, his shoulders hunched, and he was clearly ashamed of what he had to say.
It was time to spin all the dramatic news of the day from Iran and Iraq, and it was time to spin it hard. He had no choice but to attempt to redirect the fury Britons were feeling over the horrific scenes of Iraqis openly celebrating the deaths of the four British soldiers back on the Iranians.
But it was clear from watching Tony Blair that the fight, and fire, has gone from him now. He didn't want to foul the deaths of these men with hollow propaganda, but he did it anyway.
Blair did not directly blame the Iranian government, who had just released, unharmed, and in good spirits, 15 British marines and sailors who were caught in disputed Iran-Iraq territorial waters. To do so would have caused a storm in the United Nations.
But the intent of Blair's words were crystal-clear - he could not allow Iraqis to be blamed by the British public for this furious slaughter. It was Blair's job to make sure they blamed Iran. Or at the very least, wonder if those 'friendly' Iranians who had not hurt those they captured, had coldly ordered the attack in Basra.
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