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Impeach Bush

Cardinal criticizes US for treating Saddam like an animal
World Net Daily
Posted: December 16, 2003
12:01 p.m. Eastern

A top Vatican official says he felt pity for Saddam Hussein as he watched video of the deposed Iraqi dictator in captivity and thinks the U.S. treated him like an animal.

Cardinal Renato Martino, a leading critic of the war in Iraq, said he was moved to compassion as he saw images of "this man destroyed, [the military] looking at his teeth as if he were a beast," the BBC reported.

Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody

A senior U.S. official defending the video said there was no attempt to humiliate Saddam, arguing the broadcast of him undergoing a medical exam is allowed under the Geneva Conventions in order to maintain peace and security.

Martino asserted, however, the U.S. "could have spared us these pictures."

"Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him," he told reporters, according to the BBC.

Cardinal Renato Martino

The cardinal called the arrest a "watershed development," but said it would be "illusory" to believe it would "repair the dramas and the damage" brought by the war.

The comments came as Italian police responded to a warning the Vatican could become a target of the al-Qaida terrorist network during the Christmas season, Catholic World News reported. The warning was issued by the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad. Among the precautions is the closing each night of the main road to the Vatican, the Via della Conciliazione.

The Vatican has been a consistent opponent of the U.S.-led effort in Iraq.

A Vatican envoy who met with President Bush on March 6, just before the war began, said he "clearly and forcefully" conveyed a message from Pope John Paul II that a war against Iraq would be a "disaster."

Cardinal Renato Martino at U.N. conference in 1998

"You might start, and you don't know how to end it," Cardinal Pio Laghi said after a half-hour meeting at the White House. "It will be a war that will destroy human life. Those people that are suffering already in Iraq, they will be in a really bad situation."

Laghi, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States and a friend of the Bush family, said the U.S. should not act against Iraq without the sanction of the United Nations.

"It will be an American-Iraqi war, and that is not the way to do it because the government of the United States has appealed to the United Nations," he said. "Let's wait for the United Nations, whether they would give a green light in one way or the other."

© 2003, Inc.