In fairness, it should be noted that when Martino mentioned Hussein’s “heavy responsibility,” it seemed a reference to the former Iraqi leader’s human rights abuses. I have interviewed Martino on the war several times, and he has never been under any illusions about Hussein’s brutality. His argument has always been that there are other dictators around, and it’s not clear to him why war should be justified to remove this one and not others.
Whether one finds that logic persuasive, and whether Martino’s comments should have been balanced by a more clear acknowledgment of Hussein’s victims, is a matter for reasonable discussion
On the Pope’s health:
On the subject of the pope’s health, I spoke Dec. 17 to someone who had dinner with John Paul two nights earlier. The pope was in good form, this source said, deeply involved in the conversation, offering observations of several sentences in length. This person presented the pope with a collection of poetry, and the pope immediately cited one of the American poet’s major works — no mean feat, given that English is perhaps the pope’s fifth language. It suggests his memory remains in relatively good shape.
The dinner guest had written some weeks before to the pope to describe a personal situation. When he arrived, the pope, without prompting, said he had received the letter and would remember the intention in his Mass the next day.
Kenneth Woodward profiles John Allen, who is, I note, a former high school teacher. Seems as if we both left high school teaching around the same time. Now he’s in Rome and I’m in….