top bishop questions us foreign policy - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
June 24, 2004

Top bishop questions US foreign policy

-24/6/04

The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)has spoken out against the military response of the US to global terrorism saying that a permissive interpretation of international law, the inevitability of civilian casualties or the abuse of human rights are unacceptable.

The United States faces daunting challenges in Iraq as it fulfils its ìgrave moral responsibilitiesî in helping to rebuild that nation, according to Belleville Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, but he said the war and occupation have raised ìfundamental questions about the U.S. role in the world.î

ìAs the principal occupying power in Iraq, the United States now has responsibility for sustained, long-term efforts to help the Iraqi people build a stable, pluralistic, democratic, and prosperous Iraq,î the Bishop said in a statement.

ìUnfortunately, there are no simple or quick ways of achieving these goals.î

Bishop Gregory recalled several previous occasions since September 2002 when the USCCB has raised ìgrave moral concernsî about pre-emptive military intervention in Iraq and said ìthe events of the past year have reinforced those ethical concerns.î

While welcoming recent U.S. initiatives at the United Nations, Bishop Gregory said the future U.S. role in world affairs should be re-examined.

Specifically, he cited the need to find ways other than preventive war to deal with challenges posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism; to abide by strict limits on the use of military force; and to strengthen the United Nations and respect international law, including the Geneva Conventions.

ìOur nation cannot accept a permissive interpretation of international law, the inevitability of civilian casualties or the abuse of human rights, or an over-reliance on military responses to the problem of global terrorism,î Bishop Gregory said.

ìWe reiterate the grave moral concerns previously expressed by our episcopal conference about the military intervention in Iraq and the unpredictable and uncontrollable negative consequences of an invasion and occupation. The events of the past year have reinforced those ethical concerns."

The Bishop said the Conference was "deeply concerned" about "overly aggressive tactics which can place civilians at risk, ignore important cultural and religious sensitivities, and fuel violence and terrorism."

But he also warned that the United States must not allow its responsibilities in Iraq to keep it from addressing other pressing needs at home and abroad.

"War and reconstruction in Iraq must not result in an abandonment of our nation's responsibilities to the poor at home and abroad, or a diversion of essential resources from other humanitarian emergencies around the world" he said.

Top bishop questions US foreign policy

-24/6/04

The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)has spoken out against the military response of the US to global terrorism saying that a permissive interpretation of international law, the inevitability of civilian casualties or the abuse of human rights are unacceptable.

The United States faces daunting challenges in Iraq as it fulfils its ìgrave moral responsibilitiesî in helping to rebuild that nation, according to Belleville Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, but he said the war and occupation have raised ìfundamental questions about the U.S. role in the world.î

ìAs the principal occupying power in Iraq, the United States now has responsibility for sustained, long-term efforts to help the Iraqi people build a stable, pluralistic, democratic, and prosperous Iraq,î the Bishop said in a statement.

ìUnfortunately, there are no simple or quick ways of achieving these goals.î

Bishop Gregory recalled several previous occasions since September 2002 when the USCCB has raised ìgrave moral concernsî about pre-emptive military intervention in Iraq and said ìthe events of the past year have reinforced those ethical concerns.î

While welcoming recent U.S. initiatives at the United Nations, Bishop Gregory said the future U.S. role in world affairs should be re-examined.

Specifically, he cited the need to find ways other than preventive war to deal with challenges posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism; to abide by strict limits on the use of military force; and to strengthen the United Nations and respect international law, including the Geneva Conventions.

ìOur nation cannot accept a permissive interpretation of international law, the inevitability of civilian casualties or the abuse of human rights, or an over-reliance on military responses to the problem of global terrorism,î Bishop Gregory said.

ìWe reiterate the grave moral concerns previously expressed by our episcopal conference about the military intervention in Iraq and the unpredictable and uncontrollable negative consequences of an invasion and occupation. The events of the past year have reinforced those ethical concerns."

The Bishop said the Conference was "deeply concerned" about "overly aggressive tactics which can place civilians at risk, ignore important cultural and religious sensitivities, and fuel violence and terrorism."

But he also warned that the United States must not allow its responsibilities in Iraq to keep it from addressing other pressing needs at home and abroad.

"War and reconstruction in Iraq must not result in an abandonment of our nation's responsibilities to the poor at home and abroad, or a diversion of essential resources from other humanitarian emergencies around the world" he said.

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