American church leader shocked at Iraq body count

By staff writers
October 12, 2006

American church leader shocked at Iraq body count

-12/10/06

The head of the largest inter-church body in the United States has said he is appalled and remorseful at the latest research on the growing death toll in Iraq, following the US-led invasion and occupation in 2003.

"When I first heard that nearly two-thirds of a million Iraqis have been killed I was shocked and horribly saddened," said the Rev Dr Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA.

"The perpetrators of this war can no longer tell us this is 'collateral damage' as they prosecute this war. They must face up to the widespread death and destruction that is being inflicted daily upon innocent men, women and children living in a country that never attacked the United States," Edgar declared.
A Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology study released this morning estimates the number of Iraqi civilian deaths to be more than 650,000 since the invasion of Iraq three years ago.

The report, conducted by American and Iraqi epidemiologists, puts the number of civilian deaths at more than 20 times the estimates calculated by the Bush administration and the Pentagon.

"Nearly every major Christian church leader spoke out against this war before the invasion," said Edgar. "They warned that such a war did not remotely meet the criteria of a just war. If these new estimates are true, the criterion of avoiding the deaths of non-combatants has been shattered," he said.

Religious leaders from the late Pope John Paul II, to Orthodox and mainstream Protestants, all expressed opposition to the war before it began. Only the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported the war effort.

"I attended a 2002 New Year's Eve service at a Presbyterian church in Baghdad where I met Caroline, a four year old Iraqi," Edgar recalled. "Her picture hangs near the door to my office. I pray for her, her family and all of the Iraqi people who have endured unspeakable horrors. May a just and lasting peace be found by good and faithful people to bring an end soon to this dreadful war in Iraq," said Dr Edgar.

The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, African American and historic peace churches with 45 million members in 100,000 congregations in all fifty states.

American church leader shocked at Iraq body count

-12/10/06

The head of the largest inter-church body in the United States has said he is appalled and remorseful at the latest research on the growing death toll in Iraq, following the US-led invasion and occupation in 2003.

"When I first heard that nearly two-thirds of a million Iraqis have been killed I was shocked and horribly saddened," said the Rev Dr Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA.

"The perpetrators of this war can no longer tell us this is 'collateral damage' as they prosecute this war. They must face up to the widespread death and destruction that is being inflicted daily upon innocent men, women and children living in a country that never attacked the United States," Edgar declared.
A Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology study released this morning estimates the number of Iraqi civilian deaths to be more than 650,000 since the invasion of Iraq three years ago.

The report, conducted by American and Iraqi epidemiologists, puts the number of civilian deaths at more than 20 times the estimates calculated by the Bush administration and the Pentagon.

"Nearly every major Christian church leader spoke out against this war before the invasion," said Edgar. "They warned that such a war did not remotely meet the criteria of a just war. If these new estimates are true, the criterion of avoiding the deaths of non-combatants has been shattered," he said.

Religious leaders from the late Pope John Paul II, to Orthodox and mainstream Protestants, all expressed opposition to the war before it began. Only the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported the war effort.

"I attended a 2002 New Year's Eve service at a Presbyterian church in Baghdad where I met Caroline, a four year old Iraqi," Edgar recalled. "Her picture hangs near the door to my office. I pray for her, her family and all of the Iraqi people who have endured unspeakable horrors. May a just and lasting peace be found by good and faithful people to bring an end soon to this dreadful war in Iraq," said Dr Edgar.

The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, African American and historic peace churches with 45 million members in 100,000 congregations in all fifty states.

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