Bush's own denomination calls for an end to Iraq war

By staff writers
January 15, 2007

The United Methodist Church President Bush's own denomination, has added its voice to the growing global chorus of disapproval - echoed strongly by many American Christians - towards the new White House policy backing a military 'surge' in Iraq.

On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the top executive for the church's social justice agency has called on United Methodists to say no to more troops in Iraq and to participate in a 27 January 2007 rally in Washington DC to end the war in Iraq.

"As the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. approaches, we are reminded of his prophetic words decrying the Vietnam War," said Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, in a statement at the end of last week.

"Dr King stated that given the widespread destruction caused by that war, the people of Vietnam must have seen us as 'strange liberators.' So, too, is the United States viewed today by the people of Iraq," he declared.

Winkler called upon the US Congress to oppose sending more troops by withholding funds.

He continued: "We further urge Congress not to provide any additional money to continue the war this year. Congress should provide funding only to bring US troops home and to aid in rebuilding Iraq."

President George W. Bush announced on 10 January that the only way to stop the violence in Iraq was to send more than 20,000 additional American troops into combat.

In his address to the nation, Bush said, "Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory."

"In more than four years of war and preparation for war, President Bush has repeatedly said that his military leaders have told him they have sufficient troops to fight this war," Winkler said.

"Now, the president has changed course, overruling his generals by ordering up more than 20,000 additional soldiers, even though he has been advised this will not work," he concluded.

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