No moral case for bombing Syria, says Archbishop of Wales

By agency reporter
December 4, 2015

The Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, argues there is no moral case for bombing Syria and warns such action would put civilians at considerable risk and drive more recruits to IS. He fears our involvement in Syria will make matters worse, as it did in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Dr Morgan says, “It is obvious therefore that even on a just war argument, a clear moral case for bombing Syria cannot be advanced.”


The Archbishop’s full statement

Over recent days and weeks, the question of whether the UK should bomb Syria has been widely debated.  It is not just a matter for politicians because over the centuries, Christians and theologians have discussed the theory of the just war.  One thing is certain – it can never be argued, from a Christian viewpoint that going to war can ever be a good act, since of necessity it involves one in evil.  It may however sometimes be the right and necessary thing to do which is why the just war theory has been formulated.  Applied to Syria, as to any war, there are a number of criteria to be considered:

- Is the cause just?
- Is it being undertaken as a last resort when all other methods have failed?
- Are the means employed just?
- Is there a reasonable chance of success?
- Are the results likely to be better than if the war had not been fought?

There is no doubt that the supporters of the so called Islamic State pose a grave threat and it can be argued that since there is United Nations support, the cause is just.  Its aims are to secure international peace, security and freedom.  It is not at all certain however that bombing Syria will succeed in stopping the terror being perpetrated.  Indeed it might incite IS to more violence and at the same time win more recruits to its ranks against the West.

In Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, our involvement in war has made matters worse.  The same could be true of Syria and there is no guarantee of rooting out IS.  The risk to innocent civilians is also considerable since the combatants have by now merged into large centres of population.  It is obvious therefore that even on a just war argument, a clear moral case for bombing Syria cannot be advanced.

* The Church in Wales


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.