December 6, 2002
Contact: Michael Jones at 814-453-4955, ext 228
In an official statement released on December 6, Pax Christi USA urges the Bush administration to push for alternatives to war. According to the statement, "the best way to security and peace in the region continues to be the U.N.-administered process of weapons inspections and a strategy for regional disarmament as called for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, Article 14."
The statement articulates the ramifications of war, noting that a new war with Iraq will risk the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians who stand to suffer directly from bombs or through renewed destruction of utilities, health facilities and civilian infrastructure.
"Iraqi citizens have already suffered tremendously-at the hands of their own government and at the hands of economic sanctions imposed at the end of the Gulf War-and a new war will cause even more human suffering, a countless number of casualties and further environmental devastation," the statement reads.
"Along with the U.S. Catholic bishops, Pax Christi USA asks the Bush administration to consider alternatives to war," stated Dave Robinson, national coordinator of Pax Christi USA. "U.S. citizens need to realize that an attack on Iraq is not simply an attack on Saddam Hussein. It will be the people of Iraq-women and children-who will pay the most severe costs of war," said Robinson, who will be traveling to Iraq as part of a delegation of religious leaders from December 8-21.
For media interviews, please contact Michael Jones at 814-453-4955, ext 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Holy One, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:4-5)
Pax Christi USA unequivocally opposes a military attack on the people of Iraq. We believe that current efforts by U.N. weapons inspectors in determining Iraq's capabilities should be allowed to be completed and reported to the international community.
Pax Christi USA stands in solidarity with our Iraqi brothers and sisters as they brace for the possibility of war against their country. Iraqi citizens have already suffered tremendously-at the hands of their own government and at the hands of economic sanctions imposed at the end of the Gulf War-and a new war will cause even more human suffering, a countless number of casualties and further environmental devastation. If the U.S. attacks Iraq, the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers will be risked and the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians will surely be lost-either directly by bombs or through the renewed destruction of utilities, health facilities and civilian infrastructure as we saw in the Gulf War in 1991. Any attack on Iraq will also further alienate U.S. allies and dramatically increase anti-American sentiment throughout the world, drastically increasing the threat of terrorist attacks against the U.S.
The Bush administration has continually attempted to situate the need for military action against Iraq within the broader context of the war on terrorism. However, they have offered no evidence of any links between Saddam Hussein and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Neither have they offered concrete evidence that Iraq currently poses any threat to its neighbors or the U.S. nor is actively supporting the al-Qaeda terrorist network. The best way to security and peace in the region continues to be the U.N.-administered process of weapons inspections and a strategy for regional disarmament as called for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, Article 14.
Moreover, Pax Christi USA fundamentally challenges the Bush administration's foreign policy doctrine. While the Bush doctrine says a strike on Iraq would extend "the benefits of freedom, democracy, prosperity and the rule of law," waging a war on Iraq will instead tear apart the very seams of international security, opening the door to the establishment of policies based solely on regime change in sovereign states. Every nation that has ever practiced regime change as a policy has been condemned by history as an aggressor nation. Catholic Social Teaching, including principles of just war theory, is explicit in its rejection of all forms of aggression. Therefore Pax Christi USA finds the Bush Administration's policy of regime change both unwise and unjust and thoroughly incompatible with any criteria for establishing the basis for peace.
Pax Christi USA reaffirms the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops statement urging President Bush to seek alternative means to war with Iraq. We call on the U.S. Catholic community, and all U.S. citizens to oppose a new war with Iraq. As we prepare for the coming of the Christmas season, let us remember our commitment to work for justice in our world. "Here are my servants-my chosen ones in whom I delight. I have put my spirit upon them. And they will call the nations to justice (Isaiah 42:1-2)
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