From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3284 Welsh Anglican Bishops issue statement on Iraq

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Fri, 31 Jan 2003 23:22:11 -0000

ACNS 3284     |     WALES     |     31 JANUARY 2003

Welsh Anglican Bishops issue statement on Iraq

The Bishops of the Church in Wales, along with the bishop-elect of Monmouth,
today submitted a statement to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select
Committee, in which they argue that the justifications suggested so far by
the US and UK administrations in support of war against Iraq remain 'far
from convincing'. A copy has also been sent to Prime Minister, Tony Blair,
ahead of his meeting with US President, George Bush, on Friday.

In their statement, the Bishops emphasise that, despite the report of Chief
Weapons Inspector Hans Blix to the UN yesterday, they "...remain to be
convinced that there is sufficient evidence of Iraqi intent, or threat to
use whatever weapons of mass destruction (WMD) it has in its possession.
Until such evidence is produced, we have to oppose the idea of such a war.
In Christian terms the moral case for a just war are very strict indeed."

The principles of a just war are:

- There must be a just cause
- The use of force is the only way left of effecting change
- There must be a properly constituted authority to pursue the war
- There must be a clear and achievable goal
- The amount of force used must be no more than is strictly necessary
- Reconciliation and the establishing of a just peace must be the ultimate
end of the conflict and not conquest and subjugation.

The Bishops continue by saying:

"Even if possession and intent could be proved, there would still be issues
to address from within these criteria, not least how pre-emption can be
proportionate. Despite the claims of smart technology for limiting civilian
casualties, we are concerned that the loss of innocent life in Iraq would be
excessive. If 'regime change' is a war aim as well as the destruction of WMD
capacity, this 'collateral' damage is likely to be particularly severe.

"We urge members of the British Government and the American administration
along with other members of the Security Council, to draw back now at the
last minute from military intervention, unless and until substantial new
evidence of intent as well as possession is available or it can be shown
that such a war would improve regional and international security rather
than undermine it, particularly with the risk of more terrorism."

The ACNSlist is published by the Anglican Communion Office, London.

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