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Anglican Bishops condemn war on Iraq
Posted: Friday, April 4, 2003

BISHOPS of the Anglican church in the Province of the West Indies have condemned the assault on Iraq by the United States-led coalition forces.

"We stand aghast at the devastation wrought on the historic cities of Iraq by cruise missiles and smart bombs", they said. The bishops made their position clear at a meeting held in St John's Barbados last week, with Bishop Calvin Bess of Trinidad and Tobago, among the delegates. Claiming that war was abhorrent to the Christians' drive for peace, the Bishops said about the war in Iraq: "This war, like all wars has raised a number of moral questions".

The Bishops noted that for some time, there has been present among some Christians, the theory of the "just war". "It is a theory that searches for a moral justification of war. Some persons have attempted to use it to justify the war on Iraq. "If the criteria of proportionality and immunity are important in a "just war", then it is difficult, if not impossible, to find any Christian or moral justification for the destruction of non-combatants", said the Bishops. They continued: "No small group of countries can assume for themselves, the right to change the government or regime in another country. "The war in Iraq demonstrates a frightening use of power that cannot be morally justified. "It can place the entire world in crisis. It leads to the haunting question - `Who's next?'".

The bishops said they stood firmly with other Christian communities throughout the world who have expressed their opposition to the war in Iraq and have affirmed their desire for justice and peace through love. "We believe that there was a viable alternative to war, the way of peaceful disarmament through the inspection process. We regret that the process of weapons inspection was frustrated, due to the commencement of the war in Iraq."

Urging the recognition of all the terms of the Geneva Conventions applicable in times of war, the Bishops urged the immediate cessation of hostilities and a swift response to relieve the pain and suffering that have been inflicted upon the people of Iraq. "We call on all persons to re-examine their attitudess to war and violence and to re-commit themselves to the pursuit of justice and peace", said the Bishops. They also said that as Christians, they could not condone the assumed right of any country to develop weapons of mass destruction, or to engage in acts of oppression against its citizens or those of other nations, or to support terrorism.

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