Issue Date: January 27, 2006
Bishops call for 'responsible transition' in Iraq
By JOE FEUERHERD
Rejecting both a cut and run and stay the course strategy in a Jan. 12 statement, the chairman of the U.S. Bishops International Policy committee called for serious and civil discussions of alternatives that emphasize planning for a responsible transition in Iraq.
Our nations military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as it takes for a responsible transition, leaving sooner rather than later, said Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenskis eight-page statement. Wenski, in a phone interview with NCR, declined to specify what sooner and later might mean in the Iraqi context. The devil, as they say, is in the details, said Wenski.
Those details, according to the eight-page statement, include an appreciation for the new set of moral responsibilities to help Iraqis secure and rebuild their country, which the United States must accept in light of its intervention and continued military presence. While the U.S. bishops and the Vatican made known their opposition to an invasion of Iraq prior to the March 2003 attack our nation cannot just look back, said the statement. The central moral question is not just the timing of U.S. withdrawal, but rather the nature and extent of U.S. and international engagement that allow for a responsible transition to security and stability for the Iraqi people, said the statement.
The carefully nuanced statement continued: We must resist a pessimism that might move our nation to abandon the moral responsibilities it accepted in using force and might tempt us to withdraw prematurely from Iraq without regard for moral and human consequences, while rejecting an optimism that fails to acknowledge clearly past mistakes, failed intelligence, and inadequate planning related to Iraq, and minimizes the serious challenges and human costs that lie ahead.
In addition, the Wenski statement:
Further, the Wenski statement reiterates the bishops skepticism concerning the doctrine of preventive war. Absent the threat of an imminent attack, said the Wenski statement, such a policy raises serious moral and juridical questions.
The statement was developed over several months, Wenski told NCR, and included input from a broad spectrum of those involved in Iraq policy, including Bush administration officials, academics, nongovernmental organizations, and members of the military.
Joe Feuerherd is NCR Washington correspondent. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Catholic Reporter, January 27, 2006
|Copyright © The
National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, 115 E. Armour Blvd.,
Kansas City, MO 64111
All rights reserved.
TEL: 816-531-0538 FAX: 1-816-968-2280 Send comments about this Web site to: email@example.com