Canadian Bishops' Speak Up Against War on Iraq

Say Western Policy Has Undermined Democracy There

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OTTAWA, JAN. 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Warning that an attack on Iraq will lead to "more hatred and and re-energized extremism," the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for peace in the Middle East.



In a statement "Prepare for Peace in Iraq" (see Documents), the conference noted that in the 1991 Gulf War, "tens of thousands of children, women and men were killed."

It insisted: "Outlaw regimes that still retain or aspire to the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction cannot be allowed to stand, in Iraq or anywhere else."

"Iraqi governments will be most likely to permanently forego the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction when the Iraqi people have the means to define and mandate alternative national priorities," the statement continued.

"Yet," it said, "for many decades Western policy has undermined the pursuit of democracy and relentlessly disempowered the very people of Iraq on whom constructive change depends."

It added: "The West's active military and political support for the regime of Saddam Hussein until 1990, as well as comprehensive economic sanctions since then, has left the tyrannical regime strengthened and enriched and the people demeaned and impoverished. We reject the increasing resort to military means to resolve entrenched conflicts."