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:
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."