Pax Christi Statement on the War in Iraq
Pax Christi USA has sponsored the following statement on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. The full text and list of co-signers appeared in the March 19th edition of the National Catholic Reporter:
A Pax Christi USA Sign-on Statement on the Fourth Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq
“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” -Hosea 8:7
For four long years we have witnessed the steady unraveling of an ancient nation, its peoples’ lives thrown into the whirlwind of war, its social fabric ripped apart, and its future existence threatened. We have, in fact, witnessed what war and violence always and inevitably unleash. Violence always begets violence. As people of faith we have chosen to commit our lives to the path of the nonviolent Jesus. As people of conscience we long ago recognized that, regardless of intention, violence cannot resolve conflict, right wrongs, establish justice, or create peace. For all who would believe that violence can serve any productive purpose, the tragic experience in Iraq should be ample evidence to the contrary. Four years after launching an illegal and immoral war, it is time to bring the U.S. occupation of Iraq to an end. We publicly proclaim our opposition to this occupation and say: “Enough!” We call on our nation’s
leaders to acknowledge, with repentance and sorrow, that our country is on the wrong path. Our military occupation of Iraq continues to breed hatred while fanning ever-expanding sectarian violence. The U.S. is not the honest broker who can craft peace among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Our continued military presence is counterproductive. Current U.S. efforts in Iraq are not intended to establish a secure peace for the Iraqi people, but rather to minimize the political fallout of a failed policy and to shift the blame for our failures in Iraq to the Iraqi government. The inevitable outcome will be as tragic for U.S. troops and the Iraqi people as that failed U.S. policy in Vietnam was a generation ago. A complete reversal of U.S. policy is urgently needed. It is time to step aside and create space for other multinational and regional actors who are better suited to advance the process of reconciliation and the post-occupation transition. At the same time, this nation must take economic responsibility for the destruction and chaos that has been unleashed. Nothing short of a modern-day Marshall Plan is needed to rebuild infrastructure and create jobs, which may offer the greatest hope in bringing about stability and security in Iraq. We mourn the precious lives already lost: over 3,000 U.S. service people are dead, and more than 25,000 maimed; as many as 700,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. This high cost, the result of deception and failed policies, must be faced by our nation’s leaders.
And so we call on President Bush and Members of the new Congress to:
Begin withdrawal of all U.S. military troops;
Cease construction of all permanent bases in Iraq and dismantle bases already constructed;
Stop all funding of the military occupation;
Commit significant funding for the reconstruction of Iraq, under the control and direction of Iraqis;
Assure funding of full benefits, adequate healthcare and ongoing support for all returning U.S. service personnel;
Prosecute companies engaged in illegal war-profiteering, as well as U.S. government collaboration and fiscal mismanagement;
Commence authentic efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and seek a regional solution to the ongoing plight of refugees in the greater Middle East.
WE CALL ON OUR NATION’S LEADERS to chart a new direction for our country, with policies rooted in nonviolence, the pursuit of justice, and a commitment to the well-being and dignity of all God’s people — from Iraq to the Katrina-devastated communities at home, and beyond. Let 2007 be the year that our nation seeks another way in Iraq. Let our nation repent of this illegal, immoral and unjust war, and let us bring the occupation of Iraq to an end. Let us not have to witness a fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.
This time next year, let us see peace, which is the fruit of justice, finally come to Iraq.