Tuesday, November 14, 2006

End the War in Iraq

One of the resolutions passed at The Episcopal Church's General Convention last June has not gotten the publicity it deserves. Consequently, I'm highlighting it today. It is resolution D020, entitled End the War in Iraq:

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church affirm the conclusion of the October 1, 2002 letter of the House of Bishops to members of Congress, stating that the conditions of the “Just War” tradition have not been met in the national government’s decision to attack the nation of Iraq; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention of The Episcopal Church call upon the Congress and the President to immediately develop for implementation a plan for the stabilization of Iraq, to be followed by the prompt withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq, to provide for transfer of peacekeeping functions to an international peacekeeping force, to work through international and Iraqi organizations in the reconstruction of Iraq’s civil and economic infrastructure, and for the full restoration of Iraqi sovereignty; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention call on The Episcopal Church to acknowledge and confess that our government’s participation in the war in Iraq has resulted in individual and global injustices including passive acceptance of the loss of our military personnel, lack of support and care for those returning home, indifference to the loss of countless Iraqi citizens, silent response to atrocities, illegal confinement without representation or formal charges and torture; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention call on The Episcopal Church to request the Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer to step-up dialogue with the Iraqi Muslim and Christian community to work toward nonviolent resolutions to conflict; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention, as a community of faith committed to reconciliation and nonviolence taught in the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, direct the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council to encourage wide use of Christian formation materials that stress nonviolent methods to conflict resolution and change; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention request the Standing Liturgical Commission to commission prayers and liturgies to be used in time of war, and that the General Convention call on Episcopalians to honor and support, through their prayers and actions, the armed service men and women who return home with injuries to body, mind, and spirit that they might be restored to wholeness of life and assisted in recovering from injury and trauma; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention call on all Episcopalians to honor through their prayers and actions the men and women who conscientiously serve their country and especially those who have been killed and wounded; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention call upon all Episcopalians as an act of penitence, to oppose and resist through advocacy, protest, and electoral action the continuation of the war in Iraq, and encourage the President and Congress to take proactive steps to end our participation as soon as possible.

EXPLANATION
On October 1, 2002, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church sent a letter to members of Congress in which they argued that the conditions for a just war had not been met in the national government's decision to attack the nation of Iraq. Nevertheless, the Armed Forces of the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, based upon the assertion by the national government that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction which presented a threat to the U.S. No such weapons were ever found. And on January 12, 2005, the President officially declared an end to the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

More than 2,400 members of the United States Armed Forces have been killed as part of the ongoing combat operations in Iraq. The Defense Department's official tally of US wounded as of April 28, 2006 was 17,648 . Independent estimates of US wounded range from 15,000 to 48,100. Various estimates place the number of unarmed, innocent Iraqi civilians killed as part of the ongoing combat operations in Iraq between 38,000 and 100,000.

The very presence of 150,000 American troops in Iraq is resented by the majority of the Iraqi population, fueling the insurgency and contributing to the continuing instability. A majority of the people in both the United States and Iraq favor the withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Iraq.

We certainly recognize that faithful Christians of good will may disagree with one another when it comes to questions of national policy. We trust, however, that all Christians will pray and work for peace, remembering the words, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."

Several measures are being considered in Congress that propose various timelines for withdrawal, many with bi-partisan support. We would urge the adoption of one or more of them as soon as possible.

You can read more of what the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion have said over the years regarding war and violence at the Episcopal Peace Fellowship's site on a page entitled "Cross Before Flag".

J.

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