stopping the surge

Just received this via e-mail ..

Washington DC - A group of Catholic leaders today released the statement below in opposition to President Bush's plan to escalate the war in Iraq.

January, 2007
On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced a change in Iraq policy. We, as organizations of Catholics and as individuals, come together to respond to these new Iraq initiatives.

We respond in the context of Jesus’ call to us in the beatitudes to be people of peace (Matt 5:9), and to love our enemies (Luke 6:27) as well as the November 2006 statement by the President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop William S. Skylstad. In that statement, Bishop Skylstad notes that the pain and destruction of the war in Iraq is “measured in lives lost and many more injured, in widespread sectarian strife, civil insurgency and terrorist attacks, and in the daily struggles of Iraqis to build a decent future for their devastated nation.” He noted further that the way forward is bleak and stated that “The Holy See and our Conference now support broad and necessary international engagement to promote stability and reconstruction in Iraq.”

We are keenly aware that the members of the U.S. military and their families are shouldering the heavy burdens of extended service in Iraq. They risk death and injury of both body and spirit. However, it is crucial to recognize that political and economic concerns, not military issues, are fueling the continuing strife. Therefore, only solutions that combine the political, diplomatic, economic and religious issues Iraqis face will effectively resolve the underlying conflict and bring peace to Iraq. As the last three years have demonstrated, increasing the U.S. troop presence in Iraq will neither address the root causes of civil strife nor quell the violence. Increased U.S. military action will needlessly endanger our troops and detract from effective action to achieve a cease-fire and create peace. Therefore, the escalation of military presence in Iraq is detrimental to our men and women in the armed forces.

The escalation of military action is far more harmful to Iraqi citizens who are paying the ultimate price in ever-increasing numbers through violence, hunger and lack of ordinary services. Every day, more and more ordinary Iraqis are fleeing their homes and becoming refugees – either within Iraq or in neighboring countries. This dislocation spreads religious, economic and political instability around the region, making it increasingly difficult to handle the influx of those traumatized by this war. The escalation of military action is detrimental to the Iraqi people and the surrounding region.

United States citizens are keenly aware that the military is not an effective tool for bringing peace to Iraq. U.S. citizens understand that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war that requires the engagement of all parties in a peace process in order to resolve the issues. Military action in this context only brings more violence and bloodshed and no end to this conflict. The escalation of military action is detrimental the desires of people of the United States.

Finally, only those in the military and their families are sacrificing for the sake of this war. There has been no effort to finance this war with taxes or other military offsets and the war has been funded without consideration of its impact on the overall federal budget. This fiscal irresponsibility will hamper future generations as they are forced to pay the bills for this generation’s war. The escalation of military action is detrimental to the economic future of the United States.


We oppose the proposed escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq noting that prior escalations have not resulted in increased peace and stability. Troop escalations in Baghdad in the late summer and early fall of 2006 resulted in increased violence and death for both U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

We support the President’s call for economic development in Iraq, noting that the current unemployment rate is running at 40 to 50%. Additionally, 60% of the population is under the age of 25 and is in dire need of alternatives to imagine a better future. Any economic development should directly benefit the Iraqi people and their communities, not contractors from other corners of the world.

We urge the President to engage in diplomatic and political negotiations seeking a comprehensive cease fire by all factions in Iraq and the region. The rejection of a comprehensive diplomatic effort is a short-sighted view of American interests. A surge of diplomacy, not an escalation of troops is what is required.

The statement is signed by the leaders from NETWORK, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Pax Christi USA, Center of Concern, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, and others. (See a full list here).

I think I'll send the President an e-mail myself. And the Vice President & Secretary of Defense for good measure. I know it will make no difference, but at least I will have voiced my opinions on this grave matter. If history has taught me anything, it is the importance of using one's freedoms to stand up against what one believes to be morally wrong.

Pray for Peace. And for our brothers and sisters who will die in Iraq today.

UPDATE: NETWORK now was an easy way to send this message to the President and your Representatives. Just visit their Legislative Action Center!

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