Sunday, January 14, 2007

What to Do About Iraq?

I was gratified to read that the U.S. Bishops have called for extensive public discussion concerning our options for the future regarding Iraq. Will they go further and help us start to examine why we went there in the first place and what that says about our national priorities and policies towards other nations? I hope so.

U.S. Bishops Call for Responsible Action in Iraq WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 14, 2007

( New proposals for how to proceed in Iraq must be judged by how the plan seeks to "bring about a responsible transition in Iraq," says the U.S. bishops' conference.Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. conference, said in a statement sent Friday that the "course of action, including current policies, ought to be evaluated in light of our nation's moral responsibility to help Iraqis to live with security and dignity in the aftermath of U.S. military action."

He added: "Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as their presence actually contributes to a responsible transition. Our nation should seek effective ways to end their deployment at the earliest opportunity consistent with this goal. "Determining when a responsible transition can be met, Bishop Skylstad noted, will include reaching such benchmarks as minimally acceptable levels of security; economic reconstruction to create employment for Iraqis; stronger political structures and greater respect for religious freedom and basic human rights.

Bishop Skylstad also repeated calls for a "substantive, civil and nonpartisan" debate about alternative choices in Iraq and added that this "civil dialogue is even more essential and urgent at this moment of national discussion and decision."

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