Ethical Conditions Outlined for U.S. Military Operation

Statements by Vatican Secretary for Relations with States

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2001 ( A top Vatican aide has spelled out the conditions needed for the U.S. military operation against Afghanistan to stay within ethical parameters.

In statements Friday to the Parisian newspaper La Croix, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, illustrated the Vatican´s position.

«The response to the barbarous acts of Sept. 11 cannot be an act of vengeance but of justice, in order to rectify the grave injustice committed,» he said.

«The intervention cannot be an occasion to display hatred, and the means chosen for the reparation of such an injustice must be peaceful,» Archbishop Tauran added. «Only when all political, diplomatic and financial means have been exhausted, can one think of taking recourse to force.»

For this to happen, the archbishop listed three key conditions that must characterize the response to the terrorist attacks:

–«the use of force must have clearly defined objectives.»

–«[an] operation like this must respond to certain moral criteria: to protect innocent lives, and not make civilians the object of direct attacks.»

–«use of force must be proportional to the harm that is combated, and not simply a response to the means used by the adversaries. The use of weapons of mass destruction must always be excluded, because of their power to devastate entire areas.»

Archbishop Tauran added: «We recognize that Operation Enduring Freedom is a response to the terrorist aggression against innocent civilians, acts that violated all international laws and humanitarian norms.

«Today we all recognize that the United States government, like any other government, has the right to legitimate defense, because it has the mission to guarantee the security of its citizens.»

He observed that in the light of the Gospel, peace is not simply the absence of war.

«It is something more than a principle,» the Vatican aide said. «It is a spirit, it involves the renewal of hearts, it requires the adoption of spiritual principles. This is why the Church sees the need for a process of education as well as prayers.»

«There is no peace without truth, no peace without fraternity, no peace without liberty,» he added. «There is no peace without solidarity, no peace without finding, with God´s help, a way for men to live in harmony with him, with others, and with the world the Creator gave us.»

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