War on Terrorism Should Be Primarily Non-Military, Say U.S. Bishops

Panel Urges Support of International Community Needed

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 11, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops’ conference says the war on terrorism should be fought with the backing of the world community and primarily by non-military means.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the administrative committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference issued a statement recalling the tragedy.

«9/11. What this date now represents has changed our lives, our nation, our world and our community of faith,» the statement said. «9/11 has become a symbol of unspeakable evil and deep loss, of tremendous sacrifice and great faith and of challenges we continue to face as a people.»

«The murder of so many innocent people from so many countries requires us to act as a nation and to offer continuing consolation and support as a people,» it continued. «The loss of life in Afghanistan, whether U.S. military personnel or Afghan men, women and children, also weighs heavily on us.»

It added: «Our faith tells us that every life is precious whether a person worked at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or was on the flight that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, or lived in Afghanistan.»

Turning to the future, the bishops’ statement said: «Firm resolve in defending innocent life and the common good against terrorism is still required of our nation. In this necessary task, we must ensure restraint in the use of military force, insisting that traditional moral norms governing war and protecting the innocent must be observed.»

«This ‘war on terrorism’ should be fought with the support of the international community and primarily by non-military means, denying terrorists resources, recruits, and opportunities for their evil acts,» the statement insisted.

«We also need to ensure that poor people at home and around the world do not bear disproportionate burdens in the sacrifices ahead,» it added. «As we confront evil acts, which no cause can justify, this ‘war on terrorism’ must not deflect us from sustained commitment to overcome poverty, conflict and injustice, particularly in the Middle East and the developing world, which can provide fertile ground in which hopelessness and terrorism thrive.

«Our faith calls us to seek not only a safer world, but a more just and peaceful world for all God’s children.»

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