1st Strike Against Iraq Would Be Hard to Justify, Says Cardinal McCarrick

Reflects U.S. Bishops’ Thinking

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 27, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Restating the position of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick urged lawmakers to avoid war with Iraq unless American life is in immediate danger.

«Right now we would say a defensive war under certain circumstances is permitted,» the archbishop of Washington told radio station WTOP, according to the weekly Catholic Standard (www.cathstan.org/news/current/index.shtml).

«When you look at Iraq, I guess if the president really has that kind of information that we’re in real proximate danger from Iraq then you could make a case,» the cardinal said.

«I don’t think the bishops feel that the case has been made yet,» he added. «That’s why we’re saying to please go slowly, please try to see exactly what the situation is before we do something which we would have to say would not be moral.»

Archbishop McCarrick appeared with news anchor Mike Moss on Monday’s news special, «Ask the Cardinal,» fielding questions on possible military action against Iraq, clerical sex abuse, stem cell research and the shortage of priests.

The cardinal said that, even in a defensive war, a country ought to follow such rules as proportionality of means and avoidance of civilian casualties. He added that a first-strike attack would be extremely difficult to justify, in the absence of circumstances such as clear knowledge of biological weapons.

«I think what the bishops hope is that as the president and Congress talk about this, that we might have the opportunity to weigh in with the moral values — that that would be something they would consider also,» Cardinal McCarrick said.

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