Civilian Society Is Key in Iraqi Reconstruction, Says Archbishop Martin

Warns That Current Situation Shows the Limits of Military Intervention

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RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The presence of soldiers in Iraq can guarantee security, but military intervention contributes little to the development of the society, says a former Vatican observer to the United Nations in Geneva.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin outlined his views when he addressed the topic “Iraq: The Difficult Reconstruction,” at the weeklong “Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples,” organized by the Communion and Liberation movement in this Italian coastal city.

“A military intervention contributes little to the development of society, fundamental condition for the realization of democracy,” said the archbishop, who is now the coadjutor in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

After recalling the recent attack on the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, Archbishop Martin stressed that “Iraq is not a new Yugoslavia” and that “the situation of insecurity is much more extensive.”

“The fragility of the Iraqi community and the fragmentation of the different ethnic groups was known,” he said. “Saddam knew it and that is why he distributed weapons among the different communities.”

Now the country needs democracy for its reconstruction, and democracy “does not grow on its own, especially if it comes out of a dictatorship,” the archbishop emphasized.

“The present situation shows the limits of military intervention,” he said. “The security of a country cannot be built only on the presence of armed forces.”

“The reconstruction of Iraq must begin by the progress of the civilian society,” and given that such a society does “not exist … it is necessary to inspire and assist it to make it emerge in an evident way,” he added.

The archbishop added: “Only when the human capacities are released that are in the population, will self-government be possible, going beyond the condition of an occupied country.”

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