War on Iraq an Admission of Failure

18 March 2003

The national leader of the Uniting Church in Australia today expressed deep grief and sorrow at the announcement by Prime Minister John Howard, that he was committing Australia troops to a war in Iraq.

"Today is a day of grief and sorrow because the announcement of war is an admission of failure. Yet another new century begins with bloodshed and destruction as a means of solving our problems, said Rev Professor James Haire.

"Jesus urged his followers to be peacemakers. He spoke in favour of love, justice and hope for the world.

"This war is wrong. It will not produce peace. It will lead to untold suffering for innocent people in and around Iraq. We must remember that the Iraqi people have had no say in who rules them, or the actions of their government, but their names will make up a large part of the causality list of this war. I fear that this action will set off renewed Middle East tensions that could take another 30 years to resolve. One outcome will be increased terrorism against innocent people extending to Indonesia and South-East Asia. The road for religious reconciliation between moderate Christians and Muslims has become much, much harder.

"Two months ago Mr Howard said a second United Nations resolution was necessary before a strike on Iraq. Today he says there is already enough justification to launch an attack. These mixed signals do not help.

"If the USA, UK and Australia truly believe in justice for oppressed peoples they would have done more for the Iraqi population much sooner, and would have acted against other oppressive regimes in places like Burma, China, Zimbabwe and Sudan."

We will continue to pray for safety for all people caught up in this conflict including our troops and chaplains. I urge, still, that Australians pray for peace in Iraq, and that God will truly bless the peacemakers.