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[casi] Pope Emphatically Rejects Potential US War

Good for Pope John Paul II.
Reuters. 13 January 2003. Pope says 'No' to war in Iraq.

VATICAN CITY -- Putting the Vatican on a diplomatic collision course with the
United States, Pope John Paul on Monday condemned the possibility of a war in
Iraq, saying it was avoidable and would be a "defeat for humanity."

"No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for
humanity," he said in his annual "state of the world" address to diplomats
from 175 countries accredited to the Vatican.

Diplomats said his clear and forceful words appeared to signal the start of a
new diplomatic crisis with the United States -- a repeat of the one which
broke out between the Holy See and Washington over the Gulf War in 1991.

"And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike Iraq, the
land of the Prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than 12 years of
embargo?," he said.

"War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling
differences between nations," he said in a clear reference to the military
build-up for a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq.

"War itself is an attack on human life since it brings in its wake suffering
and death. The battle for peace is always a battle for life," he said.

He said international law and diplomacy were the only means worthy of
resolving differences.

"War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common
good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict
conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population
both during and after the military operations," he said.

This was a reference to the Roman Catholic Church's teaching of a "just war."

During the Gulf War in 1991, relations between the Vatican and the United
States were strained because the Pope refused to state unequivocally that the
conflict was a "just" one.

The Church teaches that a "just war" requires that the use of military force
should meet rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.

It also says that all other means must be exhausted and found ineffective
first, and that the type of force used must be proportionate to the wrong it
tries to rectify.

The pope's re-statement of his opposition to the U.N. embargo against Iraq,
imposed since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, is another area of diplomatic
dispute with Washington.

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