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Friday, January 13, 2006

USCCB Issues Statement on Transition in Iraq

Memorial of St. Hilary

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando and chairman of USCCB Committee on International Policy released a statement offering some moral reflections from the Conference to help guide our nation along the difficult road ahead. While remaining skeptical of the concept of preventive war, the bishops recognize the US is bound to execute a "responsible" transition, including fostering increased international cooperation in the region. To their credit they even outline a framework to evaluate progress (something I wish the president would do). Read the whole thing for instructive context. Here's the truffle passage:
Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as it takes for a responsible transition, leaving sooner rather than later. We welcome recent news reports that suggest that troop levels will be reduced as Iraqis assume more responsibility for their own security. But it is important for the United States to send even clearer signals that the goals of U.S. policy are to help Iraqis assume full control of their governance and not to occupy the nation for an indeterminate period. As one example, our government should declare that the presence of U.S. military personnel and bases in Iraq must be an Iraqi decision that respects the needs and sovereignty of the Iraqi people. ...

A responsible transition in Iraq means establishing a series of basic benchmarks, including:

-- Achieving adequate levels of security;

-- Establishing the rule of law;

-- Promoting economic reconstruction to help create reasonable levels of employment and economic opportunity; and

-- Supporting the development of political structures to advance stability, political participation, and respect for religious freedom and basic human rights.
Of course, the trick is defining "adequate," "establishing," "reasonable," and "supporting."

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