Over half the bishops in the United Methodist Church have signed a “Resolution on the War in Iraq” which, in essence, calls for an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. That this resolution is based on a deliberately false premise is evident by the following preamble:
"Whereas, the premises advanced by the United States government for engaging in this war, namely, the presumption of weapons of mass destruction and alleged connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq have not been verified; and,
Whereas, the cycle of violence in which the United States is engaged has created a context for the denigration of human dignity and gross violations of human rights of prisoners of war; ...
Note here that the bishops are engaged in a deliberate deception. They state that the two reasons for going to war were WMDs and Al Qaeda connection. This is false. There were numerous reasons for going into Iraq; reasons which were enumerated in the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq.
The Congressional resolution mentions the following reasons for the invasion:
- The fear that Iraq had WMDs and would either use them or supply them to terrorist organizations.
- The fact that Iraq had stores of WMDs after the first Gulf War and had not provided adequate evidence of their destruction.
- Its demonstrated willingness to use WMDs.
- The fact that Iraq has not cooperated with international efforts to discover its weapons programs
- The brutal repression of its civilian population, its refusal to account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained after the Gulf War 1 and failure to return property wrongfully seized during its invasion of Kuwait.
- Its continued hostility toward the United States including an attempt to assassinate President Bush and by firing “thousands of times” on coalition forces engaged in enforcing UN resolutions.
- Aiding and harboring Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens.
- The attacks on 9/11 underscored the dangers associated with terrorist organizations.
- The numerous UN Security Council resolutions authorizing the “use of all necessary means...” to remove Saddam's threat
- The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 stated that it would be US policy to remove Saddam from power and support a democratic regime,
- The United States is determined to pursue the war on terror and Iraq under Saddam was providing support for international terrorist groups.
The bishops also refer to a “cycle of violence” but refers to the United States as the only actor in that “cycle.” This is not merely false equivalency, so often used during the Cold War to equate the United States to the Soviet Union, but worse. Here we have the bishops identifying the United States as the sole agent of violence. This statement is morally repugnant and intellectually corrupt.
We therefore conclude that the bishops who signed this petition are being either deliberately misleading or so poorly informed as to be a threat to their followers and to the United Methodist Church.
We, therefore, the members of the United Methodist Church, hereby withdraw our support for the bishops who signed this resolution and vote “no confidence” in their leadership.
We request a hearing by members of the jurisdictional conference to determine if the bishops who signed this resolution should be removed for cause.
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