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US must ‘redouble efforts’ to protect Iraqis, cardinal tells Obama

By on Friday, 12 November 2010

A Mass at Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad a week after the massacre (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

A Mass at Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad a week after the massacre (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged the US government to “redouble its efforts to assist Iraqis” in providing safety for its citizens, especially religious minorities.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said in a letter to the US president: “To meet its moral obligations to the Iraqi people, it is critically important that the United States take additional steps now to help Iraq protect its citizens, especially Christians and others who are victims of organised attacks.”

Cardinal George reminded Barack Obama that the US bishops had expressed “grave moral questions” before the US-led combat began in Iraq and had warned of the “unpredictable consequences” of that action, adding; “The decimation of the Christian community in Iraq and the continuing violence that threatens all Iraqis are among those tragic consequences.”

The cardinal sent the letter following the October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad that killed 58 people and wounded 75.

The attack, along with recent bombings in Baghdad, “are grim evidence of the savage violence and lack of security that has plagued the Iraqi people, especially Christians and other minorities, for over seven years”, he said.

Although the US bishops welcomed the end of US combat in Iraq, Cardinal George said, the United States “has so far failed in helping Iraqis to develop the political will needed to deploy effective strategies to protect the lives of all citizens”.

“Having invaded Iraq, our nation has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves,” he added.

The cardinal outlined a series of steps that, “at a minimum”, the United States and the international community must help Iraq to achieve. These were:

- Enable the Iraqi government to function for the common good of all Iraqis.

- Build the capacity of Iraq’s military and police to provide security for all citizens, including minorities.

- Improve the judicial system and rule of law.

- Promote reconciliation and the protection of human rights, especially religious freedom.

- Rebuild Iraq’s shattered economy so that Iraqis can support their families.

- Assist refugees and internally displaced Iraqis.

  • Camilo88

    The Chocago's Bishop is rignt. Before Iraq invasion, USA bishops warned Bush about, but he didbt care. I think Obama administration is the same, I think he will not listen also. We, christians, must insist permanently and to appeal Obama interference against Tarek Aziz assassination.

  • Oliver

    He supports the Bush/Obama cut-and-run strategy whilst at the same time wanting America to do more to protect Christians.

    If he knew what the word 'decimated' meant it would be something.

  • Fr. Esua Andrew F. cmf

    The letter of the Bishop to president Obama should be a clarion call to all of us. we should all go down to our kneels and beg the almighty God to grant Obama the grace of boldness to convince those around him. Alone, he cannot do it. let us ask God to open the eyes of these leaders to see the havoc they are causing to humanity which they never participated in the creation but they are busy participating in the distruction. Let us pray that they will realise that the blood of these innocent brothers and sisters being killed in Iraq will be on their heads.