War is hell. The war in Syria is as hellish as most. Families are torn apart. Children are maimed and killed. People who never wanted to pick up a weapon end up committing horrible atrocities. Whole generations are traumatized for life.
But adding more fuel to the fire in the form of “limited strikes” or “force-protected forward actions” or any other state-sponsored violence doesn’t stop war’s hell. At best, it shifts it a little bit. At worst, it spins it in unpredictable directions with more civilians paying the ultimate price.
Des Moines’ Bishop Richard E. Pates, chair of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace issued this statement on Aug. 29. It’s not an earth-shattering statement – but it’s definitely in the right direction:
Dear Secretary Kerry:
Today Pope Francis met with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Regarding their meeting, the Holy
See reported: “Special attention was reserved for the tragic situation in which Syria finds itself.
In this regard, it was reaffirmed that the path of dialogue and negotiation between all
components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option
to put an end to the conflict and to the violence that every day causes the loss of so many human
lives, especially amongst the helpless civilian population.”
With the Holy Father, we abhor the “acts of atrocity” that he decried in the wake of the attack
with chemical weapons. We make our own his admonition: May the “clash of weapons … be
silenced. It is not conflict that offers prospects of hope for solving problems, but rather the
capacity for encounter and dialogue.”
The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a
political solution that ends the fighting and creates a future for all Syrians, one that respects
human rights and religious freedom. We ask the United States to work with other governments
to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial and neutral humanitarian
assistance, and encourage building an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its
citizens, including Christians and other minorities.
See more here.