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US action has moral responsibility to Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNS): Every US action or policy in Iraq “ought to be evaluated in light of our nation’s moral responsibility to help Iraqis to live with security and dignity in the aftermath of US military action”, said the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In a statement released on January 12, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, said the new US policies announced by President George W. Bush on January 10 or any alternatives to them must be viewed within the framework of “a key moral question that ought to guide our nation’s actions in Iraq: How can the US bring about a responsible transition in Iraq?”

He said “benchmarks” for progress toward such a transition include “minimally acceptable levels of security; economic reconstruction to create employment for Iraqis; and political structures and agreements that help overcome divisions, reduce violence, broaden participation and increase respect for religious freedom and basic human rights”.

In his January 10 address on national television, President Bush outlined a plan to boost US troop strength in Iraq by about 21,500 and set a series of benchmarks the Iraqi Government is expected to meet in coming months to stabilise the country and promote its economic recovery.

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