Pax Christi USA is saddened by the violence which has gripped Iraq in recent days and which has led to further suffering for the people of that nation. The people of Iraq have borne the brunt of violence for far too long and our hearts are broken over the killing and displacement now taking place. We join Pope Francis—and people all over the world—in praying for an end to the violence and for “security and peace and a future of reconciliation and justice where all Iraqis, whatever their religious affiliation, will be able together to build up their country, making a model of coexistence.” (Pope Francis, June 16, 2014)
In response to the recent unrest in Iraq and the possibility of the crisis continuing to spread, Pax Christi USA is unequivocal in its assertion that U.S. military intervention will not achieve the peace and stability that the people of Iraq deserve. A military solution—whether it include air strikes or ground troops or an increase in the flow of weapons into Iraq—will only serve to increase the suffering of the Iraqi people, not alleviate it. Furthermore, military intervention increases the risk of widening the conflict in the region.
Pax Christi USA calls for a fully inclusive international diplomatic process to address this crisis. The crisis, while centered in Iraq but also including the ongoing tragedy in Syria, is regional in nature and requires a multi-lateral diplomatic response initiated by the United Nations and including regional authorities like the Arab League. The hope for a peaceful solution lies in an effort which addresses the political concerns of all the major factions in the region.
We believe that the unfolding tragedy in Iraq is a direct, if unintended, consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country. Further military intervention will only exacerbate the situation and perpetuate the cycle of violence and suffering. We pray that the hearts of those in power will be moved to solutions which offer the promise of an end to war. We encourage all people of good will to demand from our leaders that they recognize the failure of military options to bring about the security and peace the Iraqi people deserve and to put their efforts into political, diplomatic solutions to end this violence once and for all.