Marking the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War on 19 March

Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice: "The war in Iraq has been far more costly in terms of lives lost than anyone could have imagined. We are acutely aware of the appalling death toll of Iraqi civilians as the country struggles to contain the violence. We are mindful of British troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Chaplains who serve alongside them. We are aware of the costly service that they undertake. Our hearts go out to all families who have lost loved ones in the past five years.

"The kidnapping and tragic death of Archbishop Rahho illustrates the extreme danger faced by Christians and other minorities in Iraq today. We are enormously concerned for the Iraqi Christian community and will continue to uphold them in our prayers.

"Following the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq many more people now question whether the invasion was justified and whether this was the only course open to us. It is right that such questions should still be asked today. Iraq has shown us that a military response that seeks to exert control can easily bring further chaos. We need to learn lessons regarding the role of diplomacy, the relationship between the intelligence services and government policy-making and the importance of regional alliances in addressing conflict and post-conflict reconstruction.

"The UK must continue to work with the people of Iraq and offer support. We would ask those with influence to consider how regional powers might be brought together to work on solutions and how to provide security for minorities. We also need to consider how external powers can best help to foster national reconciliation and strengthen political institutions in Iraq."

Notes:
1) The report, Peacemaking: A Christian Vocation, was commended by the 2006 Methodist Conference.

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