"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

War Crimes in Fallujah

"Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as food-stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of food-stuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works." - Article 14 of the second protocol of the Geneva Conventions

On 16 October the Washington Post reported that:
"Electricity and water were cut off to the city [Fallujah] just as a fresh wave of strikes began Thursday night, an action that U.S. forces also took at the start of assaults on Najaf and Samarra."

"Residents of Fallujah have told the UN’s Integrated Regional Information Networks that they had no food or clean water and did not have time to store enough to hold out through the impending battle. The water shortage has been confirmed by other civilians fleeing Fallujah, Fadhil Badrani, a BBC journalist in Falluja, confirmed on 8 November that the water supply has been cut off.

In light of the shortage of water and other supplies, the Red Cross has attempted
to deliver water to Fallujah. However the US has refused to allow shipments of
water into the Fallujah until it has taken control of the city." - "Denial of Water to Iraqi Cities", publication of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq, November, 2004.

Two fundamental Catholic moral principles regarding the conduct of armed conflict are:

"1) Noncombatant Immunity: civilians may not be the object of direct attack, and military personnel must take due care to avoid and minimize indirect harm to civilians;
2) Proportionality: in the conduct of hostilities, efforts must be made to attain military objectives with no more force than is militarily necessary and to avoid disproportionate collateral damage to civilian life and property;" - "The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace", National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993.

In solidary with the people of Iraq, I pray that our bishops will raise their voices in protest at this blatant violation of Catholic teachings on restraint during war.

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