VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A senior American cardinal in the Vatican has accused the U.S. administration of “moral failure” and deception in Iraq and warned the war had severely compromised future relations with the Arab world.
In an interview due to be published in the June edition of “Inside the Vatican” magazine, Cardinal James Francis Stafford also said the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was the work of “barbarians.” An advance copy was made available to Reuters.
• stop ignoring America’s dismal human rights record
• stop his support for human rights violations (e.g. America’s use and promotion of the death penalty and America’s use of torture
• stop violating – and fighting against – international law,
• to stop supporting cults and extremist groups such as the Unification Church and the Scientology organization, and to
• stop claiming the alleged support of God as an excuse for furthering his own agenda
Stafford, the former archbishop of Denver who has been working in the Vatican since 1996, said the reasons for starting the war in Iraq were a “moral failure” because there had been no conclusive proof of weapons of mass destruction.
“Why did the president, the vice-president and the secretary of defense say there was an immediate danger to the peace of American society by the proximate use of weapons that would come from Iraq, either directly or through al Qaeda?” he said.
“Why did they say that when they didn’t have direct evidence?” Stafford said.
Stafford, who is close to Pope John Paul, said he feared the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the U.S. military would have long-term consequences on relations with Arabs and Muslims.
“Muslims are outraged and truly deceived because we are imposing the same type of life upon Iraqi society that we said we were going to rescue them from. It’s the very opposite of what we said we were going to do,” he said.
“Not only have we humiliated the Iraqi people, but we’ve deceived them. We’ve deceived the Arab peoples,” he said.
“Is this what American democracy is producing? Men and women who, just below the surface, are barbarians … Is that what we’re producing?” he said.
The pope strongly opposed the war and dispatched envoys to both President Bush and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to try to avert the conflict.