Church World Service Board of Directors on war in Iraq

News and Press Release
Originally published
In concert with ecumenical bodies across the U.S. and worldwide, Church World Service has opposed and continues to oppose this preemptive war against Iraq. As an ecumenical humanitarian organization that has been engaged in relief, development, refugee assistance, and advocacy for more than 50 years, Church World Service knows well the human cost of modern warfare, especially to the most vulnerable. From our faith in Christ and God's love for all people, we believe that this war is wrong and unjust.
We affirm the mandate of the United Nations. Our understanding of and respect for international law leads us to consider this action an illegitimate means of solving the current crisis and a serious violation of the United Nations Charter. This war will have horrendous humanitarian consequences in terms of death and human suffering, and could potentially destabilize the entire Middle East, as well as have profound repercussions throughout the world. We lament any misconception that this crisis reflects a conflict between Muslims and Christians.

Church World Service has for many years had an established ongoing partnership in providing humanitarian service to the people of Iraq, and is acutely aware of the tremendous deprivation and oppression that the Iraqi people have suffered over many years. We will continue our commitment and presence; therefore, our humanitarian services should not be seen as acquiescence to the war. We will respond on the basis of human need, working through our established partners in the region, including the Middle East Council of Churches.

We are profoundly saddened by the recourse to war. This is not a moment for triumphalism, but for humility and repentance. Our prayers are with the Iraqi people, members of the armed forces, the leaders of our own nation, and the international community. The people of Iraq must be given hope that there are alternatives to both dictatorship and war.