Declaring that the case for a preemptive attack on Iraq has not been made, the UCC's five-member Collegium of Officers issued a statement on Sept. 12 opposing a U.S. war with Iraq.
Conference Ministers from 24 of the UCC's 39 Conferences have signed on to the statement.
The statement points out that the cost of war with Iraq "would be enormous" to both countries, but particularly to Iraq's civilian population, already suffering because of "over a decade of containment and isolation, of crippling comprehensive sanctions, and of routine U.S. and British bombing." These civilians, the statement says, "innocent of the atrocities Saddam Hussein has committed, should not bear the burden of deprivation and death such a war would surely exact on them."
The statement condemns Saddam Hussein's repressive policies, but deplores "taking unilateral military action to remove him."
To do so, it says, "without any support from our Arab friends, without allied consensus, and without United Nations authorization, puts U.S. leadership and credibility under international law at stake. A preemptive war against Iraq also risks the solidarity and good will the global community has shown the United States this past year, already strained in recent months by our nation's sharpened turn toward unilateralism."
The statement points out that the UCC's General Synod has joined churches around the world in supporting the World Council of Churches' Decade to Overcome Violence.
"In that spirit," it says, "we call on our leaders to step back from the brink of war." It concludes by calling on President Bush and members of Congress "to seek truly global coalitions and solutions to the forces of division and violence in our midst."