On the opening day of their fall meeting, the US bishops considered, among other things, a statement on US policy in Iraq, specifically a call for withdrawal at the earliest opportunity.
“Our nation’s military forces should remain in Iraq only so long as their presence contributes to a responsible transition,” the statement reads. “Our nation should look for effective ways to end their deployment at the earliest opportunity consistent with this goal.”
Does this strike anyone else as particularly obtuse? Is there anyone in a public policy leadership position who wants our military to remain in Iraq beyond the point at which it contributes to a responsible transition? The whole point of them being there now is to aid in the transition.
I find it interesting that an early draft called for Congressional hearings on the conduct of the war, which is clearly straying into liberal Democrat policies in an area of prudential judgment. Could you imagine the gnashing of teeth among liberals and the media if the bishops had made a similar call for hearings investigating Bill Clinton’s perjury in the Paula Jones case?
Thankfully, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, auxiliary of Chicago, warned against including such a clearly partisan provision. Nevertheless, the statement adds almost nothing to the Iraq war debate. Of all the things that the bishops need to do, this particular statement seems like a waste of time designed to advance the notion that we’re the bad guys in Iraq.