Preventive strike on Iran is seen as lowering the bar on waging war
Published: April 12, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- While Iran's secret nuclear program has raised serious questions about that country's intentions, a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would not be justified under Catholic teaching in the eyes of the U.S. bishops and other Catholic leaders. Further, any attack on Iran by Israel or the U.S. would greatly destabilize an already volatile Middle East, setting the stage for retaliatory military strikes that would place innocent civilians at risk and serve little more than to lead to an expanded arms race in the region, several Catholic observers told Catholic News Service. The concern lies in what is seen as a preventive attack meant to stop Iran from furthering its nuclear program, which Iranian officials claim is for peaceful purposes. Such a preventive attack -- as opposed to a pre-emptive strike meant to head off an imminent attack under just-war principles -- also poses moral questions because Iran's research is legal under international agreements and to date falls within the limits set by the Non-Proliferation Treaty regarding the development of nuclear weapons, the Catholic observers said. "The problem with preventive war is that it lowers the barrier to war too low," explained Stephen Colecchi, director of the bishops' Office of International Justice and Peace. "Using military action for a vague and gathering threat is very different than using military force in the face of an immediate threat," he said.
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