Tone Down War Talk

In a letter dated March 2 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said there has been “an alarming escalation in rhetoric and tensions” regarding Iran’s nuclear capacities. He expressed particular concern about talk of a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities. “Discussing or promoting military options at this time is unwise and may be counterproductive,” he said. “Actual or threatened military strikes are likely to strengthen the regime in power in Iran and would further marginalize those in Iran who want to abide by international norms.” Before military options are considered, Bishop Pates said, “all alternatives, including effective and targeted sanctions and incentives for Iran to engage in diplomacy and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, need to be exhausted.”

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