Bishops on Iraq: Please Be Nice!

So the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a statement which takes a dim view of miilitary action against Iraq:
“With the Holy See and bishops from the Middle East and around the world, we fear that resort to war, under present circumstances and in light of current public information, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against the use of military force.”
Their statement invokes Just War theory, a philosophical framework which I do not claim to be expert in. I’ll confine myself to observing, therefore, that if Just War theory does indeed argue that liberating a people from what the Bishops themselves call Iraq’s “internal repression” is insufficient moral cause for war — well, then I simply don’t have much use for it.
But given the Bishops’ current position, is seems worthwhile to look back in time and examine what their past ideas on Iraq have been.
Here’s what they said in their November 1999 statement:
“It is time for a new approach to Iraq. We cannot turn a deaf ear to the suffering of the Iraqi people or a blind eye to the moral consequences of current U.S. policy. It is time to end comprehensive sanctions against Iraq, halt the ongoing air strikes, and find morally acceptable alternatives to contain the aggressive actions of the Iraqi government.”
One can safely assume that military action of any kind was not a valid option to the Bishops, so it’s not at all clear what “morally acceptable alternatives” they had in mind.
So, anyone care to take a guess where Saddam’s weapons program would be if sanctions had been lifted three years ago? Yeah, me neither.
My advice to the Bishop’s Council: Stick to tending thy own flock; you’ve got plenty of work to do there.