Pope Francis said, “War is madness.” Pope John Paul II said it “is always a defeat for humanity.” They were right.
I visited Iraq with a peace delegation just prior to the U.S. invasion. Since then I have wept, like the rest of our nation, for the grievously wounded military and civilians – and the many thousands of men, women and children who have died. All because of a war based on the false allegation of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
In 2008, I traveled as part of a delegation sponsored by Catholic Relief Services to Lebanon and Syria. We went there to see the plight of Iraqi refugees and others. What we learned was heartbreaking beyond belief. So many people displaced and suffering – all, again, as a result of war.
Since 2003, our nation has expended billions of dollars for bombs and other tools of destruction – dollars that could have helped educate children, care for families in need, repair our decaying infrastructure, and so much more.
Most people in our nation are thoroughly sick of war, and for sound reason.
When President Obama announced on July 14 that negotiators had finalized a nuclear agreement with Iran, large numbers of us breathed a small sigh of relief. For the first time in years, diplomacy had triumphed over military options. Finally.
It is incomprehensible that any reasonably thoughtful person could oppose this historic step toward peace. And yet, even before the agreement was announced, we heard opposition in some predictable corners.
After years of bloodshed and suffering, it is time we realize that diplomacy, combined with humanitarian efforts and economic development, are the real path to peace and stability. I agree with the president that it would be “irresponsible” to walk away from the Iran agreement. It would also be immoral.
My message to Congress is this: Vote for this agreement so that people triumph over terror. Vote for this agreement so that peace triumphs over destruction. Vote for this agreement so that, at least in part, the community of nations is made more whole.
Campbell (@sr_simone) is executive director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community.