Weapons find crucial - Bishop Richard

WAR in Iraq will have been a "mistake" unless coalition forces find evidence of weapons of mass destruction, a Suffolk bishop has said in his Easter message.

WAR in Iraq will have been a "mistake" unless coalition forces find evidence of weapons of mass destruction, a Suffolk bishop has said in his Easter message.

The Rt Revd Richard Lewis, bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, calls for world leaders to learn from the conflict.

And he stressed that, while the search for weapons is only just underway, allied troops must find some evidence for the war to have been justified.

"The only possible justification for the conflict in Iraq was the threat to world peace posed by weapons of mass destruction," he said.


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"If there is no evidence that Iraq posed this threat then the fact has to be faced that there was no basis for this conflict and I would have to say that a mistake has been made.

"That has got huge consequences for the way countries behave in the future. Unless world leaders learn from this, all the suffering of the Iraqi people may have been in vain."

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But, despite questioning the reasons behind the war, Bishop Lewis spoke of his unwavering support for the armed forces in and around Iraq.

He said: "Our thoughts and prayers have always been with the service personnel in the Gulf. In any reflection in the aftermath of the hostilities it is important that their courage and skill is recognised.

"It is also essential to remember what family and friends have been through and what they will continue to face.

"War always leaves its scars on the mind as well as the body and those scars can last for many months and years."

Bishop Lewis also talked about his hopes for a post-Saddam world, and the need to support leaders who use their position for good.

He added: "How people use power is the central issue. Power is there for good or ill.

"Saddam Hussein abused his authority. Thankfully, there are many leaders who have exercised power with remarkable vision – Nelson Mandela is a shining example.

"It is vital to support the people who use power creatively – that is a vision and a sign of real hope."

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