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Pell comments on obligation to "build a decent Iraq"

Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has said he believes Australia has an obligation to try to build a decent society in postwar Iraq.

The Catholic Weekly reports comments he made during a visit to his hometown of Ballarat that while he didn't endorse the war, now that we are there "we should work, certainly for a significant amount of time, to try to hand over the country to a legitimate and lawful government".

The cardinal said that he had opposed the war from the outset and had written publicly about his position.

"I said at that stage the case [for war] was not established," he said. "They said they were going to Iraq basically on two grounds: that there were weapons of mass destruction there; and that Saddam was actively supporting Al Qaeda. Neither of those two grounds has been established.

"I am pleased that Saddam has gone - he was a terrible tyrant. However, the abuses [of Iraqi prisoners] are appalling," he said. "They badly damage the moral legitimacy of our case to be there and I unhesitatingly condemn them."

Obligation to build a decent Iraq: Cardinal (Catholic Weekly 30/5/04)

Vatican calls for 'collective effort' to help Iraq (AFP/Hindustan Times 27/5/04)
Catholic leaders find Bush's Iraq policy too U.S.-dominated (Catholic News Service 26/5/04)
Irresponsible to pull out of Iraq now, Vatican official warns (Catholic World News 27/5/04)

28 May 2004