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Archbishop of Wales says no moral case to bomb Syria

by Hannah Tooley

Dr Barry Morgan was speaking as David Cameron urges MPs from all parties to back his call for military action against Islamic State in the country.

The prime minister says a motion which will be voted on on Wednesday is part of a "broader strategy" for the country.

However, the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, argues there is no moral case for bombing Syria and warns such action would put civilians at considerable risk and drive more recruits to IS. He fears our involvement in Syria will make matters worse, as it did in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya: "It is obvious therefore that even on a just war argument, a clear moral case for bombing Syria cannot be advanced."

He wrote that: Over recent days and weeks, the question of whether the UK should bomb Syria has been widely debated.

"It is not just a matter for politicians because over the centuries, Christians and theologians have discussed the theory of the just war.

"One thing is certain - it can never be argued, from a Christian viewpoint that going to war can ever be a good act, since of necessity it involves one in evil. It may however sometimes be the right and necessary thing to do which is why the just war theory has been formulated.

"Applied to Syria, as to any war, there are a number of criteria to be considered:

1. Is the cause just?
2. Is it being undertaken as a last resort when all other methods have failed?
3. Are the means employed just?
4. Is there a reasonable chance of success?
5. Are the results likely to be better than if the war had not been fought?

"There is no doubt that the supporters of the so called Islamic State pose a grave threat and it can be argued that since there is United Nations support, the cause is just.

"Its aims are to secure international peace, security and freedom.

"It is not at all certain however that bombing Syria will succeed in stopping the terror being perpetrated. Indeed it might incite IS to more violence and at the same time win more recruits to its ranks against the West.

"In Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, our involvement in war has made matters worse. The same could be true of Syria and there is no guarantee of rooting out IS.

"The risk to innocent civilians is also considerable since the combatants have by now merged into large centres of population.

"It is obvious therefore that even on a just war argument, a clear moral case for bombing Syria cannot be advanced."

Commons Leader Chris Grayling has outlined the Government's plans for the crucial vote but faced fierce criticism over the amount of time being allocated for MPs to have their say.

All of tomorrow's planned business, including Prime Minister's Questions, is due to be scrapped to make way for a full day of debate.

But the Speaker said he would be willing to go even further.

Mr Bercow said: "There is no secret about the numbers of people putting in to speak and of course as colleagues will know, the Leader of the House and I speak regularly, and the Government Chief Whip and I speak regularly, as is true of the shadow leader and the opposition chief whip.

"Of course I am happy to keep them informed and any member who asks me how many people have put in to speak.

"Needless to say, the shadow leader said that the Leader of the House was a servant of the House, I am a servant of the House.

"I intend to be in the chair tomorrow very fully to chair the debate.

"I would be happy, if the House willed it, to sit up all night in the chair to hear colleagues."

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