November 28th, 2007 05:06 EST
Archbishop of Canterbury's Harsh Attack on U.S. Foreign Policy
The Anglican Communion's "first among equals," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, declared in an interview with Emel, a British Muslim magazine, that the United States "has lost the moral high ground" (the interviewer's words) in the War on Terror. The archbishop accused the United States of wanting to conduct a short war in Iraq and leave to other countries the work of restoring the war-ravaged country.
Williams charged that the United States and Britain had "turn[ed] to violence" as "a quick discharge of frustration." He also characterized America as a "global hegemonic power ... [that] is trying to accumulate influence and control." The archbishop judged U.S. policy to be "the worst of all worlds"-- worse, he thought, than 19th century British imperialism.
IRD Director of Anglican Action Ralph Webb commented:
"Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has made a harsh, sweeping attack on American foreign policy. The problem is not the concern that he expresses for war-ravaged countries, but the assumption of the worst possible motives on the part of the United States.
"Most offensive is the archbishop's charge that the United States intervened in Iraq 'on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put things back together.' It's one thing to hold, as many do, that the U.S. did not have an adequate plan for the post-war restoration of Iraq. But Williams goes beyond that by suggesting that the U.S. had little-to-no interest in rebuilding Iraq and, implicitly, little concern for the Iraqi people. That caricature ignores the nearly $29 billion in aid that the U.S. gave to Iraq from 2003 to 2006-a practice consistent with the U.S.' allocation of billions of dollars in aid to rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II.
"The archbishop assumes too much. The BBC reported that in a 2006 interview, Williams expressed 'no doubt the [British] government had acted in good faith' when it made its decision to join the U.S. in the effort to liberate Iraq. Can he not extend the same confidence to the U.S. by crediting it with good motives as well?"