Pope Backs Action in Iraq, Wants UN OK

Pontiff says Islamic State militants must be stopped
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2014 1:35 PM CDT
Pope Backs Action in Iraq, Wants UN OK
Pope Francis meets the media during an airborne press conference on his journey back to Rome from Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis, the guy probably least likely on the planet to come out in favor of military action, today did precisely that, telling reporters aboard his plane that he had no problem with the use of force to stop Islamic State militants in Iraq from slaughtering the Yazidi minority. "In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said, as per the AP. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' just 'stop.' And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated."

Where Francis seemed to draw the line was on the nature of that action, specifically unilateral American airstrikes. "One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor," he said. The UN is where "you must discuss 'Is there an unjust aggression? It seems so. How should we stop it?'" The pontiff indicated that he had contemplated a visit to northern Iraq to show solidarity with persecuted Christians, but had shelved that idea for the time being. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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