Saying that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq in it’s efforts to establish a caliphate, a group of religious leaders has signed a petition calling on the United States to destroy the terrorist group.
ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons.
It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities. This goal cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable ISIS/ISIL forces.
Signatories of the petition include Robert P. George, professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ben Carson, author and retired neurosurgeon, author and speaker Eric Metaxas, and Edward Whelan, head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
The group approved of President Obama’s use of airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL in key cities and the humanitarian aid the U.S. has provided but said much more needs to be done and, “There is no time to waste.”
Saying they always favor non-military means of resolving disputes and protecting human rights, unfortunately, they believe the evidence is overwhelming that such means will not be able to halt the genocide unfolding in Iraq.
Therefore we call upon the United States and the international community to do everything necessary to empower local forces fighting ISIS/ISIL in Iraq to protect their people. No options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table. We further believe that the United States’ goal must be more comprehensive than simply clamping a short-term lid on the boiling violence that is threatening so many innocents in ISIS/ISIL’s path. Nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.
They called upon President Obama and Congress to expand airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL and to provide full air support for Kurdish and others opposing ISIS/ISIL. They also said the United States should provide arms, ammunition, equipment, and intelligence to Kurdish forces, Sunni tribesmen, and others fighting ISIS/ISIL.
In addition to military aid, the signatories said the humanitarian crisis is urgent. “Local churches and aid agencies are overwhelmed, and we have grave concerns about how these victims of violent religious persecution will be cared for this winter. The U.S. can and should take the lead in providing food, water, medicine, and other essential supplies.”
The group said it was important to note that the U.S. “is not without responsibility for the plight of victims of ISIS/ISIL genocide.” They said the crisis in Iraq would not be happening “but for errors and failures of our nation’s own in Iraq.” Though they were not all in agreement on precisely what the errors and failures were and who was to blame for the problems, they did agree that, “The point is not to point fingers or apportion blame, but to recognize that justice as well as compassion demands that we take the steps necessary to end the ISIL/ISIS campaign of genocide and protect those who are its victims.”