LONDON, Sep 5, 02 ( - Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Catholic bishops of
England and Wales, expressed opposition to a war with Iraq
on Thursday, saying that it may produce greater evils than
it eliminates.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, writing in The Times newspaper,
said Catholic teaching requires that "the use of arms must
not produce evils and disorders greater than the evil to be
eliminated." He added, "At present there are genuine reasons
to doubt that military action against Iraq would pass that

As an example, he said that military action could be
detrimental to efforts to bring peace between Israel and
Palestinians in the Holy Land. "There is reason to be
concerned that military intervention would set the Arab
world against the West, and undermine efforts directed at
peace between Israel and the Palestinian people."

Some critics would say that much of the Arab world that
would be outraged at an attack on Iraq is already set
against the West. The archbishop also did not address the
evil that could result from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
using a weapon of mass destruction against Israel or the
US, if he were allowed to complete one before being removed
from power.

As an alternative to war, the cardinal suggests that aid to
the world's poorest people would do more to combat
terrorism. However, many Middle East and terrorism experts
note that most terrorists come from wealthy, educated,
middle- and upper-class families and are motivated by
ideology and fanatical religious fundamentalism that
demands forced conversion to Islam. They note that
increased aid would do little to change this motivation to