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Archbishop hits out at 'tainted' war on terrorism.

Byline: Gareth Hughes

THE Archbishop of Wales has delivered a stinging attack on the war against Afghanistan.

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, one of the leading contenders to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury, described the West's response to the September 11 events as "an embarrassment".

In a book to be published this week, Dr Williams denounces the military action as "morally tainted".

Though other clerics have expressed concern about the way the war against terrorism is being conducted, in his book, Writing In The Dust, Dr Williams takes a much stronger line than anyone else to date. Although he condemns the terrorist atrocities of September 11, which happened as he was in New York, and the attitudes of Muslim extremists, he says Western leaders have failed to define when the conflict would be over or its exact cause.

He writes: "The abolition of terrorism? No doubt, but what possible guarantee could there be that this had been achieved?

"It is just possible to deplore civilian casualties and retain moral credibility when an action is clearly focused and its goals are on the way to evident achievement. It is not possible when the strategy appears confused and political leaders talk about a war that may last years.

"There is a fine line between the crippling of military and aircraft installations and the devastating of an infrastructure with a halfformed aim of destroying morale.

He adds: "Combine that with the use of anti-personnel weapons such as clusterbombs and the whole enterprise is tainted." The criticism comes at a particularly sensitive time as Prime Minister Tony Blair has a key role in appointing the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

With the Queen's approval, he will choose one of two names passed to him by the Crown Appointments Commission.

Last week Dr Williams emerged as first choice of the Church's ruling General Synod. In a survey in a national newspaper, 28pc of clergy and lay members supported his application.

Last month, Dr Williams told the Daily Post he believed he could be ruled out of the list of possible successors to Dr George Carey because of the need for the Archbishop of Canterbury to be completely familiar with the workings of the Church of England and the House of Lords.


WAR OF WORDS: Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2002
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