PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) – The only way left to avoid war in Iraq is for Pope John Paul to rush to Baghdad to be “the protector of humanity’s values,” a French parliamentary deputy said on Monday.
Didier Julia, a maverick conservative who has visited Iraq twice in the past six months, noted the pope would be a suitable “human shield” because he has spoken out forcefully against war.
“Right now, only one thing seems useful to me now, and that’s that the pope goes at the last minute to block aggression against Iraq,” he told France’s i-television.
“I would really like the pope to serve as the protector of humanity’s values,” he said.
The pope issued a passionate plea for peace on Sunday, saying he had lived through World War Two and felt obliged to tell the world: “Never again war.”
Julia, a member of the centre-right UMP party of France’s anti-war President Jacques Chirac, said he visited Iraq to try to help protect Iraq’s many archeological treasures, which he said could be looted during and after a war.
“There won’t be only a war against people, there will be the looting of the whole country,” he said. “Underground groups of looters are already getting ready.”