14 June 2014

The never-ending war

The terrible news from the Levant and from Iraq keeps compounding. The people of Iraq, and particularly the Christians, are still under attack. The threat still comes from the west - but in this case, it is the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who have routed the Iraqi defence forces and are now in control of Mosul, a city which has been Christian since the first century and which has long been considered the last refuge for Christians fleeing persecution elsewhere in Iraq. Now, it seems, this community of Christians is at risk of being eliminated entirely as residents consider fleeing to the US and Sweden for religious asylum.

We must not fail to bear in mind where the responsibility lies. Eleven years ago, this very country was invaded on a fabricated pretext of weapons of mass destruction, pushed by the American government and its British sycophants. The Bush and Blair governments had no contingency plans for the invasion, no timetable for withdrawal and no goals for the invasion other than some airy-faerie notion of imposing liberal democracy on the country. They did not stop to consider that the country was deeply divided along sectarian and ethnic lines, and failed to consider that the Iraqi Army and the Republican Guard were the only competent forces reliably committed to maintaining national integrity when, indeed, they were disbanded by Paul Bremer. In addition to setting off the slow-motion destruction of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the war managed to create an unprecedented opportunity for al-Qaeda to worm its way into the heart of the country, removed one of the only checks at hand on Iran’s regional ambitions, and destabilised Syria, directly paving the way for the rise of ISIS and this new wave of organised violence they’ve now unleashed against the Iraqi people. And all this was achieved at the cost of 57,000 American casualties, upwards of 500,000 Iraqi civilian deaths and practically the full balance of the moral credit of the American nation.

And now the same groups of people, sporting the same ideology which was responsible for this entire mess in the first place are already offering, without the slightest sense of irony or shame or fear of God, their usual remedy. Please pray for Iraq and raise your voices about this, and may the Lord have mercy on us, sinners all.

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