Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sunni Insurgents Targeting Iraq Christians

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read a depressing account of how Iraqi Sunni insurgents are cleaning out Christians from a Baghdad neighbor. How? By telling them they either convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. They are moving out, leaving their houses behind, which are then taken over by Sunni Muslims.

It is pretty apparent that there is no government in Iraq and no security for anyone not connected to a militia. The United States went in, destroyed the existing government, didn't replace it, and now it is stuck in a vicious civil war. Well, here's our question: why is this our problem? Why, if Iraqis are intent on killing each other, do we have troops in Iraq who are caught in the middle?

The presence of Americans in Iraq doesn't necessarily lead to ethnic and sectarian cleansing of Baghdad neighbors. It happens because a substantial number of Iraqis are willing to kill other Iraqis over religion. Now, this is not something unique to Iraqis.

Think about the conflicts between the Protestants and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. There you had a minority of the total population of the island that is Ireland, the Protestants, who had political and eocnomic power over Roman Catholic Irish who were a minority in Northen Ireland. This imbalance of power produced a lot of conflict over several generations. The efforts of the British to contain it were somewhat successful, but it didn't end until the people of Northern Ireland made it clear to their leaders they wanted a resolution of the conflict.

You have a very similar situation in Iraq. A minority who controlled the country both economically and politically lost power when we overthrew Hussein. Now, this minority and majority are settling their differences by violence. It may end soon, it may continue for generations, but until the Iraqis themselves want it to end, it won't end, no matter what we do or don't do.

In this horrible mess we can only control what we do, not what others do. Our government's first obligation is to protect our security, and not waste our military forces by being bogged down in Iraq. It is not our government's obligation to bring democracy to Iraq, or bring peace to its inhabitants, no matter how worthy those goals. It is also not our government's obligation to make sure that American oil companies have access to Iraq's natural resources. And it is definitely not our government's obligation to make sure that the Saudi royal family is happy with us. It is long past time for this government and this President to put Americans first.

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