Almost two years ago, I reported that there are no more churches in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. Now, Andrew Doran at AmCon Mag tells the story of how the Iraq War became a war on Christians. Hopefully, the U.S. will not repeat the mistake for a third time in Syria.
Did you know that prior to the invasion of Iraq, Pope John Paul II sent Cardinal Pio Laghi, who was also a Vatican diplomat, to see President George W. Bush in order to convince him not to attack? The Vatican had the wisdom to see what many in the world could not: that an invasion would result in a protracted war with tens of thousands of deaths and an increased hostility to Christians in the region.
Obviously, Bush and Co. didn’t listen.
Amid the chaos and sectarian violence that followed, Iraq’s Christians suffered severe persecution. Neither the military nor the State Department took action to protect them. In October 2003, human rights expert Nina Shea noted that religious freedom and a pluralistic Iraq were not high priorities for the administration, concluding that its “diffidence on religious freedom suggests Washington’s relative indifference to this basic human right.” Shea added, “Washington’s refusal to insist on guarantees of religious freedom threatens to undermine its already difficult task of securing a fully democratic government in Iraq”—more prescience that would be likewise disregarded.
If it is true that President Bush felt that this was “a war of good against evil” and that his work was “providential” – as he himself has said – then perhaps he ought to re-evaluate his relationship with God.
My own understanding of the Iraq War shifted over time. Believe me, I did not always understand either the implications of the Gospel or the lessons of libertarianism with respect to war. I watched “Shock and Awe” with the rest of them in, well, shock and awe. I would like to think, though, that if I had understood more quickly how devastating war was to my brothers and sisters in Christ in Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps I would have abandoned the lie sooner.
So let this be a lesson to us Christian libertarians now: when the next war is on the horizon, remind your fellow Christians who do not understand that the lives of their extended family in Christ hang in the balance. Maybe then, they will listen more closely.
Make sure to read the rest of Doran’s article here, and don’t forget the lesson.