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Did intervention in Iraq unjustly discriminate against the Christians there?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to columnist Rod Dreher with the American Conservative publication and Web site, America undermined the Christians in Iraq when it began its military campaign there. "Shortly after (Operation Iraqi Freedom) combat operations concluded on May 1, the real conflict began. 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," Dreher notes.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In October 2003, human rights expert Nina Shea noted that religious freedom and a pluralistic Iraq were not high priorities for the administration. "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," Shea noted at the time.

The U.S. military provided no protection to the already vulnerable Christian community. In some instances, the clergy went to local American military units to beg to for protection and none was given. Shea had noticed previously that the administration and the State Department still refused to "acknowledge that the Christians and other defenseless minorities are persecuted for reasons of religion."

Iraqi Christians who fled to America would fare little better in seeking asylum. Many Chaldeans and Assyrians were detained in what one attorney familiar with Chaldean-asylum cases describes as "prisons," adding that she "never worked on a case where a Chaldean was granted asylum, but I heard that it happened." Throughout these deportation proceedings, the administration and the State Department steadfastly refused to recognize the conditions "persecution." In consequence, most were deported.

Things haven't changed much under the Obama administration. The protection and perseverance of minority religious communities continues to be a low priority for the Obama administration and the State Department. 

The U.S. fails to recognize that the Islamist-Wahabbist commitment to eradicating Christian minorities today will result in the extinction of diverse modes of Islam tomorrow.

One thoroughly secular foreign correspondent notes that "A hundred years from now, I suspect the lasting historical legacy of the American interventions in the Middle East and of the fall of the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt will be the end of Christianity in the Middle East.

"Anyone wanting confirmation of Hegel's axiom that history is a slaughter bench need look no further than the fact that this process should have been hastened . by the decisions of American president whose Christian identity seems to have meant more to him than to any president since Jimmy Carter (not the ONLY parallel between them, by the way, though of course the suggestion would horrify both men). And why so many conservative Christians (not just neo-cons and liberal hawks) support doubling down on this mistake in Syria is a complete mystery to me."

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