Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Christians in Iraq

A solid (but depressing) article by Doug Bandow in The American Conservative on the deteriorating religious freedom of Christians in Iraq. To sum up: we invaded Iraq to find WMD that weren't there and create a democracy that can't be sustained, while at the same time freeing up Muslims to target Iraqi Christians for kidnapping, extortion, and murder.

All granted. And yet:

1. The article leads off with the proposition that American evangelicals ignored their duty to Iraqi Christians in their (in general) support for the Iraqi invasion. But isn't The American Conservative the magazine that complains about how American Jews supposedly put the interests of their co-religionists (or co-ethnics) in Israel above the interests of the nation in which they actually hold citizenship? So isn't it a trifle hypocritical for it to object when American Christians don't let similiar considerations distort their calculation of American interests? And the primary American interest was that Saddam had WMD! Why, exactly, should any American let his solicitude for Iraqi Christians (alas, not exactly conspicuous in opposition to Baathist butchery) paralyze his resolve?

2. While the quotes of various evangelical leaders provided by Mr. Bandow are no doubt accurate, they are a trifle out of context. Falwell, Dobson, et. al. were not debating TAC when they spoke these words. Indeed, TAC, VDare.com, Steve Sailer, and other conservative voices of caution were barely visible in the national discussion. Who was visible? Michael freakin' Moore! Plus various left-wing organizations transparently motivated by hatred of America. Plus various Democrat politicians engaging in naked political calculations. Let's be honest: opposition like this made supporting Bush abudantly easy. This is the context.

3. Please keep in mind that war supporters fully expected that life in a post-Saddam Iraq whouldbe characterized by democracy, tolerance, and all things good. Granted, this expectation looks daft in hindsight, and overly optimistic in foresight given what we knew about Islam. But Liberal Universalism is a daftness shared by All Right-Thinking People, including especially American evangelicals. And if anyone had asked them about Iraqi Christians, evangelicals no doubt would have replied that they would also be better off.

Bandow's characterization of Kurdistan surprised me. People who have visited Kurdistan, to whom I have spoken, have reported that both Assyrian Christians and foreign missionaries operate with a high degree of freedom and security, largely a function of the Kurds own national identity, which generally is a-religious. "Ask a Kurd if he is Shia or Sunni, and he will reply, 'Neither; I'm Kurdish.'" If this is true, the best hope for Christian religious freedom in Iraq lies in an autonomous Kurdistan region. Which seems (as of this writing) to be the direction we are going.

Better yet, how about a "prisoner exchange": let's trade every Muslim in America for all the Christians in Iraq. What? No one wants to go live in Iraq? Then let's hold the lives of American Muslims hostage to the lives of Iraqi Christians. We can trade them off, one at a time. An eye for an eye. Until both of us run out.

No comments: