Dear Iraq...

Iraqi flag

Dear Iraqis; those of you who are more or less secularists, Christians, Kurdish or even "moderate" Muslims,
I want to apologize. When America invaded Iraq in 2003 there were some Iraqis that actually saw this as a new dawn; as a time that would eventually allow Iraq to enter into the modern era. The non-war, military action called Operation Iraqi Freedom did free Iraqis from their despotic leader; Saddam Hussein. But Hussein was their leader. We can argue what constitutes a despotic leader; even in a place like the United States.

REVIEW

Just to review, the reason there is currently civil unrest in Iraq is because Islam has at least two major sects; Sunni and Shia. These groups fight over which group is following the true successors of Muhammad. The issue in Iraq is that Hussein was part of the Sunni minority yet he imposed his rule upon the majority Shia. When the U.S. helped set up the replacement government in Iraq, the elections allowed for the Shia majority to take control. Once the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011, the Sunni have sought to regain control of the government.

A group calling itself Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [Syria] (ISIS) which is mainly composed of Sunnis is leading the charge to displace Shia rule city by city. While this is going on, the Kurds; who are nominally Sunni are also moving into cities previously controlled by Shia.

Iran, which is mainly Shia, has offered and is helping the Iraqi government take back some areas from ISIS. This is an interesting turn, since historically Iran and Iraq have been enemies; mainly due to the Shia-Sunni difference in their governments. But now, with both Iran and Iraq having governments controlled by Shia, it is in Iran's interest to help the Shia of Iraq retain control.

REMORSE

The remorse I wanted to express to Iraqis is how America has abandoned them. But it wasn't in 2011; it started when we allowed Iraq to set up its Constitution in 2005. That Constitution insured that this factional fighting and eventual civil war would one day transpire. The first problem is we allowed the Iraqis to put in their Constitution that "Islam is the state religion" (Section 1, Article 2). In fact, point A. under that article literally reads: No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam (ref). How is this conducive to bringing Iraq out of its bondage. How can its citizens be free?

When the USA defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War 2, one of the first things we did was dismantled and expunged from the governments, any official state establishment of the philosophies that bred those hostile nations. Yet in Iraq, we just let them put Islam back into the state government. For this, I am sorry and we'll all be sorry.
Despite whether we think Islam is "good" or not, it should not be imposed upon a free people any more than any other religion. In this way, we DIDN'T bring freedom to Iraq.

Had we insisted on having no official religion, but only a personal religion, perhaps Iraqis could have moved closer to the understanding that ideas, philosophies, and religions are best left to compete in the open market and not to be imposed upon people by a government.

Now we have Shia and Sunni once again vying for dominance. Nothing changed in Iraq except the USA helped to remove one hostile sect and replaced it with another. Now, that situation is reverting and the only thing we have to show for it is lots of lost lives.

REALITY

The reality is, that if a people aren't willing to get along then no one can force them to get along. The Shia and Sunni fundamentally don't want to get along. When we allowed the state to impose a religion upon the very fabric of government and life in Iraq, we doomed Iraq to this sectarian battle over whether it is a Shia Islam or a Sunni Islam that is imposed.

Now what about all the lives lost. All the Iraqis and all of the U.S. military men and women? Was it all for nothing? We allowed "diplomats" to insert Islam back into the blood stream of Iraq.
Iraq will not be "free" until people are free to accept or reject whatever religion they would like without worry about a government imposing a religion into every element of life. It won't matter if Iraq is ruled by Shiites or Sunnis -- the result is the same. Bondage.

What Iraqis think...http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/what-iraqis-think-of-the-ameri...

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