Does the situation in Iraq call for US military intervention? August 12, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, horror, paganism, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the enemy.
CatholicVote sent out an e-mail this morning that seems to argue for US military intervention in Iraq. I assume they mean over and above the rather piddling response made thus far in the form of a few very limited airstrikes.
I’ve sort of brought up the subject before on my blog, but I thought I would address the topic directly – is this ongoing genocide in Iraq, largely the result of previous, disastrous US policy decisions, rise to the level of demanding some significant response from the United States and other Western nations? That the ongoing crisis is a direct result of US actions is, I think, unarguable. From the initial and badly mistaken decision to invade in 2003, to the public revocation of support for most of the ante bellum political leadership of the Mideast giving rise to the “Arab Spring,” (which spring has in reality been a cold winter of islamic hate and radicalism from Tunisia to Iran), to this administration siding with the rebels in Syria and even arming them, no matter how radical they were, and then the precipitous and completely self-serving decision by Obama to pull all troops out of Iraq, which left that false, cobbled together “nation” tottering on the brink of calamity…..the stage was set pretty well by the US, Britain, and the West generally for this unspeakable agony.
Pope Francis has now weighed in more forcefully (if belatedly) against this genocide, and key figures in the Curia seem to be saying that this genocide is a situation that calls for military intervention:
Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, who serves as the Pope Francis’ ambassador to Baghdad, told Vatican radio that American strikes are “something that had to be done, otherwise [ISIS] could not be stopped.”
Additionally, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that “military action in this moment is probably necessary.”
so over 100,000 Christians have fled their homeland “horrified and panicked” with “nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Patriarch Sako appealed to Western nations to intervene:
“To summarize the situation of the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region: the churches are deserted and desecrated; five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind, the families have fled with their children abandoning everything else! The level of disaster is extreme.
“The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing. The talks about dividing Iraq are threatening. The Americans are not up to a rapid solution to give hope specifically as they are not going to attack the ISIS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain.”
Having said that, a gravely imprudent decision to go to war – a war Pope Saint John Paul II and his successor both decried repeatedly as unnecessary and unjust – set this tragedy in motion. The pre-war population of 2,000,000 Chaldean Catholics in Iraq has already been cut in more than half through death and flight, and the 800,000 or so who remain are suffering mightily. Even if military intervention is justified (as it certainly seems to be), and prudent and necessary, I’m not certain I see a way to get out. Where will it end? There seems to be an endless stream of young muslims ready to take up the black flag of jihad and spread murder and mayhem everywhere they can.
And, as a commenter already noted in another post, this nation really cannot afford another military adventure, no matter how well justified. I hate to weigh human lives against dollars, but the fact remains this nation has been living beyond its means for decades, and every additional $100 billion (or whatever) seems to doom it even further.
So I’m really torn. While I can see that a vigorous military response could likely gravely wound ISIS and drive them away from Christian areas, easing the pressure on not just Catholics but everyone who is not a crazed jihadist, I fear that this will only perpetuate the seemingly endless cycle of violence in the area. I don’t see any clear way to extricate military force once involved. Airstrikes are not terribly costly and may help reduce the greatest pressure, but it won’t win back any of the Christian cities in the Nineveh plain lost to ISIS. Air power will at best be only a slight remedy. Maybe there is merit in distributing a whole bunch of arms to the area and training locals to use them- not just Kurds, but Christians, as well. Apparently Qaraqosh was successfully defended several times by Peshmerga and Catholics when ISIS attacked with small arms, but when they brought in heavy artillery (taken from the cowardly Iraqi Army), there was no defense, so they had to flee.
I have spoken at times of the idea of opening up refugee status to allow these persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria, and other locales to enter the US. That argument has mostly been made as a riposte to US bishops who seem only concerned about continuing to flood the US with Hispanic Catholics, and to point out the hypocrisy of their stance. But I don’t want to see the Mideast de-populated of Christians. That’s our home! Christians were there long before Mohammad was born, and I pray there will be tens of millions in the Mideast long after islam is just a global bad memory. So I don’t see a mass flight as a really good response, either, even if I think we Catholics should be pretty open to the idea in individual cases.
I guess what I’m struggling with is that this seems about as good a case for military intervention as one is likely to get, and yet I’m still pretty divided. For me, I don’t think the cost factor even enters in. These are dying people, and not just people but our brothers in the Faith, in our ancestral home, if you will……they deserve our support. Where I get hung up is, ok, once we help them out, then what?
At this point I’m really just down to prayer as the only universally effective tool we have to deal with this crisis. The US bishops have asked all Catholics to make this Sunday, August 17 a day of prayer for the persecuted Christians in the Mideast, and I think that’s a good idea, at least for a start. I pray Our merciful God, the God of armies, will stop this nightmare in its tracks and perform some glorious miracle such as occurred when Saint James, Matamoros, took the field at the Battle of Clavijo in 844. Ultimately, if the muslims insist on endless war, the Christians of the area are either going to have to find some way to stop the invading hordes, or give the area up, which I would truly hate to see. I pray God may protect them and have mercy on them, and work a miracle of conversion on their tormentors.
I’m open to hear your impressions. It is quite a change for me to be a quasi-peacenik, I was a full bore interventionist back 11 years ago. I could get somewhat behind military intervention, but I am not terribly hopeful it will really result in long-term peace for the afflicted.
I do know one thing, this debacle is an object lesson in hubris, and not listening to the Vicar of Christ. Perhaps something to ponder there for all of us.