To The Editor: It is time to seriously think about bringing our courageous military personnel home from Arab wars.
The financial cost is incredible — Reuters reports that the wars in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion.
The mental, emotional and physical cost to our families is impossible to put into words. It’s heartbreaking. And, in addition to all that, there is a little-known cost to the Christians of the Arab lands. The Russian Bishops’ Council has warned of “the vanishing of Christianity in the lands where it has existed for two millennia…”
According to the Archbishop of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion, “Ten years ago, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Now, there are only 150,000 left. So nine-tenths of the Christian population of Iraq [half the population of Chicago] was either exterminated or had to flee.”
He goes on to talk about the grave situations developing in Egypt, where thousands of Coptic Christians have had to leave the country because of the attacks on Christians by their fellow countrymen, the radical Muslims. This is also happening, on a much more disastrous level in Syria.
Under cover of a civil war, Christians are being especially targeted by radical Muslims who see their opportunity to carry on jihad.
The bottom line is, as the Archbishop says, “What we see now is that the inter-religious situation in the regions which are still controlled by the government is stable… In the places where rebels take power... we see that immediately the Iraqi scenario is being put in practice. We see that Christians are in grave danger. They have to flee; they have to leave their homes.” (And worse than that, they are slaughtered.)
In other words, where there are stable governments, even though they may be oppressive and dictatorial, there is more stability and more protection of religious minorities. Where rebels take power, we see a repeat of Iraq.
This concerns me very much. I realize that what has happened in Egypt and Syria was not caused by American intervention, but we may have made things worse by encouraging the rebels. And I don’t think that the Arab wars in which we have gotten involved have increased our security as much as we hoped, although I am no expert.
And I am sure that trying to bring democracy to Arab countries has been a failure. Therefore, I really believe that the incredible cost to us and to our Christians friends abroad should make us wonder about the wisdom of getting involved in Arab wars. Let’s bring our young people home.