In The Murderers of Christianity, Pat Buchanan tells us who is really responsible for the November 1 massacre of Iraqi Christians. Following are excerpts:
It was the worst massacre of Christians yet. For Assyrian Catholics known as Chaldeans, whose ancestors were converted by St. Thomas the Apostle, the U.S. war of liberation has been seven years of hell. Estimates of the number of Christians in Iraq in 2003 vary from 800,000 to 1.5 million. But hundreds of thousands have fled since the invasion. Seven of the 14 churches in Baghdad have closed, and two-thirds of the city’s 500,000 Christians are gone.
While Saddam Hussein, a secularist, had protected religious minorities, Muslim vigilantes — Shia, Sunni and Kurd, as well as al-Qaida — have attacked the Christians who have endured kidnappings, pillage, rapes, beheadings and assassinations.
And what has happened to this Christian community, which had lived peacefully alongside Muslim neighbors for centuries, must be marked down as one of the predictable and predicted consequences of America’s war in Iraq. In editor Tom Fleming’s Chronicles, just days before President Bush ordered the invasion, columnist Wayne Allensworth warned pointedly:
“Iraqi Christians fear they will be the first victims of a war that might dismember their country, unleashing ethnic and religious conflicts that Baghdad had previously suppressed. ... The Shiite uprising in southern Iraq during the first Gulf War — encouraged and then abandoned by Washington — targeted Christians. Many Christians had supported Saddam’s regime, in spite of creeping Islamicization, as their best hope of survival in the Islamic Middle East.”
Why is Christianity being murdered in its cradle by Muslim fanatics?
Multiple reasons. A return of Islamic militancy. The rise of ethnic nationalism that conflates tribal and religious identity. Hatred of America for its domination of the region, for our war on terror that they see as a war on Islam and for our support of Israel in its suppression of the Palestinians.
Christians across the Middle East are now seen as both members of an alien religion and a fifth column of the Crusaders inside their camp. Paul Marshall of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom warns that we may be in another great wave of persecution, “as Christians flee the Palestinian areas, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt.” Christians are gone from Jerusalem, gone from Nazareth, gone from Bethlehem. From Egypt to Iran, the Vatican counts 17 million left. ...
America remains the most Christianized of the Western nations. Yet, the protests of the White House, State Department and major media over the eradication of Christianity in the Middle East is muted. ...
Of what worth these wars for democracy if we end up freeing fanatics to annihilate communities or expel populations of our own Christian brothers and sisters across the Middle East?
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