Monday, May 23, 2005

Israeli Safety, Christian Danger

As bad as the Iraq war is, more people certainly died during the ten years of sanctions before the war, than have died during the war itself. Can anyone forget Madeline Albright saying "it was worth it" when presented with the fact that 500,000 deaths resulted from US sanctions against Iraq. I can't.

(Of course, none of these deaths were American, which is an important consideration when making American policy.)

Beyond these deaths, however, it seems that the Christian minority in the Mideast take the brunt of the backlash for US actions. We all know that Iraqi Christians are being targeted by the insurgents because they are (wrongly) associated with the western forces. Many have fled to Syria.

Now the US is taking steps to make sure this safe haven is eliminated. In our effort for regime change in Syria, a country that poses absolutely zero threat to the US, the resulting unrest is sure to create instability that will adversely affect Syria's minority Christian population, including those that just fled from Iraq.

In a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum we hear this:

The audience member, who described herself as a Syrian lawyer, said Syria is a tolerant country with a large Christian population. The country has become a safe haven for Iraqi’s fleeing a grinding guerrilla war, especially Christians escaping anti-Christian violence that has wracked Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion.

The Syrian woman said the US sanctions were a rash escalation of a dispute that had not seen sufficient diplomacy. She said the Syrian people were suffering as a result. “In any policy there is carrot and stick,” the woman said. “But between the United States and Syria there is only the stick.”

I would go further as say the US must demonstrate a compelling need to impose sanctions, however, the point is still valid. Our actions continue to inflict substantial pain on the Christian community in the Middle East, and we don't hear enough about that.


UPDATE: The point of this post is not that Christians and Israelis should not get along. The point is that that the Israeli extremists don't take the cost(s) of their actions into account and that those costs are not only borne by Muslims, but also Christians.


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