Coalition of Willing shown to be wrong over Iraq

Bob Burnett|
Sunshine Coast Daily columnist Bob Burnett is a long-time local from a pioneering Buderim family. Kristy Muir
HAVING just passed the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition of The Willing, western leaders, including former Australian prime minister John Howard, have been trumpeting tired old arguments to justify the war that followed and continues today.

Yet, to all but the ideologically blind, the war was unjustifiable (no solid evidence of weapons of mass destruction), poorly thought through and a betrayal of significant minorities in Iraq, especially the Christian church.

As super-powers go, the US is relatively benign, unlike earlier world powers such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Brits, Spanish and French who wanted to conquer and occupy the world.

But after the terrible 9/11 attacks bloodied its nose and wounded national pride, the US was looking for someone to beat up. Like the employee who’s bullied at work and comes home and kicks the cat, the US turned on Iraq.

The war was one-sided and unjustified. Iraq had few friends, a president who was prone to bluster, had earlier been beaten by a similar western coalition and looked like easy-beats.

There was no proven link between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, almost everyone in the street knew the country had no weapons of mass destruction (and if they did, who’s to say they couldn’t have them, when most other countries were stockpiling WMDs?) and almost everyone was dubious about the “dodgy” intelligence reports that were being assembled to justify invasion and war.

Iraqi president Saddam Hussein could be a ruthless ruler, but at least he kept a lid on the racial and religious tensions in his country.

Seriously, can we say Iraq is better off now than it was under Saddam?

All that has been achieved is that we’ve exchanged a radical Sunni regime for a more radical Shiite regime.

To arrive at this wonderful outcome, more than 100,000 Iraqis and several thousand western troops have had to die.

The streets and suburbs of Iraq’s cities still are dangerous places, with regular bombings and shootings.

Before the invasion, it was obvious Saddam would be defeated, but did anyone ask “what next?”

The invasion was followed by a vicious internal conflict, with Sunni vs Shiite, and with both sides attacking the Christian Church, who became the easy-beats.

Churches and Christian neighbourhoods have been targeted by bomb attacks, and Christians slaughtered.

Similar “religious cleansing” is occurring all over the Middle East under cover of the western-supported “Arab Spring’ uprisings.

Under Saddam, who provided a degree of protection for the Iraqi church, Christians numbered 1.4 million (five per cent of the population).

Since the invasion, two-thirds have fled or been killed as the country becomes overwhelmed by Islamisation.

Did the countries of the C.O.W., most of which owe a debt of gratitude to their Christian history, consider what a war in Iraq would mean to the Chaldean Catholics, Syriacs, Armenian Orthodox, Anglicans, evangelicals and others?
ing” is occurring all over the Middle East under cover of the western-supported “Arab Spring’ uprisings.

We must grieve the ongoing loss of life in that tortured land. Iraq’s churches reported a relatively peaceful Easter, due to heavy security at churches and in Christian neighbourhoods.

But shouldn’t law-abiding people of whatever religion always be afforded peace and freedom to worship?

Ten years on and we have nothing to celebrate, but a great deal to mourn.

Bob Burnett is a pastor and former Daily journalist