It will be a miserable Christmas for the overseas victims of US interventions this year. Though "regime change" proponents talk of bringing freedom and democracy to the countries they target, the end result is quite the opposite: the rise of extremism, famine, ethnic cleansing, and economic destruction are what the US government has left behind in places like Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.
The neoconservatives who pushed for war in Iraq are incapable of self-reflection, but the numbers do not lie. For the first time in more than 1,000 years, reports the Washington Post today, "the plains of Nineveh and its provincial capital of Mosul have been virtually emptied of Christians." Where there had been religious and cultural diversity for centuries, the destruction of Iraqi society brought about by US intervention has left only the most hardened of extremists to terrorize what is left of the population. Already six in ten Christians have fled Iraq, leaving churches empty and a way of life that dates to the time of Christ a distant memory.
Father Miyassir al-Mokhlasee of Baghdad's St. George’s Chaldean Catholic Church is struggling to keep his flock, as every Christian who is able is fleeing. “We believe that God wants us here for diversity in the region," Fr. Mokhlasee said. “We are becoming fewer in number... We ask God that we can keep our churches, keep our country," he added in an Advent sermon.
At least in the short term, however, his prayers may not be answered.
Many Americans, particularly those who rely on the mainstream media for information, will believe that the rise of Christian-killing ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq is the result of the US military's departure from Iraq rather than from the US invasion of Iraq. Simple logic argues the opposite: if even the Washington Post admits that Christians thrived in Iraq until the 2003 invasion, how can it be argued that the invasion was not responsible for the decimation of Christianity in Iraq?
Those on the receiving end of the US invasion have a much clearer view of cause and effect. As the Post article tells us:
One of Iraq’s most senior Christian religious figures, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako, has accused the United States of being 'indirectly responsible' for the exodus of one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities, pointing to the chaos caused by the 2003 invasion. Christmas will likewise be a somber celebration for the estimated 500,000 Ukrainians who were forced to flee their homes as the US-backed regime in Kiev destroyed much of eastern Ukraine. Again it is a question of cause and effect. The US mainstream media will blame the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine for the violence, but will ignore the precipitating factor: the US-backed coup in Kiev that ousted an elected government and put into power an unelected regime hostile to the eastern provinces of that country.
Even founder and CEO of Stratfor (the "Shadow CIA") George Friedman -- a man not given to flights of fancy -- described the events in Ukraine earlier this year as, "the most blatant coup in history.” According to Friedman, part of the reason for US backing of the Ukraine coup was as retaliation for Russian involvement in Syria. It was half a year prior to the outbreak of unrest in Ukraine that Russia had brokered a deal that saw Syrian President Assad give up his chemical weapons to avoid an American attack. Was the destabilization of Ukraine the neoconservative retaliation for Putin's thwarting their plans for a US invasion of Syria?
Many residents of eastern Ukraine will be spending Christmas (which falls on January 7 according to the Orthodox calendar) underground in Soviet-era bomb shelters. They will have neither running water, sanitary facilities, nor privacy. Their homes have been destroyed by the US-backed regime in Kiev.
The UK Telegraph describes what happened to some of the war's most recent victims, when an early "Christmas present" from Kiev destroyed their homes:
'It was just a massive boom, the windows cracked, and we threw ourselves on the floor. We know what to do,' the 53-year-old said, looking out over the stricken courtyard below the fourth-storey flat.
The December 8 attack ripped apart a neighbouring block of flats, killed six people, and knocked out the heating station that keeps the neighbourhood warm. In the grim context of the past few months in eastern Ukraine, it was a routine tragedy. In Syria, where the US has backed Islamist extremists in a three-year effort to overthrow the secular Assad regime, Christianity has also been nearly eliminated. In Aleppo, home to one of Syria's largest pre-war Christian populations, citizens are split between a government-controlled sector and a rebel-held sector in the east. A few Christians remain in the government-held areas where, according to AFP:
Families from government-controlled districts gather every Sunday evening in the church, which is brightly lit thanks to its generator, a major draw in a city where frequent power cuts plunge homes into darkness. The few Christians that remain in Syria are determined to maintain a culture that goes back to the time of Christ:
Father Imad Daher of the Latin church of Saint Francis said Christians are preparing to put up their Christmas trees.
'We will celebrate Christmas, even if our numbers have dwindled. We will celebrate with a mass for peace,' he said. These are only some of the victims of an interventionist US foreign policy. American Christians who prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ the King should pause and reflect on what is being done in their name overseas. If they believe they are promoting Christian values overseas with their support for US global interventionism, they might want to ask some of their co-religionists who are much closer to the falling bombs and whirling machetes of the head-choppers. Hopefully American Christians will demand an end to the tyranny of the neoconservatives and "humanitarian" interventionists who dominate US foreign policy. Theirs is the regime that truly needs to be changed.