“Just like the Nazis marked the property of Jews,” Lara Logan told viewers of 60 Minutes last night, “Christian homes in Mosul have been marked with this red symbol.” And the marauding terrorist army of ISIS does it for the same purpose — genocide. The genocide has targeted Christians, but also more broadly the Assyrian people, including Muslims who do not share the extremist viewpoint of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In the process, they have crushed a civilization that goes back thousands of years, priceless historical artifacts, and religious texts that date from the first century of the faith. Logan tells the story of genocide in a deeply personal way, though — through the eyes of its victims/survivors:
Archbishop Bashar Warda told Logan that the Christians were better protected under Saddam Hussein, but that the US invasion could have produced a much better outcome — had we stuck around. Instead, we left even though we knew that the Iraqi government wasn’t capable of standing up on its own, and in the process threw away what so many Americans had fought and died to do in Iraq:
Archbishop Warda said Christians in Iraq ironically felt safer under Saddam Hussein. Democracy brought a new wave of persecution and prompted a mass exodus of Christians. When the U.S. withdrew completely in 2011, Archbishop Warda says the situation became even worse because Iraq’s new leaders were incapable of governing without help.
Archbishop Bashar Warda: I think American support was needed, needed forcefully. You cannot leave the country like this and tell them, “Well, we’ve liberated you. We cannot do the job for you and we are walking away. This is your country, rule it.”
Lara Logan: So, in your view walking away in 2011 was just as damaging to Iraq as 2003 when the U.S. invaded?
Archbishop Bashar Warda: Yes. It’s not blaming, but that’s the reality. This is not what you came for in 2003. The 4,000 sacrifices of the American soldiers was not meant to come to this day.
We left, and genocide followed in the wake of our retreat. The US had remained quiet about the genocide until American journalists got beheaded by ISIS psychopaths. Even with the recognition of genocide, though, the Obama administration has done little to alleviate it, and Warda wants to see a lot more effort on the ground:
Most everyone we met welcomed U.S.-led airstrikes here, but they also said it is not nearly enough. Taking back Mosul – a city of about 1.5 million people — is widely understood to be a difficult prospect. Archbishop Warda believes the Iraqi army can’t do it alone and as long as the city remains in the hands of ISIS – who he refers to as Da’esh, its Arabic name — no Christians will be going home.
Archbishop Bashar Warda: For me, Da’esh is a cancer. It’s a disease. So sometimes you take some hard measures, unfortunate measures to deal and to treat this cancer.
Lara Logan: So you want to see a major military offensive to retake Mosul?
Archbishop Bashar Warda: Yea, to get Iraq to its normal situation.
Lara Logan: And by getting Iraq to its normal situation, you mean restoring the border between Iraq and Syria?
Archbishop Bashar Warda: Yes.
Lara Logan: Getting rid of Da’esh, the Islamic State?
Archbishop Bashar Warda: Exactly.
Lara Logan: Defeating them militarily?
Archbishop Bashar Warda: Please God.
Is anyone listening?