Fatal Mistakes

Last Monday, The Washington Post reported that in the past week alone, there were 1,300 civilian casualties in Iraq. According to Baghdad’s main morgue, this week has been “the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives.” However, for the most part, the deaths cannot be attributed to car bombs or mortar attacks. According to The Post, the hundreds of dead had been “shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads.” Witnesses claim that these people were taken from their homes in the night and killed execution style. This marks an unprecedented turn for the worse in Iraq. First of all, to truly appreciate how enormous 1,300 people is, allow me to point out that in the 9/11 attacks, the supposed reason for launching the Iraqi invasion, there where 2,819 deaths. However, the sheer magnitude of this atrocity is not what should concern us. We should be concerned with the fact that these people died in the name of religion. Last week, in Samara, the holy Shiite shrine known as the “Golden Mosque” was bombed by the insurgency. The Muslim world was shocked to see the crippling damage done to one of their premier holy sights. It seems that in an act of retribution, a large group of Shiite gunmen, whom many witnesses believed were members of the Mahdi Army, broke into the houses of hundreds of Sunnis and abducted those inside; their bodies to be found the next morning. In addition, Sunni leaders claim the more than 100 mosques have been “burned, fired upon or bombed.” We should have seen this coming. Saddam Hussein, although certainly a brutal dictator, did manage to hold a very volatile country together in relative peace. In a place like Iraq, where two religious sects have fought for power for millennia, any form of stability is a good form of stability. However, when we proudly marched into the country, we did not care to check the history books. As a result, Iraq is on the brink of a civil war. Our own mistakes have caused this awful mess in Iraq. We took their country by storm and tore down any sense of normalcy. However, we can no longer simply pin the blame on President Bush. Nay, this conflict has gotten too big for one man. When the President asked America for permission to go to war, we gave it to him. And for this, the Iraqis pay in blood. Ultimately we shall pay for our mistakes. Although there is still a great deal of hope for the future of Iraq, there has already been too much damage done. In the end, it is the hope of every American that Iraq will be better off because of our efforts. However, as every day goes by, our mistakes seem more and more apparent. Perhaps we Americans will learn our lesson. Perhaps we will never go proudly marching into a foreign country with the arrogance to think that we can “fix them.” Unfortunately, history tells us that man is fated to repeat his mistakes until he is no longer able to repeat them. Saddam may be hanged for the hundreds that he murdered. But we, with thousands of innocent deaths at our hands, shall have to wait for our punishment to come too.