Saturday, December 30, 2006

Persons Of The Year Are Victims Of The Iraq War

There is no getting away from the fact that this has been a grim year. And I think there's no way of ignoring the most striking victims of the year.

These, unquestionably in my view, are the victims of the sectarian violence in Iraq, the Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and the Christian minority there as well, who have been wounded, tortured and murdered in the brutal acts ripping through that country. They are the Persons of the Year.

For the world community, and for the United States, the priority in 2007 must be ending that violence and bringing some peace to that country.

But I persist in believing that we must persevere in our involvement there. We cannot withdraw our troops from Iraq now and leave the country to even worse internecine violence and the prospect that it would spread out of Iraq. We cannot count on the United Nations, so often having failed to stop genocide, to come in to sort things out. Our troops, contrary to what many Americans seem to believe, are among the few honest brokers in Iraq. They are trying to curtail the violence and build a more humane government and their mission must continue.

Some times in history, it is not the actors, but the acted upon, who crystalize the developments taking place. The year 2006 was one of those times. Events were in the saddle and it was not so much the perpetrators of the violence, religious fanatics of one kind or another and simple psychopaths who enjoy torturing and killing, as the victims of it who were at the center of events.

Now, we can only pray for the souls of the dead, and work to preserve the lives of those still living, especially those living in the stricken neighborhoods of Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. We must make 2007 a better year for those still alive than 2006 was.



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