To the Editor:
Why is anyone surprised that the Iraqi army has folded like a cheap suit? Let’s look at the history of that country and Islam. Some 1,400 years ago Islam was divided as to who would gain control of the then-Caliphate. The Sunnis wanted a member of the elite to take over but the Shiites wanted a direct descendant of Mohamed. The Sunnis won out and these two sects have been killing each other ever since. The Muslim world is about 80 percent Sunni. Moreover, Iraq is primarily Shiite but the former leader (Saddam Hussein) was a Sunni, and of course, there are Kurds in the North and none of these folks like each other.
Saddam ran Iraq with an iron hand and subjugated the religious Shiite majority. We removed Saddam and helped put in his place (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki, who is a Shiite. Now the Sunnis feel under the foot of the current Shiite government.
Now come the ISIS hoards out of Syria who are primarily Sunni. These folks are brutal and are killing and murdering everyone in sight. The Iraqi army is made up of some Sunnis, and guess who cuts and runs first? The Sunnis, because they don’t want to be associated with a Shiite army and get their heads cut off, if caught in a Iraqi uniform.
But most Iraqis really don’t identify with the government or its constitution; they identify and are loyal to their tribe and sect first and foremost. Also in this mix is the fact that Islam controls every facet of these folk’s lives.
Islam, politically, is more aligned with Marxism than democracy and therein lies the problem. Our politicians who get us into these wars in these far-away places with cultures they don’t understand think everyone is like us and want the same kinds of freedoms and lives we find in our democracy. Just look at our experiences in Vietnam, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran and now Iraq. Our political masters must somehow learn that the Muslim world likes kings and dictators, and until Islam goes through a reformation, we must learn to stay out of their affairs unless we are directly attacked. If that should happen, our response should be swift and concentrated and then get out. We should not try to stay and win hearts and minds.
retired Col. M. Handy