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By William S. Smith, Crisis Magazine, July 30, 2020
William S. Smith is Senior Research Fellow and Managing Director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. He is the author, most recently, of Democracy and Imperialism (University of Michigan Press, 2019).
For decades, American foreign policy has been off track. The United States has launched wars in far-flung corners of the globe that have not only killed and wounded thousands of brave members of the American military, but our foreign interventions have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of others, many of them innocent civilians. The Catholic Church in America, as a singular voice of moral authority in the nation, needs to say, enough.
Consider the moral disaster that was the Iraq War. As of February 10, 2020, the Department of Defense reported that 4,432 Americans have been killed in Iraq with 31,994 wounded in action. Brown University estimates that from 2003 to 2018 at least 182,000 civilians were killed by violence in Iraq, and war costs in the Iraq–Syria theater have totaled $880 billion. Tragically and ironically, the one community devastated most by the invasion of Iraq has been Christians. In 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians who lived in many vibrant communities in Iraq; today only 250,000 remain. And the American invasion unshackled numerous fanatical groups, which led to persecutions, murders, torture, and other atrocities committed against those Christians who chose to stay. More generally, American intervention has destabilized the region and dislocated millions of innocent people. ….