While I have been a strong supporter of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m beginning to wonder whether our mission is moral.

There’s no question in my mind that it makes sense to fight Islamic terrorists in their strongholds rather than on our own shores.

But, even assuming eventual military success in these foreign wars, what kind of life will we leave behind for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? That is a question keeping me awake at nights.

Sometimes you have to personalize these big issues – put a face on them. And, for me, the face I’m seeing belongs to Abdul Rahman, a 40-something Afghani convert from Islam to Christianity who is facing a death penalty for refusing to renounce his new faith.

This is taking place in “liberated” Afghanistan – in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

What are American military personnel sacrificing their lives for if not to change the very conditions that breed Osama bin Laden-style extremism and Taliban-style oppression?

After freeing Afghanis from the clutches of the Taliban, the new government there is based on Shariah law, which holds that any Muslim who rejects his or her religion should be sentenced to death.

“We are not against any particular religion in the world,” explained Supreme Court Judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada. “But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law. It is an attack on Islam. … The prosecutor is asking for the death penalty.”

This is not the way it is supposed to be during or after an occupation of liberation.

Americans may think they are being “compassionate” and “diverse” and “tolerant” and “multicultural” and “conciliatory” by allowing governments of Iraq and Afghanistan to impose Shariah law on their people.

It was not this way in occupied Germany. It was not this way in occupied Japan.

Americans told the people of Germany and Japan how they were to live after World War II. Can anyone suggest today that those countries are not better off for having embraced the values of freedom and justice?

I was one of those crazy Americans of Arabic heritage who supported these wars for two reasons – I knew they were necessary for the security of the U.S., and I believed they could help ignite a freedom revolution in the Muslim world.

We may have prevented another September 11 with these conflicts. We may have knocked al-Qaida off its game. We may have put the enemy on the defensive. But we have not freed the people from their yoke of oppression under Shariah law.

The problem is not just Afghanistan. In Iraq, Christians, probably the people who most welcomed the invasion by the U.S., have found themselves in more dire straits than under the rule of Saddam Hussein. They are leaving Iraq by the thousands because of increasing persecution that is at least tolerated by the government in Baghdad.

Some will suggest, on the basis of this column, that I am proposing a religious crusade against Islam. I am not. I do not believe in forcible conversions, whereas Islam does. But I do not believe it is moral to overthrow a government in a foreign land and leave its citizens at the mercy of such tyrants and tyrannical systems.

Had we left the emperor in charge in Japan, we understood that the empire might rise again to attack us. We understood that if we left Nazis in charge in Germany, Jews and others would face horrendous persecution.

If we were smart enough to know those things in 1945, why are we so blind today?



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