A recent article made me reflect upon another casualty of the Iraq invasion, tolerance! Prior to ‘Shock and Awe’ Baghdad and Iraq was considered to be an oasis of tolerance within a desert of intolerance that symbolizes many of the Middle Eastern countries… In Saudi Arabia, for example, women are forbidden to even drive… Women are stoned throughout the Middle East if they’re caught with males who aren’t relatives… Honor killings run rampant. However, Iraq was the exception to the rule. Here’s a poignant blurb from Baghdad Observer:

A Religion HijackedJinan is in her late 30s. She wears boot cut jeans with lace flowers snaking up the right leg. Her top is a tight fitting pastel yellow and her chestnut brown hair flows just past her shoulder.The devout Shiite Muslim prays five times a day and fasts during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on God and sacrifice. She was born and raised in the southern port city of Basra.The city was once reveled for its beauty and active role in culture, music and dance. Now it is dilapidated, devastated from war after war after war. Giant lakes of sewage tarnish the city and the infrastructure is collapsing after an eight-year war with Iran, years of neglect and sanctions and the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.Following the invasion extreme Islamists slowly took control of the city. They firebombed music stores, forbade music at Muslim weddings when couples celebrated their matrimony. Slowly they controlled people’s behavior and took away the choice Muslim women make to cover their hair out of modesty.Jinan’s choice was stolen, but she refused to succumb. The engineer went to work every day in her snug clothes, meticulous makeup and flowing hair. Every day she prayed to God as well.Signs near the police station warned women to veil and to remove their makeup. Women around her were being killed. In just five months more than 50 women were killed, police said.

Well, the extremists struck again…

Iraqi Gay Leader Gunned Down; Militia Killings ContinueIn America, the media is rife with assurances that stability has increased in Iraq. In Iraq, for gays and lesbians at least, times have never been worse, a fact that was underscored by the assassination of a GLBT leader, most likely by a religious militia.The UK Gay News reprinted a statement issued by UK-based GLBT Equality activist Peter Tatchell, the leader of the gay rights group Outrage!.Tatchell wrote, "This morning, I received news from Iraq that the coordinator of Iraqi LGBT in Baghdad, Bashar, aged 27, a university student, has been assassinated in a barber shop."Militias burst in and sprayed his body with bullets at point blank range."Continued Tatchell’s statement, "He was the organizer of the safe houses for gays and lesbians in Baghdad. His efforts saved the lives of dozens of people."As reported in earlier articles in the gay press, such as a Gaywired item from Oct. 24 of last year, religiously motivated militias in Iraq have been scouring the country for gays and lesbians–and eradicating them.

It is truly despicable at what we hath wrought upon the Iraqis, in so many ways, based upon a pack of lies…We have much to atone for…